A Brief History of our Foundress (1858-1902)
Mother Teresa of St. Rose of Lima
And the Foundation and growth of our Congregation
Mother Teresa of St. Rose of Lima, the Foundress of the Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa (CSST), was born on January 29, 1858 to Peter D’Lima and Mary D’Lima at George Town in Madras, India. She was christened as Mary Grace and was nurtured by loving parents in a religious atmosphere. She was sent to the Presentation nuns at George Town, Madras, where she received quality education and excellent training that fitted her for her future apostolate. On completion of the General Education Test for School Mistresses in 1875 she joined the staff of St. Xavier’s Free School, George Town, Madras, where her father was the Headmaster.
1879: Takes charge of St. Joseph School, in Alleppey, Kerala under the leadership of Fr. Candidus OCD, the Parish Priest of Mt. Carmel Church.
1882: Enters Postulancy
1885: Professed taking the name Sr. Teresa of St. Rose of Lima
Mother Teresa arrives in Ernakulam, Kerala, at the behest of Rt. Rev. Leonard Mellano, Archbisoph of Verapoly to start an English medium school for girls and also found a Convent for religious Sisters. The Congregation was founded on April 24, 1887.
In a short of period of 15 years, Mother Teresa established her convent on a sure foundation and launched out into various apostolates.
Fighting against heavy odds, she started 2 schools-in English and the Vernacular; an Industrial school, a boarding school, an Orphanage, a ‘Magdalene Home’ for unwed mothers, Home for the aged, a Dispensary, Family Apostolate, engaged in Famine -Relief Programme, Prison Ministry etc. She exercised her benevolent influence on the Dewan of Cochin to obtain permission to celebrate the Eucharist in the prison on the feast of St. Joseph. Her zeal for God’s Kingdom was such, that nothing could deter her.
The life of “A Great Woman and Religious” as she was considered by all in Ernakulam and even in Europe was abruptly cut short in a train accident at Mangapatnam, in Andhra Pradesh while travelling to Bombay on September 12, 1902.
Sisters, orphans, boarders, plunged in grief, weeping and wailing, with no one to console them. The first reaction of the sisters was one of utter helplessness, to disband and disperse. But Mother Teresa had taught them both by word and example to accept the Will of God under every circumstance however painful, as worthy daughters of St. Teresa.
Sr. Beatrice, strengthened by the parting words of her Sister- “Courage Beatrice, I was always in my own element when struggling. You are my sister; so, I expect the same from you”, lunged into the battle of life in right, good earnest.”She starts the New Year with resolute courage, “We are determined, cost what it may, to perpetuate my sister’s work, of course, for His honour and glory.
Mother Teresa’s conduct in every circumstance of her life was remarkably spiritual. The Eucharistic presence of our Lord gave her hope in “troubled times” – a therapeutic remedy for her troubled mind: The values that nurtured our Foundress’ prayer life was her Faith, the Will of God and Trust in the Providence of God Our Foundress was A Visionary and A Missionary. She goaded her sisters on to a greater commitment: “Forward sisters, forward, and the nuns must take the lead”.
Her work is being continued by us in 122 convents spread all over India and abroad.