Residential care has always been a very important apostolate of the Apostolic Carmel as faith formation could more easily be seen to for our young girls, especially the poor and deprived in an atmosphere of love and caring. Venerable Mother Veronica, our foundress, was a woman touched by God’s love and this love she shared with all, especially the poor and lowly, the orphans and the rejects of the society.
Mother Marie des Anges, the First Superior General, also had a great concern for the orphans and wanted good care be taken of them; hence she started a Children’s Home at St Ann’s. The sisters of the Apostolic Carmel have imbibed her spirit and continued this work of reaching out to the poor and neglected ones in the Children’s Homes.
There was a great spurt in the opening of children’s homes in the 1930’s and they were attached to the newly opened schools in Kundapur, Kemmannu, Kotekar and later on at Balagraha, Maryhill and other parts of Karnataka.
1. St. Joseph’s Convent Children’s Home, Kundapura: When St. Joseph’s Convent was opened at Kundapura, a Children’s Home was also opened to care for the destitute children. It was the first Children’s Home in this part of South Kanara (now Udupi district) and had a charm of its own for everyone. It benefitted the children from the neighbouring villages who otherwise would have been working as day labourers. It still continues to help rural children. In addition, children from distant parts of Karnataka are helped to get faith formation, imbibe values for life and education.
2. St. Philomena’s Children’s Home, Kemmannu: The children’s home was started at Kemmannu with four children on May 30th, 1935. They were poor girls, without a house to stay in and the large-hearted Superior, Mother Columba, asked permission to open a children’s home for them. Needy girls from all over Karnataka still knock at the door and are helped to study up to Std X.
3. Stella Maris Children’s Home, Kotekar: Mother Louise started the children’s home at Stella Maris in 1938, with 17 children on roll. The purpose was to educate poor children from remote villages. With the novitiate located near the orphanage, the children get extra help from the novices.
4. Balagraha Children’s Home, Maryhill: A children’s home attached to Infant Jesus School was started in Maryhill, in 1941, with 8 children from broken families and remote villages who had no access to education. The children’s home continues to admit children even from distant places like Bidar and they help to provide strength to the primary school. Some of them continue their education at St. Agnes High School and are accommodated at Viyaymari.
5. Bailhongal Children’s Home, Belagavi was started more recently, to provide accommodation and all-round training for the differently- abled children. Around 50 of them are given accommodation and value based education. They find a home away from home.
6. Lingsugur Children’s Home: provides accommodation, love and care for the less privileged children of neighbouring villages. They are given free education until standard X in English Medium School.
7. Maria Nilaya Children’s Home: Jamgie Colony Children are brought together to Maria Nilaya so that they could get their value based education and a home away from Home.