The Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) was started by three priests of the Apostolic Church of St. Thomas Christians in India. These founders were Rev. Fathers Thomas Palackal, Thomas Porukara and Kuriakose Elias Chavara. They were assisted by Jacob Kanianthara, who joined the congregation as a lay brother. The Italian Latin Carmelite Bishop Maurelius Stabilini O.C.D., governing the St. Thomas Christian of Kerala, was permitted to start this religious congregation. The foundation stone for the first monastery Mannanam was laid on May 11, 1931. The first two of the Founding Fathers passed away in 1841 and 1846, respectively.
On December 8, 1855, the religious community at Mannanam became a canonically recognized religious congregation with the religious profession of the first batch of eleven priests headed by Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara. On this occasion, the name assumed by the religious community was the Congregation of the Servants of Mary Immaculate. In 1958, the name was changed to 'Carmelites of Mary Immaculate' (CMI).
The CMI congregation played a significant role in revolutionizing the education scene in Kerala in the late 19th century. Heirs to the profound vision of the Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara, one of the founding fathers of the congregation, the CMIs' have zealously worked towards providing value-based quality education to society irrespective of religious differences down the centuries. Education is being the charisma of the CMI congregation; its members have been well trained and specialized in teaching at all levels of education from its very inception. The CMI congregation has one and a half-century (150 years) tradition and reputation in education. This first indigenous Catholic religious Congregation of India today has more than 3000 priests serving in different parts of the world. The CMI congregation, inspired by the vision of St. Chavara, renders its service in educational, social, health care and other sectors aiming at the integral development of the society.
Today, the CMI congregation is an active presence in five continents and twenty-eight nations, with more than 2500 members, engaged in spreading the word of God, working relentlessly to strengthen the sacramental life of the people, undertaking the cause of the underprivileged and downtrodden, and revolutionizing the sphere of education with seats of learning markedly different in terms of academic excellence and social commitment. At present, the congregation has more than 480 educational institutions, ranging from nursery schools to professional colleges, research centres, and a deemed university spread across the world.
CMI EDUCATION POLICY
We, the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, after the example of our founder Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara, consider education as an integral formation of the human person for the fulfilment of their individual and social responsibilities. Therefore, our educational endeavours aim at forming leaders who are intellectually competent, spiritually mature, morally upright, psychologically integrated, physically healthy, and socially acceptable, who will champion the cause of justice, love, truth and peace and who are ever opened to further growth.
The secret of the success of our educational institution is a community of teachers who are committed to their vocation, professionally competent, morally upright, just and humane in dealings, and who grow in the true vision of education. Thus, we aspire to create a just human society where the dignity of the human person is respected, where unjust structures are challenged, where our cultural heritage of ahimsa, religious harmony and national integration is upheld, and where the poor and the marginalized are marginalized especially taken care of.
We reach out to the families, primarily of the students, to assist them in their needs, share in their joys and sorrows, and help them experience love and freedom to realize that our educational institutions are an extension of their homes.
Our institutions are open to all students irrespective of caste and creed; they are accepted and cherished as they are and are helped to grow in their cultural, social, and religious traditions. As they are privileged to be in our institutions, they will also have the right to get acquainted with the person of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. Being institutions established and administered by and for a minority community based on religion, they will give preference to Christians in admissions and appointments and have a particular concern for the faith formation of the Christian youth.
Our institutions must be open to society by making their resources available for ongoing education and growth.
To realize the CMI goal of education, we invite the students, parents, and teachers to share this vision and co-operate wholeheartedly.