Mother Mary Veronica of the Passion (1823 to 1906)
Mother Veronica (Miss Sophie Leeves), Foundress of the Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel, Mangalore, was deeply religious and highly intellectual. She was English, the daughter of an Anglican Chaplain to the British Embassy at Constantinople. Born on October 1, 1823, she was received into the Catholic Church on February 2, 1850. A life of prayer and renunciation culminated in the dedication of her whole self to the education of youth in the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Apparition. On September 14, 1851, she became Sister Mary Veronica of the Passion, and the Cross had a large place in her life making her in truth, a victim.
She came out to India and at Calicut met the saintly Carmelite Bishop, Marie Ephrem, who guided her in her work of founding the Apostolic Carmel, a Congregation of Carmelite women devoted to teaching. She obtained the sanction of the Holy See and, leaving her own Congregation, she joined the Carmel of Pau, France, and then prepared a band of young girls, French, English and Irish, and sent them to India in 1870.
Three years later, when the Apostolic Carmel was firmly established on Indian soil, she returned to the Carmel of Pau, making the Apostolic Carmel the special object of her prayers and affection. In 1906, God called her to Himself, to reward her for her life of love, labour and sacrifice.
Bishop Marie Ephrem of the Sacred Heart of Jesus OCD
(1827 to 1873)
Bishop Marie Ephrem envisioned and co-founded the Apostolic Carmel Congregation (Carmelite teaching Sisters), as he said : Asiatic nuns for Asiatic girls.
He was ordained priest on December 21, 1850. He took the Carmelite Vows, but now pursued by another call, the call for the missions. His keen eye noted a big lack in the India of his day. Education was still the monopoly of the man and the women had begun to resent it. "Schools" they cried, "give us schools!" He brought nuns to teach the women, and nuns to pray with and for them. Father Marie Ephrem's efforts succeeded in setting up Children's Homes and Technical Schools. Boys learnt carpentry and tailoring and girls - sewing, weaving, knitting and lace-making. A far-sighted man indeed!
When he would have women's education come into the scope of Carmelite activity, he chose a nun called Sister Mary Veronica of the Congregation of Saint Joseph of the Apparition, provided her a Carmelite training, and then, with her, started a new teaching congregation, the Apostolic Carmel. Many of the big religious instituions of Mangalore still bear traces of his hand and heart.
Under the guidance of Rt. Rev. Bishop Marie Ephrem OCD, Mother Veronica founded the Apostolic Carmel in Bayonne, France on July 16, 1868.
In 1870, Father Marie Ephrem was made Bishop of Quilon and later transferred to Mangalore as Bishop of the diocese, the diocese in which he had worked as a priest. His work went on apace till death overtook him on April 10, 1873 and brought to an end a career full of plans carried out and plans for the future.