A SHORT STORY OF THE APOSTOLIC CARMEL

The ardent desire to be one with the creator, urged Mother Veronica to serve humanity with generosity, courage and determination which gave birth to the Apostolic Carmel in 1868.

MotherVeronica, nee Sophie Leeves was born in 1823 to pious and cultured, Anglican English Parents in Constantinople. She was blessed with the gifts of mind and heart which were nurtured by sound education and wide experience. Though the daughter of a Protestant Pastor, she embraced the Catholic faith in 1850, amidst bitter opposition from the family. God took possession of her heart so powerfully that she courageously and generously responded to the call to religious life. She entered the congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition in 1851, taking the name Sister Veronica of the Passion. She came to India in 1862 and worked in Calicut. When in prayer, she experiencedyetanother divine call to enter Carmel.She made the difficult choice of leaving the congregation of St. Joseph of Apparition to join Carmel, a Congregation of cloistered sisters at Pau in France. Again it was terribly difficult for her to leave the peace and happiness of the cloister to set about the task of foundinganewCarmeliteorderforIndiatoservetheneed of all round education of the young girls of the West Coast of India. The need for a third order - Carmelite as well as Apostolic combined in one, was very urgent because in those days education in India was meant only for boys which broughtgreat dissatisfaction to the Indian women, who cried out for knowledge and the light of education. So God in His infinite wisdom chose Mother Veronica to realize this objectivetogether withFatherMarie Ephrem,a Carmelite, who had comeasamissionary to serve the Indians.She founded the Congregation of the Apostolic Carmel at Bayonne in France in the year 1868 and established it in Mangalore, India in 1870.

The pioneering spirit made itself felt from time to time in the Congregation. When there was a need forhigher education for women in South Kanara, it was the Apostolic Carmelthat started thefirstWomen'sCollege (St.AgnesCollege) in this region in 1921. The Apostolic Carmel extended its mission to NorthIndia in 1921 and to SriLanka in 1922. To this day the Congregation tries to  fulfil the purpose of its existence through formal and non - formal education of youth in its various Colleges, Regular schools, Schools for the Handicapped, Women's Welfare Centres, Prison, Healing Ministry and Community Colleges. The Apostolic Carmel is established in India, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Pakistan, Kenya, Bahrain, Tanzania, and Italy. It aims at guiding the students entrusted to its care, to be committed people whowill be like leaven in their milieu, putting love and meaning into human life and endeavour. Today there are over 170 institutions of the Congregation in several countries. Mother Veronica's work lives in 1500 sisters who serve God in people.