The Architects of our Congregation - The Congregation of The Carmelite Religious

The Architects of our Congregation

Mother Mary Michael of the Redemption (1860-1926)

Mother Michael was our first Mother General. Elected in 1908, this first architect of our Congregation, established her foundations with steadfast courage and great patience 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 she was called to her heavenly abode. She was at the helm from 1908 to 1926.
With a heart of gold, intrepid spirit and the virtue of a saint, Mother M. Michael proved herself a skilled captain steering the ship of the infant Congregation through stormy waters and safely to harbour, with firm faith and confidence in God. She had the satisfaction of seeing the Congregation firmly established.
Every moment of her life was characterized by the spirit of humility, simplicity and charity to the poor,
the sick and the orphaned. 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 of the Sacred Heart (1879-1944)

Mother Archange, our second Mother General was trained by Mother Mary Elias of Jesus at Ypres in Belgium. Her great and loving heart was ever open to all and she devoted her life especially to the poor and needy in the missions in India. Concentrating on prayer and spirituality she used her talents in God's service, to draw her Sisters nearer to God. The sentiments voiced by an English lady, D. H. Watts, an ex-student of Holy Angels' School capture Mother's beautiful personality. "With spiritual qualities she combined an intellect, disciplined by reading of the literature of more than one country, the intuition and receptivity of an accomplished musician and artist, a talent for organization and reaching straight to the heart of things and understanding our human frailty. Hers was the all- embracing charity, which Christ ranked above all other virtues.''
An outstanding educationist, blessed with generosity and greatness of heart, she was also an ardent lover of nature. Her sincerity and straight-forwardness, her culture and refinement, her foresight and zeal, her love for the Church and the Congregation did much to lead the Sisters along the path of progress. Mother Archange was Mother General from 1926-1944.

Rev. Mother Mary Louise of the Holy Angels (1882-1981)

A towering personality, Mother M. Louise our third Mother General infused in her daughters a deep Carmelite Spirituality. Mother incessantly endeavoured to instill in her daughters, by example more than by precept, a love for prayer and the interior life even while engaged in the active apostolate of teaching, caring for the destitute and orphans.
A good helmsman, Mother M. Louise was steadfast in spirit, sturdy of heart and steady of purpose, both spiritually and morally. Her virtue was genuine and truly heroic. The light of the Holy Spirit, a guiding star all through her life, infused into Mother prudence, tact and discretion.
Mother’s term from 1944 to1975 was an era of expansion, progress and change for the Congregation. During her term the Congregation was declared a Pontifical Religious Institute in 1950 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 Mary Angela of the Resurrection (1916 - 1995)

Mother Angela, our fourth Mother General was a gracious and elegant person who steered the Congregation to great heights. As a leader, she was strikingly superior in every respect first as Secretary General, as Councillor and later as Mother General. With authority, fervent energy and an irresistible urge for perfection, she forged ahead, fostering unity and ensuring that the Sisters did their best.
A pioneer in many ways Mother started a New Novitiate in Pune due to the 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. 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.
Her commanding personality impressed one and all. A tower of strength and spirituality, her kindness, generosity, beneficence and munificence was unparalleled. Seminarians, Institutions, hospitals, families, several spiritual and social enterprises like the Home for the Aged were funded by her and even strangers benefited. With her charming smile, polite demeanour and the softness and warmth of a mother, she endeared herself to everyone.
Mother was at the helm for twenty years from 1975 to 1995. She was a beacon light to the coming generations, the dreamer and shaper of the Congregation's destiny.

Rev. Mother Mary Frances of Holy Mary (1946)

Mother M. Frances, the fifth Mother General focused on development and renewal. She urged the sisters to update their knowledge in Theology, Biblical studies, academics and other professional courses. Her approach to renewal was to overhaul Formation and instill a deep Carmelite spirituality and love for the interior life even while being engaged in an active apostolate. Her simple, charming, humble and humane personality won the hearts of all who interacted with her. Her love for nature 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 of America and Africa.

Rev. Mother Mary Elma (1952)

Mother Mary Elma, the sixth Mother General, 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 worked zealously and sincerely for strengthening and developing the 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.

Soft spoken, calm and serene, with her gentle smile and sparkling wit, she added joy to the sisters on her rounds to the various convents, advising them to use freedom with responsibility.

Sr. M. Elma forged ahead with great fidelity to duty, firm in the assurance that God watched over her, leading her to guide the Congregation to green pastures.

Rev. Mother Mary Frances of Holy Mary (re - elected in May 2017)

A golden jubilarian in her religious life Mother M. Frances, the seventh Mother General bears the stamp of a sagacious, enterprising and dynamic leader. An astute visionary, an amazing organizer, a prayerful guide blessed with wisdom, prudence and efficiency beyond her years, her tenure marks the significant growth of the Congregation.
She began her apostolate as a Professor in English at All Saints' College, Trivandrum, teaching students at the UG and PG levels, instilling in them a love for the language. A gifted educator, her inspiring presence touched numerous young minds. As Principal in the same prestigious Institution, she renewed the infrastructure and led the Institution to lofty heights of excellence in academics and extra-curricular activities. From sandy dunes to a beautiful clean verdant paradise, the astounding transformation of the campus bears testimony to Mother's ingrained love for nature and a deep concern for the ecology. Today as its Corporate Manager, she spearheads the move to revamp and re-energise the Institution in its march towards the future.
As Superior General for two and a half terms from 1996-2011, she shepherded the Congregation through its transitional phase which witnessed the decentralisation of power and the formation of Provinces. Blessed with innate humanity, a responsive heart, golden eloquence and wide contacts Mother is well known and loved. Re-elected in 2017, she leads the Congregation into the future, bestowed with grace, turning vision into reality.