BHARANANGANAM is a small town located in the central part of the state of Kerala, in India. It is 33 kilometers from Kottayam, the district headquarters of Bharananganam and the nearest railway station.

In the year 1004, a church was founded and built at Bharananganam, which still exists as Parelpally. A huge and beautiful church was built here in the early decades of the 20th Century.

The Franciscan Clarist Convent Bharananganam was founded on 27th October, 1910 by Rev. Fr. Chandy Kattarath of Poonjar Parish. The Clarist Convent founded by him at Maniamkunnu had to encounter many difficulties. So, Rev. Fr. Chandy, with the permission of Mar Mathew Makil, the presiding bishop of Changanacherry at that time, transplanted the whole convent to Bharananganam.

Franciscan Clarist Congregation

The FRANCISCAN CLARIST CONGREGATION is an indigenous congregation of religious sisters following the spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi. The congregation was founded by eight pious women from Pala and neighbouring places, who were members of the Secular Franciscan (Third) Order, a unit of which was functioning in the parish of Pala since 1875. Highly imbibed with a zealous love for God, the above eight pious women led a community life at Kannadiyurumpu. When Rt. Rev. Dr. Charles Lavingne, the Apostolic Vicar of Kottayam visited Pala in the year 1888, these women expressed their long cherished desire to lead a genuine and full Franciscan way of life. Overcoming a series of obstacles, Dr. Charles Lavingne helped them to found a new branch of the Franciscan Family in Kerala. Thus the FRANCISCAN CLARIST CONGREGATION was founded on 14th December 1888 at Changanacherry by the eight women who came from Pala. The outstanding characteristics of this congregation are the spirit of prayer, life of hard work, care of the destitute and service to the poor. Eventually the teaching of religion and the imparting of education were also included in their apostolate.

At present the Congregation has about 7000 members under 20 provinces and 4 Regions within and outside Kerala in the various states of India. Among the 20 provinces 7 are in the mission areas outside Kerala. The congregation started missionary work outside Kerala in 1960 and this is the golden jubilee year of the foundation of the first convent in the mission area namely, Agra in North India.

Franciscan Clarist Convent in Bharanaganam

The Franciscan Clarist Convent at Bharananganam stands as the earthly abode of a very holy life that exhilarates the multitudes of pilgrims flowing to the place.

The room where St. Alphonsa lived and died is preserved intact with the cow dung plastered flooring and the traditional roofing and has a lively statue of the saint. The adjacent room with the portraits of St. Little Therese and Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara who through a vision healed the saint of her many ailments is another attraction. Another appealing sight is a lifelike statue of the Saint as laid up in the casket.

The Annex- the St. Alphonsa Museum is an authentic and wonderful site that preserves invaluable holy materials used by and related to the Saint. The F. C. Convent at Bharananganam and the numerous sacred treasures preserved within stand as the glowing earthly tribute to the holy life of Saint Alphonsa, the first Woman Saint of INDIA.

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