Papu Happa

Kuriakose Chavara was born in 1805, of pious and devout Catholic parents of Syro-Malabar Church, at Kainakary, Kerala, India. After his early schooling in the native village and priestly studies under Fr. Thomas Palackal at Pallippuram, he was ordained priest in 1829. In 1831, collaborating with Fr. Thomas Palackal and Fr. Thomas Porukara, he founded the first indigenous religious congregation for men, now known as the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI). It was after the death of his senior companions in the foundation that Fr. Kuriakose, together with the first members, made the religious profession in 1855. In religion he took the name Kuriakose Elias of the Holy Family.

Starting with seven religious houses, including the first one at Mannanam, in different parts of Kerala, the new Congregation made great strides in the spiritual renovation of the Syro-Malabar Church under their leadership. Seminaries for the education and formation of the clergy, introduction of annual retreats for priests and people, a publishing house for the propagation of the Catholic doctrine, a house for the dying and destitute, special attention to catechumens and schools for general education, were a few among the various activities of the Congregation under Fr. Kuriakose Elias' leadership. Fr. Chavara also introduced valuable improvements and reform in the Syro-Malabar liturgy. In 1866, with the co-operation of Fr. Leopold Boccaro OCD, he started the congregation of the Mother of Carmel (CMC) for women. When a schism threatened the Church in 1861, Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the then Vicar General of the Syro-Malabar Church took a strong stand and gave effective leadership in thwarting Thomas Roccos' intrusion and saving the Church in Kerala from schism.

In 1871, on January 3rd, Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara, after a short but painful illness, passed away at Koonammavu Preserving his baptismal innocence unto death. His mortal remains were transferred from Koonammavu to Mannanam in 1889 and have been interred in St. Joseph's Monastery Church. He was beatified 8th feb 1986 by John Paul II, and canonoized on 23 November 2014 by pope Francis.