Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia Eluvathingal, who was a member of the religious Institute founded by him, remind each of us that God’s love is the source, the support and the goal of all holiness, while love of neighbour is the clearest manifestation of love for God. Father Kuriakose Elias was a religious, both active and contemplative, who generously gave his life for the Syro-Malabar Church, putting into action the maxim “sanctification of oneself and the salvation of others”. For her part, Sister Euphrasia lived in profound union with God so much so that her life of holiness was an example and an encouragement to the people, who called her “Praying Mother”. There are many consecrated religious here today, especially consecrated women. May you also may be known as “Praying Sisters”.
Address to the faithful of the Syro-Malabar Church
Canonization of Kuriakose Elias Chavara of the Holy Family
Euphrasia Eluvathingal of the Sacred Heart
24 November 2014
The religious institute to which Pope Francis referred in his address was the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel, founded by Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Father Leopold Beccara, O.C.D. on 13 February 1866 at Koonammavu, Kerala in India.
The Sisters’ website says that “St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara was much aggrieved at the absence of a religious congregation for women in the Apostolic Church of St Thomas. He longed for a house of sanctity where the girls of this land could learn spiritual matters and grow up as good Christians.”
St. Euphrasia is the first saint of the congregation. Her Vatican biography tells us:
Rose Eluvathingal was born on 17 October 1877 in the village of Kattoor, in the Diocese of Trichur, India. Her mother’s deep piety and great devotion to the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, had a strong influence on little Rose from her childhood.
During her developing years, Rose began to detach herself from earthly possessions and pleasure and took a great interest in spiritual matters. This was all the more rooted in her at the age of 9 by means of an apparition of the Blessed Mother, after which the young girl offered herself totally to the Lord.
Notwithstanding the strong opposition of her father, who wanted Rose to marry into a rich family, she wanted to become a religious Sister. Her intense prayer life, which included the rosary, fasting, and abstinence, as well as the rather sudden death of her younger sister, brought about a change of heart in her father, Anthony, who granted Rose permission to enter the convent.
In fact, her father accompanied her personally to the convent of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel at Koonammavu, the first indigenous congregation of Syro-Malabars.
On 10 May 1897 Rose became a postulant and took the name Sr Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and on 10 January 1898 she received the holy habit of Carmel.
Although Sr Euphrasia wanted to live a hidden life, she was chosen as Superior of the Convent of St Mary at Ollur. She held the post from 1913 to 1916.
For almost 48 years the convent of St Mary was home to Mother Euphrasia. Observing her life of prayer and holiness, the local people called her “Praying Mother”, and her Sisters in community referred to her as the “Mobile Tabernacle”, because the divine presence she kept within her radiated to all she encountered…
You can read the complete Vatican biography here.
You can explore the website of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel here.
View a timeline of the milestones in the life of the Congregation and the life and canonization of St. Euphrasia here.
A Christmas 2018 video featuring the students of St. Mary’s Convent Nursery School in Ollur is lovely; the children sing and recite greetings in English and Malayalam.