During the Extraordinary Definitory, our superiors found the time to to celebrate the Eucharist in the place where our first monastery was established in India. This monastery was built in 1622 by Fr Leander of the Annunciation and his first companions who had just arrived in Goa.
The decision to establish a presence of Teresian Carmelites in this far-away land was not accidental. At that time, Goa was the Capital of the Portuguese Indies with about 200,000 inhabitants and 50 religious foundations, including convents, monasteries and churches. As well, Goa had been established by the Pope as the sole diocese of the East, with jurisdiction spreading to Japan (which helps to understand better the immense extent of St Francis Xavier’s missionary effort). At present, what is left of our first foundation, the “Convento do Carmo”, is just some ruins surrounded by vegetation, even though the friars of the Karnataka-Goa Province have been preoccupied in cleaning up and restoring the place. In the area of the original church they discovered some important tombstones, among which stands out that of the five martyrs of Persia.
For the solemn celebration ─which was transmitted directly by the regional television─ many of the friars and students of
India arrived in Goa from other Provinces of our Order in India. There were over 140 students, one-half of the
students in formation in the country.
In his homily, Fr General recalled in a special manner Blessed Denis and Redemptus, who made their profession precisely in this place and lived here afterwards until they were sent to the Sumatra mission in 1638, where they suffered martyrdom.