We belong to the CMI congregation, the Congregation of Carmelities of Mary Immaculate the first indigenous religious congregation of India, which had its beginning in the first half of the 19th century. It grew out of the intense God-experience in Christ of the founding fathers - Thomas Palackal (+ 1841), Thomas Porukara (+1846) and St. Kuirakose Elias Chavara(+1871; beatified on February 8, 1986) - who were priests of the then Vicariate Apostolic of Verapoly, Kerala, of the Apostolic Church of St. Thomas Chrisians in India. Under the paternal direction and guidance of the Vicar Apostolic, Bishop Maurilius Stabilini, these men of God started a spiritual movement at Mannanam on May 11, 1831. Jacob Kanianthara, a pious layman, shared the inspiration of the founding fathers and assisted them in the foundation and growth of the congregation (Constitutions and Directory, The Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, 1993, Article 1, p.1). On December 8, 1855, on the day of the feast of Immaculate Conception, the first eleven Fathers made their profession of religious vows. Thus the Congregation was canonically erected, and St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara was appointed the first Prior.
In 1861 the community was affiliated to the Order of the Carmelites with the title TOCD (Third Order of the Carmelites Discalced). Brother Jacob Kanianthara, who assisted the founding fathers, made his religious profession in 1865. In 1885, the Congregation got its Pontifical status and for the first time, the constitution was approved by the Holy See, ad experimentum. In 1906 the constitution got final approbation.
On March 2, 1953 the congregation was divided into three Provinces - Devamatha Province, for the northern region of Travancore-Kochi; Sacred Heart Province, for the central region of Travancore - Kochi; and St. Joseph's Province for the southern region with Malabar area as its mission territory, called Calicut Region. In 1958 the constitution was revised and got approved by the Holy See. In the same year the name Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) was given to the Congregation. Pontifical exemption status was granted to the Congregation in 1967. After several years of experimentation and study in the light of Vatican II, the new constitution of the Congregation had finalized and it got the final approval of the Holy See in 1984.
The CMI mission work gathered a new dimension and momentum as local churches were entrusted to it beyond the boundaries of Kerala. In 1962 Chanda took shape as the first missionary Ordinate of the Syro-Malabar church and was entrusted to the congregation. At present six dioceses outside Kerala are entrusted to the congregation. Since 1962 we see a spectacular growth and expansion of the Congregation both inside and outside India. The CMI mission has out grown the boundaries of India and the congregation has its missionaries all over the globe. At present the Congregation has more than 2000 members spread all over India, Europe, USA, Latin America, Africa, Australia and Philippines. The Congregation has thirteen Provinces, one vice province, one region and two sub-regions in India and two sub-regions, one each in Kenya and in Peru. The CMI are actively involved in pastoral, education and social apostolates in 23 countries around the world. Through various apostolates and socio-pastoral activities in different fields of life, the Congregation continues to keep the torch bequeathed to it by its Founding Fathers.
The Prior General with his team of four General Councillors and a General Auditor serves the Congregation in its level of general administration. The CMI Generalate is in Chavara Hills, Kakkanad, Kochi. At the provincial level the Congregation is administered by the respective provincials and their team - consisted of four councillors and an Auditor.
In 1972 Bastar region of erstwhile state of Madhya Pradesh was entrusted to CMI congregation by the Holy See for mission work. The General council assigned the territory of Bastar to the St. Joseph's Province Kottayam. Mar. Paulinus Jeerakath CMl was appointed Exarch and later in 1977 he was ordained the first Bishop of the diocese. The CMI region of Jagdalpur was erected in 1976 and the XXX General Chapter in 1979 divided the St. Joseph Province, Kottayam into St. Joseph Province Kottayam, St. Joseph Province Trivandrum and into Nirmal Vice-Province Jagadalpur. The XXXV General Chapter of the CMI congregation in 2002 raised it to the status of a Province which is called Nirmal Province, Jagdalpur.