Our Pioneers & Leaders
Mother Mary Elias (1839-1933)
Teresa Devine / Mother Mary Elias was one of the first postulants to enter the novitiate of St. Joseph at Bayonne. She was an excellent subject who was grounded well in her vocation by Mother Veronica. She made her profession on June 10, 1870 and was sent to the Indian Mission at Mangalore.
As Mother Elias left the novitiate, little did she imagine that one day along with Sr. Marie des Agnes, she would spear head the congregation that Mother Veronica had established, and raise it to great heights. When the Mangalore diocese changed hands with the Jesuit Fathers, Mother Elias opted to work under the Carmelite missionaries of Quilon. Permission was granted and Mother came to Trivandrum and established the Holy Angels’ Convent.
From then on, despite difficulties and straitened circumstances it was a big success story. The convent proved to be a boon, both to the church and the people of Trivandrum-- accolades for the school, cent percent success in the exams, recognition for the Matriculation Exam (1885), establishment of the Normal School (1894), ranks for students, High School raised to a Second Grade College affiliated to the Madras university (1899) and finally praise from the Maharaja of Travancore who sanctioned Rs 100 as annual grant.
On the mission front, Mother’s sympathy for the destitute and the poor resulted in the empowerment of girls. Girls were taught to earn their livelihood. They were married off to respectable Christian men and their families were baptized.
From Trivandrum, Mother moved to Australia to teach in the college of our Lady of Mercy at Bunbury, where she continued her missionary work. Later in 1917 she volunteered to render help to the Sisters of Abbot Catalan in St Josephs Orphanage for Aborigines where she worked selflessly till the very end. At the age of 94, after having rendered “great service to the congregation” as OCD Prior General Very Rev. FR. Dominic had prophesied, Mother Elias went to her heavenly abode. For sixty five years this “Irish lady”, as Mother Veronica fondly used to call her, had carried out the work of the Almighty and she was buried in a far away land in her brown Carmelite habit.
Mother Mary Michael of the Redemption (1860-1926)
other Michael was our first Mother General. Elected in 1908, this first architect of our congregation established her foundations despite lack of personnel and funds, the first one at Anjengo (1916), the next at Santacruz (1922) followed by another at Neyyatinkara (1926) and the last one at Karwar (1926) where Mother was called to her heavenly abode.
God accepted every sacrifice made by Mother M. Michael for the sake of the Congregation she loved so well and served so nobly- even the supreme sacrifice of dying and being interred far from her beloved daughters in Mangalore.
Rev. Mother Mary Archange (1879-1944)
While Mother Mary Michael established foundations, Mother Archange who was trained by Mother Elias at Ypres in Belgium, concentrated on prayer and spirituality. An outstanding educationist she was also a skilled musician, a lover of fine arts and an ardent lover of nature. Mother Archange was Mother - General from 1926 – 1944.
Rev. Mother Mary Louise (1882-1981)
A towering personality, Mother Louise infused her daughters with a deep Carmelite Spirituality. She was engaged in the active apostolate of teaching and caring for the destitute and orphans.
Mother’s term was as era of expansion, progress and change for the Congregation. During her term the congregation was declared a Pontifical Religious Institute and the brown Carmelite habit was changed to white. The vestition ceremony was replaced by the Rite of Initiation into the Religious Life. Foundations increased in countries outside India.
REV. Mother M. Angela of the Resurrection (1975 - 1995)
Mother Angela was a gracious and elegant person who steered the Congregation to great heights. Elected in 1975, Mother served as Secretary and Councillor for twenty –four years. Her commanding personality impressed all who came into contact with her.
Mother was a pioneer in many ways. A New Novitiate was started in Pune due to increase in the number of Aspirants during her time. Sisters were sent abroad for studies. Twenty three Convents were started both in India and outside. Mother offered the services of our Congregation to the International Church in Rome – Collegio Missionaries Internazionale San Paolo Apostolo.
Mother was kind and charitable. Strangers, Institutions, hospitals, families, several spiritual and social enterprises like Home for the Aged were funded by her. The All Saints’ College was her biggest enterprise in the field of education.
The Congregation was divided into four Regions for better administration and support as it had grown considerably during her tenure. Regional delegates were appointed and the code of governance given.
Mother was at the helm for twenty years. She was a beacon light to the coming generations.
Rev. Mother Mary Frances(1996 - 2011)
Mother Frances focused on development and renewal. She initiated the sisters to update their knowledge in Theology, Biblical studies, academics and other professional courses.
Her approach to renewal was to instill a deep Carmelite spirituality through overhauling Formation by love for the interior life even while engaged in active apostolate. Her simple charming humble and humane personality won a place in the hearts of all who interacted with her. Her love for flowers was phenomenal and she completely changed the landscape of All Saints’ College during her time as Principal. A seasoned orator she could hold an audience spellbound as she spoke.
The highlights of her tenure were the shifting of the Generalate to the serene campus of the All Saints’ College, organization of Provinces and the Revision of the Constitutions and Directives. Though faced with many challenges,Mother Frances forged ahead valiantly to open new convents in Assam, the United States and Africa.
Sr. M. Elma
Sr. M. Elma, with deep faith and trust in God, accepted the role of Superior General, knowing that He who chose her would guide her all through. She is working zealously and sincerely for the strengthening and development of the present existing institutions. Prior to this Sister Elma was in the Formation team and thereafter she was elected Provincial of the Kerala Province. In her early days she was sent to Africa, where she worked whole heartedly in that mission. She was very sensitive to the needs and did her best to keep the boys cheerful and happy.
She is soft spoken, calm, serene and has a gentle smile and with a sparkling wit adds joy to the sisters on her rounds to the various convents, advising them to use freedom with responsibility
Sr. M. Elma will forge ahead with great fidelity to her duty, for she is firmly assured that God watches over her, leading her to guide the Congregation to green pastures.