Young Sister Teresa, endowed with rich human qualities as well as gifts
had the privilege of being instructed and guided in the religious life by zealous and
Carmelite missionaries- Father Alphonsus and Father Candidus and later Father A.
who would continue helping her in
becoming a fervent religious in the spirit of St. Teresa. She was happy in her vocation
at Alleppey both as a teacher and as a religious.
The year 1886 was very momentous in the annals of the history of the church in India.
1st of that year Pope Leo XIII established the Hierarchy of India; and all the
of India and Ceylon were raised to the status of Dioceses. Seven Dioceses, including
were elevated as Archdioceses in India. Verapoly thus became the only Archdiocese
for the whole of Malabar, and Dr. Leonard Mellano of St. Louis OCD, the last Vicar
of Malabar, became its first Archbishop.
In the same year the diocese of Cochin, which had been brought under
was revived and reconstituted.
As a result Alleppey came under the newly reorganized Cochin Diocese. Hence all the
that were flourishing under the Carmelites at Alleppey were handed over to that
Under the new administration St. Joseph’s girls school at Alleppey was to be entrusted
the Canossian sisters from Italy.
Archbishop Mellano discerned the hand of providence in the new developments, and saw a
opportunity to start an English Medium School for girls in the fast developing town of
the capital of the erstwhile Cochin State. Accordingly, Fr. Candidus, who was then the
of Mt. Carmel Church, Alleppey and the Director of the Carmelite Sisters, was given
orders to come
with Sr. Teresa to Ernakulam. Upon her arrival at Ernakulam Sr.
Teresa received a double mission, of founding a religious community of Sisters and
starting an English
medium school for girls at Ernakulam.
Foundation At Ernakulam
Sr. Teresa was prompt in her obedience to the orders of the Archbishop.
She took leave of
her small community of sisters at Alleppey, the students of the School which she had so
and assiduously developed, the familiar, friendly and supportive environment and
started for her new destination with her two
step sisters and an orphan girl. Arriving at Ernakulam she set herself to work
whole-heartedly in order to accomplish her
In a record preserved in the archives of St. Teresa’s, signed by Fr. Candidus O.C.D.,
Director of St. Teresa’s,
the following statement is found. “St. Teresa’s Convent of Ernakulam was founded in a
private house belonging to
Mr. Lee of Cochin, rented at Rs. 10/- per mensem, on the 24th April 1887. But as the
place proved unhealthy,
the convent was transferred to the Church bungalow, in the east of the Northern Church
on July 1st of the same year. Finally on 14th January, 1889, the sisters shifted to the
new convent building,
though only half completed…’
Mother Teresa had received the mandate to start an English Medium School for girls in
1887. Accordingly on
9th May- two weeks after the convent was founded – St. Teresa’s school was started with
31 pupils on the roll.
It was the first of its kind in the erstwhile Cochin State. While the first beginnings
were in a rented building,
the convent and school buildings were ready for
occupation in two year’s time. It was done as directed by archbishop, under the able
supervision of Fr. Candidus OCD,
who was the Director.
The sisters strove to make their teaching a fruitful apostolate, and to become
themselves authentic signs of love and
service to the people of God, especially to the poor, the underprivileged and the
oppressed. Mother Teresa knew that poor
children would learn more and better through their mother
tongue since their parents would be unable to help them in their studies if these were
in English. So she started Malayalam sections too.
The reputation of the convent and the school was not long in reaching the ears of the
illustrious members of the royal house of Cochin.
They were proud of the works of charity done by the sisters for the benefit of the
poor, and were particularly pleased with the
steady progress made by the Malayalam School. So great was the improvement that
it was raised to the status of an Anglo-vernacular School and could present pupils in
1895 for the Lower Secondary Examination.