St Thomas Province of the
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Claret Bhavan
Kurivilangad
Kerala

Personnel

Fr. Abraham Pothiyittel
Fr. John Poovathanickal
Fr. Chacko Vattakunnel
Fr. John Pazhamchirayil
Fr. Martin Vithayathil
Fr. Benny Tharappel
Fr. Joseph Madhavath
Fr. Joseph Kudakuthiyil
Stu. Thomas Kunnath
 
Claret Bhavan, Kuravilangad is the motherhouse of the Claretians in India. It is from here the Claretian presence in India began to sprout and then flourish. Juridically it comes under the Syro-Malabar diocese of Palai, in the district of Kottayam in Kerala. In 1969 the first batches of Indian students who completed their priestly formation in Germany and returned to India to establish a Claretian foundation in the country under the province of Germany. The bishop of Palai, Mar Sebastian Vayalil who recruited the first Indian vocations for Claretians was instrumental in establishing the first Claretian house in the subcontinent. He was very particular to make it happen in his own diocese and suggested the traditional St Thomas Christian bastion of Kuravilangad to be the ideal place. Though many places in and around the bishop house of Palai were considered it was Kuravilangad that appealed most to Fr. Joseph Madavath and Fr. Dirnberger. A small hilltop called Kolakandantharappu, belonging to the famous Patani family, south of St. Mary?s Forane Church was bought for the purpose of establishing the first Claretian Foundation in India.The foundation stone for Claret Bhavan was laid on 31 March 1970 by Mar Sebastian Vayalil. The first batch of 21 students began their basic formation of minor seminary training here on 3 July the same year. On 24 October 1971 the house was blessed and inaugurated by Mar Sebastian Vayalil in the presence of Mar Kuriakose Kunnassery, Bishop of Kottaym, Rev. Fr. Peter Schutz (Provincial Superior of Germany) and Rev. Dr. Mathew Vellankal, Vicar General of Kothamangalam diocese. Fr. Joseph Madhavath, the first Indian Claretian priest and the brain behind Claret Bhavan, was the first Superior of the house. Claret Bhavan, an architectural wonder built with hard rocks, is probably the biggest house of the Claretians in India.
 

Claret Bhavan, situated on a hilltop, now called German Kunnu, with the serenity of nature married to the silence of wilderness, is an ideal place for the formation of missionaries. It is just one kilometer away from St Mary?s Forane Church Kuravilangad, an important place in the history of Syro Malabar Church. Formation of the students is the main purpose of the house. Students who complete their matriculation and plus-two join Claret Bhavan and get their basic formation and initiation into missionary and Claretian way of life for a period of three years. In the beginning the students did their Pre-degree course at Deva Matha College, Kuravilangad. From 1982 onwards the course is conducted here with the help of some visiting professors. As of now, 33 batches of students have completed their basic formation in this house to work in different parts of India and outside. The first lessons of missionary and religious life learned here helped many of the Indian Priests to have a basic love towards the Congregation, an openness to work for spreading the message of Christ in the style of Claret, and to work for the uplift of the poor people in the society with commitment and sincerity. Students here get opportunity for the integral growth of their personhood spiritual, physical, psychological and intellectual.Claret Bhavan is also engaged in various social and pastoral activities. The community actively collaborates with the parish whenever it is needed. The once infamous Kolakandatharappu is turned into Claret Mount because of the dynamic presence of the missionaries here. The poor people around us have benefited in diverse ways ever since our presence here. People come here for spiritual direction and guidance. Many homeless families have profited from our housing projects. The economically poor children get assistance through our educational aids. Many local people are helped to find employment. More importantly Claret Bhavan is also known for its agricultural produces, dairy and piggery farms. Claret Bhavan has also hosted a number of religious, social and public functions over the years. Many a religious, social and political leaders have visited this house on various occasions. This house is known for its special devotion to Mother Mary. On all Saturdays novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is conducted in the Seminary chapel. From February 2003 onwards special devotion and novena to St Jude the Apostle is also conducted on all Tuesdays here and many faithful around the area participate in the novena.

Besides formation of minor seminary students, this house functions as a center for vocation promotion. From 1996 when the Syro Malabar Dependent Delegation was formed, Claret Bhavan served as its office. Till July 2005 it served as the curia of St Thomas Province. Some of the important events in the history of Claret Bhavan are: On 16 July 2004 the first province in an Oriental Rite in the Congregation St. Thomas Province was inaugurated in the presence of five bishops and Claret bhavan was the venue for the event. Over the years Claret Bhavan has hosted a number of Minor Seminarian?s Meet at the regional level. Claret Bhavan was selected as the model agricultural farm by the government in the seventies and eightees. The beloved departed brothers of Fr. Cyriac Kollamparampil and Fr. Augustine Aykkaramattam - are laid to rest in Claret Bhavan.In the three decades of its existence Claret Bhavan was able to give the Universal Church and the Congregation more than 180 missionary priests.
 
Mission
Formation of Students - Minor Seminary, Junior College
Vocation facilitation and Promotion
Social Service & Human Welfare programs
Pastoral and religious service
Promotion of devotion to Immaculate Heart of Mary, St Claret and St Jude
Agriculture and Farming- Dairy, Piggery.

 





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