Tamilnadu Discalced Carmelites, OCD

About Us

It was the great desire of pope Clement VIII, to found a mission in Persia with the help of the Discalced Carmelites. Accordingly Discalced Carmelites advented to our country in the beginning of the seventeenth century and founded their first residence at Tattan in Sind (Pakistan) and second in Goa in 1620. The missionary activities of the Carmelites extended to the Southernmost part of Tamil Nadu from the 18th century onwards. Around 1780, Fr. Fray Paolino of Bartholomeo a Carmelite, Priest who was residing at a chapel near Padmanabhapuram, persuaded the minister of Maharaja to stop the persecution of the people who had been arrested to be hung upon trees, cruelly beaten and terribly tortured. Msgr. Aloysius Maria Benziger OCD, a Swiss-born Carmelite of the Flemish Province, the first Coadjutor (1900-1905) and later Bishop of Quilon (1905-1931) was the one who envisaged the restoration of regular Carmelite life in India. At his time (1930) only the present Diocese of Kottar was created as a new Diocese. At his request the Province of Flanders in Belgium sent a group of three religious on 10th March, 1901 to India. On 7th November, 1913 they started a canonically erected Carmelite House at Thuckalay which was the Mission residence of them till they handed it over to the Indian foundation on 3rd December,1929. Msgr.Benziger was instrumental in purchasing the site for the mission of Manalikarai, which was entrusted to the Carmelites in 1950.

Carmelite Province Of Tamil Nadu

Fr. Dionysius of Panjampatty is the first Tamil priest who joined the Malabar Province. Similarly Fr. Stanislaus from Thanjavur joined the Manjummel Province. These were the pioneers from Tamil Nadu to join the Carmelite Order. In both the Provinces of Kerala, namely Malabar and Manjummel, Tamil vocations increased gradually. The fourth Death Centenary year of our Holy Mother St. Teresa of Jesus, marked very important events in the history of our order in India. When Very Rev. Fr. Philip Sainz de Baranda, the Superior General made his Pastoral visitation to the Order in India. In 1981, The Discalced Carmelite family in India was rearranged into different circumscriptions.

The two full-fledged Provinces of Malabar and Manjummel gave birth to three new units: Karnataka-Goa Province, Tamil Nadu General Delegation and Varapuzha Unit, on the basis of language and rite. Thus on 29 June, 1981 Tamil Nadu General Delegation, comprising four houses from Malabar Province and two from Manjummel Province, was established in order to prepare the way for an autonomy. Rev. Fr. Patrick Mootheril, OCD., was appointed as the first Delegate General by Very Rev. Fr. General. He was succeeded by Rev. Frs. Dominic Swaminathan, OCD., Anastase, OCD., and Arulraj, OCD.

As the Tamil Nadu General Delegation reached a new era of growth, it was raised to the status of a Commissariate on 17th September, 1990. On 19 March, 1993, Tamil Nadu Carmelite Commissariate was declared a full-fledged Province under the patronage of St. Joseph by Very Rev. Fr. Camilo Maccise, our Superior General. Fr. Peter Soosai Raj, OCD., was elected as the first provincial in April 1993. He was succeeded by Fr. Arulraj, OCD. In the provincial chapter held in April, 1999 Fr. Perianayagam, OCD., was elected as the provincial.He was succeeded by Fr.Peter soosairaj in the following triennium and then Fr. A. Maria David, OCD., was elected as the provincial. He was succeeded by Fr. Perianayagam, OCD. Fr. M.T.Louis Raj, OCD was the Commissar of our Province from 2010-2012. Fr. Dominic Niraml Kumar OCD was appointed as the commissar in 2012. After his demise, Fr. Soosai Rethinam OCD was appointed as the commissar. Fr. Benjamin Franklin OCD., was elected as the Provincial. then Fr. Arulraj OCD (2017-2020). Fr. Nesamony OCD (2020- 2023) have served the Province as Provincial Superiors. On 2nd May 2023, Fr. Jeyaraju OCD was elected as Provincial Superior in the 10th Ordinary Provincial Chapter held at our Carmelite Provincial House, Manikandam,Trichy.

Members And Houses of The Province

Today our Province is having 18 Houses and Mission Stations spread over 15 out of 19 Dioceses in Tamil Nadu. and Missions in Chuhipali and Jhalap in the State of Chhattisgarh in North India and Missions (Colombo , Galle and Elpitiya) in Sri Lanka. The Province comprises of 144 Solemnly Professed members, 21 Simple professed members, 6 Novices, 4 Pre- Novice and 27 Candidates. By the blessings of God and by the Protection of St. Joseph, the patron of our Province, it is enthusiastically marching towards a better future with great dreams of realization of the kingdom of God here on earth. Our Theology Students, residing at our Theological College Edamalaipattypudur, Trichy, attend their Theological courses in St. Paul's Regional Seminary, Tiruchirapalli with Bachelors in Theology (B.Th.). They are provided amble opportunities for theologizing in the context through exposure camps and field experiences. Combined with graduate studies at the University in Madurai, our philosophy students at Carmel Philosophy College, Pushparam are given religious and priestly formation. They attend Arul Anandar College in Karumathur for their Degree of Bachelor in Philosophy.

Vision Of Formation

Based on our local ratio (Document on Formation) our Province aims at giving integral formation to our aspiring candidates from the very initial stage. As part of our ongoing formation our priests are sent to Italy, Germany, England, Ireland, Austria, Spain and United States. Our Province maintains good relationship with other Provinces through IPCI. We regularly Participate in the inter Provincial Formation Programmes arrange by the IPCI, THIS Inter- Provincial. Theology student’s meet gives opportunities to build up good relationship with theology students of other Provinces which paves way for working together in future.

While keeping in mind, the general spirit of the order, our Province tries to respond to the church and to the world with its vision of “Total involvement Towards an Integral Society”. As mile stones in this line, Our Province has been undertaking from 1995 onwards the following mission parishes in the very rural and backward areas. Duraisamiyapuram in Palayamkottai(1995), Thummuchinnampatty in Madurai (1998), Narasinganur in Pondichery (1998), KurukKuchalai in Thoothukudi (1999), Thaneerpandal in Vellore (2004) and Puzhuthipatty in Dindugal (2009).

Apostolic Activities

Responding to the spirit of the order, our Province has undertaken various spiritual and direct social work projects in Tamilnadu. Our communities, the formation houses, as well as parish houses have undertaken various spiritual activities among the clergy, the Religious and the Laity. As one of its top priorities the Province has undertaken to raise the literacy level in all the rural mission parishes. By educating the poor children through our won and other educational institutions, the Province has established Industrial Training Centres to formal and nonformal technical education to the Youth gives job opportunities for future this gives us an opportunity to form them with the Gospel and Carmelite values. Our Province has undertaken publications such as writings on Carmelite spirituality, Devotional song cassettes and CD-s in tamil.

In the past Years, steps have been taken to promote OCDS in our Province. There are 38 units of OCDS in Tamilnadu. Our Province is also running welfare centres such as V. Guard stabilizer units, Carmel Book Binding and Tailoring Centres. To Coordinate and promote the social work projects in the Province, DCMSSS (Discalced Carmelite Multi Purpose Social Service Society) is functioning from 1999.

Sprituality Centre

As specific effort to promote our Carmelite spirituality among priests, Religious, Laity and also among the people of other religions our JEEVA JYOTHI CARMELITE INSTITUTE OF SPRITUALITY Was was founded in 2006. From 2006 Onwards various courses and retreats are being offered in the institute. The highlight of our institute is the JEEVA JYOTHI DIYANAILLAM (meditation centre)

Mission in Raipur Diocese, North India

In the silver jubilee year of Tamilnadu Carmelite Province (2006) two Mission stations, Chhuhipali and Jhalap were undertaken by the Province in the Arch – Diocese of Raipur, Chattisgarh. At present seven priests and two regents are serving the mission stations. Our Province has undertaken to run non formal school for children and TTC in the north Mission. These mission stations provide a great opportunity for the Province to implant our holy order in chhattisgarh. Promotion of Native Vocation and Formation in Chhattisgarh.

Mission In Dioceses of Tamil Nadu

At the request of Bishops in Tamil Nadu for the Pastoral assistances in their Parishes we have lent 2 of our Priests to different Dioceses in Tamil Nadu. It builds up the relationship with the Diocesan clergy and Bishops.

Mission in Sri Lanka

We have been trying to launch our mission in Sri Lanka, since 1997. Due to war and political discomforts we were not able to realize our vision. After many trails and struggles, Carmelites from Tamil Nadu are there. We began our Sri Lanka Mission on 16th August 2014 when Rev. Fr. Benjamin Franklin OCD, was Provincial Superior. The pioneers were Fr. Peter Soosai Raj OCD and Fr. Louis Arockiaraj OCD. At present, 10 of our friars are serving in three Mission Stations; Colombo and Galle. Formation in Sri Lanka- Promotion of Native vocations.

Our Service to the Order

Responding to the call of the hour, our Province has undertaken various services outside the frontiers of India. At present, 8 of our Priests are serving in Italy, 2 in Germany, One in Austria, One in Qatar, 1 in England, Three in USA and 2 in Spain.

In our Tamil Nadu territory, there are ten Cloistered Carmels among two, (Shembaganur and Trichy) are under the jurisdiction of the Order, and eight (Pondicherry, Kumbakonam, Coimbatore, Yercaud, Thanjavur, Thoothukudi, Sivagangai and Chingleput) are under the jurisdiction of the Bishops. Our Province maintains good relationship with our Cloistered Carmelite nuns by rendering spiritual assistance to them.