Carmel Convent, Nanakudy – 1987


Sr. Maria Sahaya AC


The convent is the Golden Jubilee Memorial of Christ King Convent, Tambaram. They wanted to start a convent in Tamil Nadu and it was through the instrumentality of Fr.Gnanapragasam who was then, residing at Tambaram and doing his PG studies at Madras Christian College that the sisters of Christ King came to know of this place. The priest introduced the Apostolic Carmel to Fr.Jaganivasagar who was the Parish Priest at Nanakudi. He contacted Sr.Silvina the Superior of Christ King Convent and also the Provincial Superior at Calicut. Srs. Silvina and Cleta visited this place and were pleased with the eagerness and simplicity of the people. On 29th August 1986 the Provincial and her team went to see the place along with Srs.Silvina and Cleta. Fr.Jaganivasagar had arranged for the Parishioners to meet them. They were able to express clearly what they wanted from the sisters-to bring up the standard of the children in the school, to teach catechism to women and to prepare them for marriage. Two posts were offered for us when the school reopened in 1987.

The Church had a plot of land which they were ready to give us free of cost for the convent building, but at the suggestion of the Superior General, we decided to buy up a plot for ourselves. All the arrangement regarding the purchase of the land and registration were made by Fr.Jaganivasagar and Mr.Mathew the Head Master who would be retiring that March. The sisters were happy with the people and the Apostolate offered, as it was in keeping with the decision of the Provincial Chapter of April 1986.

Srs.Alice, Jayamary and Arpana (Junior) were the sisters to form the first community at Nanakudi. The people are mainly farmers and Shepherds. Usually the Mass was at 7.30 p.m. on week days for the convenience of the people. Being drought stricken area and for the past 6 years not having rain, that year they had an outpouring of rain, filling the newly dug well of ours, with clear drinking water.

As the sisters had to take up the teaching in the school from June 1987, it was decided that the sisters would stay in a rented house in the village. On 24th of May 1987, Sr. Alice was installed as the Superior of the house. Since we had no house and chapel of our own this installation took place in ‘PALMARA’ house which was occupied by the Jesuits for their Social Apostolate. Since we could not find a suitable rented house in the village for 3 sisters to stay, the sisters of St.Joseph of Lyons accommodated Srs.Jaya Mary and Arpana in their convent in Devakotai and Sr.Alice went to Tambaram while the other sisters like Provincial, Rosabelle, Silvina, Gerosa who had come for the occasion went back to their respective places.

The inbuilt caste system which has it’s roots in the Hindu philosophical and religious tradition almost serve as infrastructure influencing the types of socio-political, cultural religious and economic behaviours of the people. The emotions and attitudes of the people are very much characterized by superstitious beliefs and fatalism.

The predominant agrarian economy of this district is perennially drought– prone coupled with the fact of ground water being scarce. Added to this unsuitable climate, lack of job, proper transport facilities and the like, people get migrated to elsewhere seeking job opportunities and better living facilities.

Community Life:

There were about 48 villages attached to this Parish when we took up. The time of Holy Mass and Community Prayer varied due to the availability of the priest. There are times when sisters have Mass only on Sundays as Parish Priest was more involved in the social works and social problems. The sisters at times had to go to Devakottai on week days. The community started functioning as Sr.Jaya Mary the Head Mistress of the School, incharge of the Parish choir and vocation promoter with Sr.Arpana teaching in the school, Liturgist for the Parish and cook in the house.

Meanwhile the work of the convent proceeded fast under the guidance of Mr.Chinnappan who the Parish Priest recommended for the construction of the same. Sr.Theodoret too visited once again to give needed directions. The work started on May 24th 1987 and when the ground floor was completed the house was blessed on 29th October. Although the sisters could not be housed there immediately for another 3 weeks due to the dampness of the floor. However, a grand function was organized by the Parishioners for this day.

The newly elected Bishop of our Diocese of Sivagangai and the previous Parish Priest were all invited for the occasion and they all came in large numbers. Our sisters from Tambaram, Amali Illam, St. Mary’s Devakottai and the sisters of our Provincial House represented. After the blessing of the convent building, the Holy Mass was celebrated in the Parish Church and this was followed by a public meeting in the Church itself.

The AC sisters were welcomed by a number of people and the Bishop Edward Francis assured us with many vocations from this area to Apostolic Carmel. This was followed by a grand dinner for the invitees. It was in God’s plan that the first Mass be offered on 19th November the date so very dear to every A.C.

Trusting in His love and mercy we forge forward. May our good Lord and God be praised and glorified forever and ever, for what He is to us.

Contact details:

Carmel Convent
Nanakudi, Hanumanthakudi (PO)
Devakottai Ext. – 630 303
Sivagangai Dist., Tamilnadu
Ph.No. 04561 -260739