Mannanam was the first house of the CMI Congregation (Mother House) of which the foundation stone was laid on 11 May 1831 by Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara, Fr. Thomas Palackal and Fr. Thomas Porukkara.
Kuriakose Elias Chavara was born on 10th february 1805 in Kainakary. After Seminary Education he was ordained priest in 1829 November29 at Arthunkal St. Andrew’s Church. Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara the first Indian who took vows in 1855 at Mannanam and start the first Indegenous Congregation in India (CMI) and became the First Prior General of that congregation. In 1855 ten other priests also made their first vows before him. Mannanam was not merely the birthplace of the indigenous religious congregation it was also the birth place of many other firsts: the first indigenous seminary of the Malabar Church (1833), the first Catholic Sanskrit School in Kerala (1846), the first Catholic Printing Press in Kerala (1846),
Saint Chavara found that without proper education none of his efforts for the renewal of the Church and the transformation of the society would be effective. He understood the importance of Sanskrit in the cultural background of our country. Hence he established the Sanskrit School at Mannanam. He welcomed the students irrespective of caste and creed, rich and poor.
He started a printing press first in Catholic Church (Wooden Press) in 1846 at Mannanam and many spiritual books were printed in this.There is no area of human endeavor where the fingers of Saint Chavara have not touched. Besides the first house at Mannanam he started several religious houses in different parts of Kerala. Elthuruth, Vazhakulam, Ambazhakkad, Mutholy, Pulinkunnu and Koonammavu.
Starting of Seminaries for the education and formation of clergy, annual retreat for priests and people, starting of forty — hours adoration, a house for the dying and destitute, special attention to catechumens were among the few various activities under Saint Chavara’s leadership.
Above all he was spending long hours before the blessed sacraments in the night. So people and the authorities considered him as a man of Holiness.
Welcome to Mannanam to receive the blessings of Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara and to watch different ancient monuments of Saint Chavara
Fr. Mathews Chackalackal