The Apostolic Carmel, Karnataka, celebrates the Bicentennial Birth Anniversary of Venerable Mother Veronica
Mangaluru: The Apostolic Carmel, Karnataka Province, celebrated the Bicentennial Birth Anniversary of its foundress, Venerable Mother Veronica, on November 18, 2023, at St Ann’s, Mangalore, and thereby concluded the yearlong celebrations that started on October 1, 2022. Mother Veronica nee Sophie Leeves was born to a devout Anglican family, Rev. Henry Daniel Leeves and Marina Haultain on October 1, 1823.
The celebration at St Ann’s High School Hall commenced with an opening chorus by the sisters of St Agnes Convent, followed by a scintillating welcome dance by the students of St Agnes CBSE School. Provincial Superior Sr Maria Shamita A.C. accorded a gracious welcome to all gathered, especially the chief guest, Rev. Fr Rudolph Pinto, Director of Ryshivana Christian Institute of Spirituality.
A glimpse of the programs and activities of the jubilee year was presented by Sr Melissa A.C. through a creative presentation. The audience was awestruck with the dance drama put up by the students of St Ann’s D.Ed. College on the life and mission of Mother Veronica. The prize-winning skits on Mother Veronica, written by some of the staff, students, and sisters on this occasion, were compiled in a book entitled “The Woman Who Made a Difference,” which was released by the chief guest, and the winners were felicitated with a book and a cash prize.
The chief guest, in his address, congratulated the sisters on the occasion of the 200th birth celebration of Mother Veronica and spoke on how she followed the stirrings of the Holy Spirit in her life to found the Apostolic Carmel and how she continues to inspire even to this day. Sr Julie Anne A.C. proposed the vote of thanks, while Sr Rose Agnes A.C. compeered the program.
During the Thanksgiving Eucharist that followed, the sisters recalled with gratitude her sacrifice, her heroism in facing the challenges, their deep trust in God, their love for the poor and needy, and their fond desire to empower women. Symbolising 200 years with 20 roses, a rose for each decade, the sisters, formees, and AC Associates joined the entrance procession along with the priests and celebrant, Rev. Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, Bishop of Mangalore. The bishop, in his homily, spoke on the three characteristics of love, agape being the supreme one. He highlighted the noble and heroic life of Mother Veronica, how she practiced the commandment of love, and urged every Apostolic Carmelite to live a life of love and service. The heavenly choir by the sisters of St Ann’s added meaning and solemnity to the occasion.
After the Mass, the celebration continued with a fellowship meal, strengthening the bond of connectivity among the Apostolic Carmel family.