CARMEL ASHRAM, NEERMARGA
Venerable Mother Veronica of the Passion
Foundress of the Apostolic Carmel.
(1st October 1823 - 16 November 1906)
The Apostolic Carmel Congregation was founded by Mother Mary Veronica of the Passion nee Sophie Leeves, theServant of God, a Protestant convert to Catholicism, on 16th July 1868, in Bayonne, France.
On November 19, 1870, the first group of Sisters arrived in Mangalore, India, under the leadership of Mother Marie Des Anges, who was the first Superior General and novice mistress, to start the Mission. At St. Ann’s Convent, which became the Motherhouse, was the cradle of the Apostolic Carmel. Shortly after their arrival, the sisters opened the St. Ann’s School for Girls.
With the help of Father Marie Ephrem, OCD who later became the Bishop of Mangalore, Mother Veronica discerned her call to Carmel as a timely intervention of God to found an active Carmel for the faith-formation of Catholic girls in the Malabar Coast through the apostolate of education. Hence, she joined the Cloistered Carmelof Pau, France, to imbibe the Spirit of Carmel. After a year of formation, she ventured out all alone to found the Apostolic Carmel. It was an uphill task all the way. Her faith and trust in God were her only support.
In 1873, Veronica returned to her own monastery, the Carmel of Pau, France where she died on 16 November 1906, at the age of 83.
During the course of 153 years, the Congregation has grown, spreading its branches far and wide. With the Charism of the Congregation “God Alone Suffices”, the sisters have reached out to all sections of the society of every caste and creed through education, social and other apostolic ministries sharing God’s love with all.