The Apostolic Carmel Congregation is an Indian Congregation which started in the year 1870 by our Foundress Mother Veronica, a holy and dedicated woman, who was divinely inspired to reach out to and educate many girls in her time. The Apostolic Carmel Congregation is inspired by Christ, who willed the complete development of every person, and our Foundress, Mother Veronica. Carmel Convent School, MAMC Durgapur was established on [provide date] and is one of the institutions conducted by the Apostolic Carmel Sisters.
The beginning of the Apostolic Carmel Congregation was marked by a small seed of hope in the rich soil of India, which grew and spread its branches in different parts of the country. The Congregation was founded in Bayonne, France on July 16th, 1868 by Mother Veronica of the Passion and established in India on November 19th 1870.
Mother Veronica of the Passion, formerly named Sophie Leeves, was born on 1st October 1823 to Rev. Henry Daniel Leeves and Marina Leeves, in Constantipole. She was well educated and an extremely versatile woman. Besides being a writer, she was also an excellent musician and was knowledgeable of many languages like Latin, French, Italian, German, Greek, and her own mother tongue, English.
Despite having everything, Mother Veronica never found true happiness and was constantly in search of the truth. She finally found her peace in the Church and had deep faith and belief that God would heal the wound she had caused her widowed mother, in His own time and way.
She knew that a higher destiny was awaiting her and gave herself totally to the service of God. It was the beginning of a dialogue between God and her, that was becoming increasingly urgent. She joined the Congregation of the sisters of St. Joseph of Apparition, on 14th September 1851, in Athens, Greece. As a nun, Mother Veronica received a new name then as “Sister Veronica of the Passion”.
Mother Veronica had inherited her nature of being benevolent, open-hearted, fiery, and determined in the face of difficulties, from her parents. She also had love and compassion for the poor and above all a deep faith in God, which encouraged her to carry out His will, joyfully and at any risk. Her character had developed through her initial interaction with God along with His timely and supporting love. God led Mother Veronica through a series of hurdles until through her He had fulfilled His plan of a Carmel - “A Carmel for the Missions.”
In the year 1862, Mother Veronica was sent to Calicut, India since she had worked in several schools in Europe, as a Sister of St. Joseph. It was here that she met Father Marie Ephrem, a French Carmelite, who had invited these Sisters to help fill the void of Catholic schools for the Education of youth. This is where the idea of founding the Apostolic Carmel was determined by Mother Veronica. Her teaching apostolate here was richly blessed. She showed a special love for the less fortunate. Her vision was to empower everyone, rich or poor, to enjoy the “goods of the lands”, which was God’s gift for His people.
It was while here, that she heard another call to enter “Carmel”. Relying on God and empowered by Him, she surmounted all difficulties, ridicule, and insults and in 1867 went back to France to start the foundation of Carmel. She joyfully faced all the challenges, never giving up hope in God and in 1867 she started a small house in Bayonne, France, where the Apostolic Carmel was born. It was here that Mother Veronica trained a batch of three Sisters and sent them to India to carry out her mission.
At a later point, the house in Bayonne had to be closed, but this gave the Apostolic Carmel a singular attribute, making it completely indigenous. The three sisters sent by Mother Veronica landed in Mangalore, India on 19th November 1870, where they began the St. Ann’s School for girls. This fulfilled Mother Veronica’s purpose chosen for her by God- “A Carmel for the Missions.”
For the next 33 years of her life, until her saintly death on November 16, 1906, Mother Veronica continued to encourage the growth of the Apostolic Carmel that she had sown seeds for in India with her prayer and sacrifices.
From the beginning, the Apostolic Carmel has striven to keep the spirit of Mother Veronica alive, which is “a personal surrender to God’s all-sufficing love and the profound urge to respond to Him in Apostolic work”.
As true daughters of Mother Veronica of the Passion, our prime concern is to instil values of the Gospel to our students, ensuring that they grow to become responsible citizens of the country, ready to take their place in social, political and cultural life, benevolently and enthusiastically. Our education is directed towards the total development of an individual.
Our Patroness is Mary, the Queen and Beauty of Carmel. Like her our call is primarily to belong to God, to be immersed in Him, and it is His overflowing love that urges us to be completely available to the world by reaching out in selfless love. It is He who empowers us to take up this challenge. This conviction gives meaning to all our efforts and stimulates us to go forward putting our trust in the Lord of hope, to be an Apostolic Community, a sign that proclaims and at the same time lives the message that God is the supreme value in our lives.
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