History of Apostolic Carmel

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A short history of the Apostolic Carmel

The ardent desire to be one with the creator, urged the Mother Veronica of the passion to serve humanity with generosity, courage and determination which gave birth to the Apostolic Carmel in 1868. illustration   Mother Veronica, nee Sophie Leeves was born in 1823 in a pious culture to English Anglican Parents Marina Leeves and Rev. Henry Daniel Leeves in Constantinople. She was gifted with the singular gifts of mind and heart which natured by sound education and wide experience. Though the daughter of a Protestant Pastor, she embraced the Catholic faith in 1950, 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 experienced a diving call to enter Carmel. She made the difficult choice of leaving her congregation of St. Joseph's 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 founding a new Carmelite order for India, to serve the need of faith formation through education of young girls of the West Coast of India.

The need for a third order was very urgent because in those days Education in India was meant only for boys which brought great dissatisfaction to the Indian women, who cried out for knowledge and light of education. So God in His infinite wisdom chose Mother Veronica to realise this objective together with Father Marie Ephrem, a Carmelite, who had come as missionary to serve the Indians. She founded the Congregation of Apostolic Carmel at Bayonne in France in year 1868and established it in Manglore, India in 1870.