Nun who founded order in Mangalore is declared Venerable
July 18, 2014
Pope Francis declared Mother Mary Veronica of the Passion, who founded a Mangalore-based congregation, lived a life of heroic virtues making her a step closer to canonization.
The pope's July 9 decree opens the way for the search for two miracles first to declare her Blessed and finally to canonise her.
Mother Mary Veronica founded the Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel, a religious congregation of Carmelite nuns based in India.
She was born Sophie Leeves in 1823 in Constantinople to the Rev Henry Daniel Leeves, an Anglican chaplain to the British Embassy there, and Marina Haultain, the daughter of a colonel in British Army. But when she was a teenager she felt drawn to the Catholic Church. She developed an intense prayer life and craved the Sacraments of Penance and Communion.
She later broke off an engagement to marry a naval officer and converted to the Catholic faith at the age of 27 during a visit to Malta in 1850. She entered the Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition in France the following year and in 1863 accepted a teaching post in Kozhikode in India.
Mother Mary Veronica left her order and entered the Carmelite convent at Pau in southern France, before she went on to found her own teaching order five years later.
In 1892 the order, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Carmelite Third Order Regular, was formally affiliated with the Discalced Carmelite Order and today it has branches in India, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Pakistan, Kenya, Rome and Bahrain. Mother Veronica died in Pau on November 16 1906 at the age of 83 and her Cause for Canonisation was opened at the request of her order in 1997.
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