Servant of God Mother Teresa of St. Rose of Lima ( 1858-1902)

Mount Carmel College of Teacher Education for Women, Kottayam is owned and administered by the Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa (CSST). Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa (CSST) was founded on the 24th of April, 1887 by Mother Teresa of St. Rose of Lima in the town of Ernakulum in Kerala. Let’s have a glimpse into the life of Mary Grace a great educationalist who made remarkable contribution to the society by empowering women through education.

Mother Teresa of St. Rose of Lima 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. Grace passed Matriculation with distinction and Teacher`s Higher Grade Examination and started her career as a teacher. When she was 21 years of age She  was given   charge   of  St. Joseph`s school for girls in Alleppey.   While working under the guidance of the Carmelite Missionaries she received from the Lord the call to be a religious and in the year 1885 on 25th May, Sr. Teresa made her religious profession as a Carmelite Tertiary at St. Joseph’s Convent Alleppey.

In 1887 the Vicar Apostolic of Verapoly Dr. Leonard Mellano called Sr. Teresa from Alleppey to Ernakulam and gave her the double mandate to start an English Medium School and found a religious community of sisters. Accordingly a Congregation with the name of the Third Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel known today as the Institute of the Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa (CSST), was founded on 24th April 1887. The school St. Teresa’s English Medium School for Girls was established on May 9th of the same year. It was here that Mother Teresa lived and worked during the rest of her short life.

Mother Teresa devoted her excellent qualities of head and heart in fulfilling the mission she was entrusted with. Even though her sole aim was in establishing institutions for the upbringing of the girls in the society through education, she was able to open up other institutions so as to look into the problems of each and every one in state and help the weak and poor. She started three schools including an industrial school for her orphan children, cared for many destitute and abandoned, sheltered wayward women and initiated a well planned programme to rehabilitate. To secure medical care for these destitute she started dispensary securing the services of a qualified doctor. Even the criminals in prison were not excluded from her compassionate love. Her vision reached far beyond and envisaged the need for a college for women to strengthen their faith and empower them through education, effectively to contribute their services to the human society. Everyone, irrespective of caste or religion had a place in her life and ministries. Within a span of 15 years, the contributions she made are immense and have led to the upgradation of the society as a whole.

On a mission to Europe Mother Teresa at the age of forty-four died in a train accident on September 12, 1902 at Mangapatnam in Andra Pradesh. But her death was not the end of anything she started. Astonishing was its life and growth, because God was with it. Orphanages, industrial schools, dispensaries, home for the aged and wayward women, educational institutions, all continued to function. The institute itself expanded to other states in India and abroad, to America, Germany, Argentina, Africa and the Arab countries. The educational apostolate has enlightened and empowered generations of young women from all strata of society giving them a sense of direction and responsibility towards the country and their fellowmen.