History of the Congregation

Mother Veronica
Foundress of Apstolic Carmel

The Apostolic Carmel is a Congregation of Sisters aggregated to the Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCD). It was founded on July 16, 1868 at Bayonne, France, by Mother Veronica of the Passion.

The seed of the Apostolic Carmel was sown in the heart of a woman, who little realised the greatness of the mission God was entrusting to her. Born as Sophie Leeves, the daughter of an Anglican Minister, she was led by God into the Catholic faith in 1850 and then to the religious life as a sister of St. Joseph of the Apparition in the following year.

She took the name of Sister Mary Veronica of the Passion. Being sent to India in 1861, she felt an interior call to Carmel, not understanding where it would lead her. At this time, the Carmelite Bishops of the West Coast of India were experiencing the need for a teaching order of Carmelite Sisters, to further the work of the mission. Mother Veronica’s call to Carmel seemed to be a providential response to this need.

Under the guidance of Fr. Marie Ephrem, she came to accept her mission to found this new Congregation. After much struggle and many difficulties, Mother Veronica found admission into the novitiate of the Carmel of Pau, where she imbibed the spirit of Carmel as one born to it. It was established in Mangalore, India, in 1870, by Bishop Marie Ephrem, OCD.

The work begun by Mother Veronica was of Divine Providence. It was kept alive through the instrumentality of Mother Marie des Anges, the first Superior General, who was one of the pioneers from Bayonne.

In course of time the little Congregation grew in number and stability as a teaching Institute of active Carmelites and was subsequently aggregated to the Order of Discalced Carmelites. The Congregation further stabilized and became one of Pontifical Right in 1925. In 1949, the Constitutions were granted Pontifical approval.

The little seed sown in the heart of Mother Veronica 150 years ago has now spread throughout India and Sri Lanka and reached even to Pakistan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Africa, Italy and France. Rooted in the Contemplative spirit of Carmel and nourished by its life of prayer and missionary zeal, the Apostolic Carmel expresses the vitality of the Church through its fruitfulness in the active apostolate of education and other works of mercy.

Today our work continues to flower and bear fruit in 171 convents across the globe. We serve in Degree and Training Colleges, Training and Technical Schools, Primary and High Schools, Hostels, Boarding Houses, Children’s Homes, Special Schools, Nurseries, Balwadis, Clinics, Creches, Needlework Centres, Community Welfare Projects, Community Colleges and Mission Stations.