Kolbe Franciscan Ashram (1983)

Address

Kolbe Franciscan Ashram
Conventual Franciscan Friars
U.C.College, P.O. , P.B. No.608
Ernakulam DT. 683102
Kerala, India

Tel.: (0091 484) 2607147
Friary E-mail: kolbeashram@yahoo.com

Members

Guardian & Rector
Fr. Michael Earaly

Members
Fr. Samuel Paramby
Fr. Mariadas Palatty
Friar Antu Pallippatt

History

Kolbe Ashram at Aluva in Ernakulam District, Kerala in the arch eparchy of Ernakulam (later Ernakulam-Angamaly) was canonically established as a friary and major seminary on November 15, 1983 on an area of approximately six acres of land. Fr. Joseph Cilia was appointed the first Superior and Rector of the student-friars. Fr. Lanfranco Serrini, Minister General inaugurated and blessed the small House which was later enlarged to welcome the first group of student-friars, on April 16, 1984. For this occasion Fr. Sebald Reil, General Secretary for the Mission of the Order and the Major Superiors OFMConv. of Asia and Australia were present. The House was renovated and blessed again and named Assisi Nilayam on November 8, 1996 by Fr. Joseph Cilia, Provincial Custos to serve as a Custodial House till 1999 when the Vice-Provincialate was shifted to Karukutty.

The Ashram was dedicated to St. Maximilian Kolbe as a memorial of his visit to Aluva in 1932. In 1985, on the feast day of the Saint, August 14, Bishop Mar Sebastian Mankuzhikary, Apostolic Administrator of Ernakulam blessed a six-feet wooden statue of Kolbe for the future chapel of the Ashram which was donated by Miss Mary Pothen Nediyakalupparambil of Changanacherry. In 1989 a bigger statute of the saint replaced the smaller one at the entrance of the Ashram which was blessed by Fr. Alfred Calleja, Minister Provincial of Malta on November 4. The new structure was built in different stages on plans prepared by Architect Fr. J.M. Stevens S.J. of Bangalore. Bishop Mar Sebastian Mankuzhikary, Apostolic Administrator of Ernakulam laid and blessed the foundation stone of the new building on November 29, 1984. Archbishop Mar Antony Padiyara of Ernakulam blessed the first part of the building and consecrated its chapel on April 2, 1986. Fr. Joseph Cilia, Provincial Delegate, blessed the common block on December 25, 1989. On August 14, 1992 Bishop Mar Francis Kallarackal of Kottapuram blessed the new residential blocks and the Canticle of Creatures together with the Statue of St. Francis in the courtyard of the Ashram. On October 4 of the same year Bishop Mar Jacob Manathodath, Auxiliary Bishop of Ernakulam blessed the newly constructed Auditorium dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the BVM and the construction of Kolbe Ashram was declared completed. An eleven feet concrete statue of Christ on top of the water tank dominates the whole compound of the Ashram.

The two sports grounds were inaugurated in 1991; the volleyball court on August 24 by Fr. Joseph Cilia, Provincial Delegate and the badminton court by Fr. Elias Vella, Capitular Custos of the Maltese Province on November 24. Kolbe Ashram served as the central administration of the Mission till the Custodial Curia was shifted to Assisi Shanthi Kendra, Karukutty in February 1999. The official inauguration of the Provincial Custody was also done at Kolbe Ashram on January 27,1995 and the Shrine of St. Francis embracing the leper was blessed on the same day by Fr. Joseph Cilia, the first Provincial Custos, to commemorate the event.

Kolbe Ashram community is also responsible for various social projects of the Custody such as the St. Anthony Social Centre which was inaugurated by Fr. Joseph Cilia, Provincial Delegate on June 13, 1993 in the first house on Kolbe Ashram compound. It is made up of the Preshitharam Sisters Convent, Nursery and Tailoring School. In 1994, 21 cents of land was bought for the construction of the Centre and for the St. Paul’s Clinic which is also an integral part of the Centre. The foundation stone of the clinic was blessed and laid by Fr. George Anasserry (a diocesan priest of Ernakulam diocese) on July 24, 1994 and the clinic was inaugurated and blessed by Fr. Thomas Calleja, Parish Priest of St. Paul’s Bay, Malta on October 23 of the same year. The new building of the nursery and tailoring school was ready in 1995 and was inaugurated on November 20 by Fr. Joachim Giermek, Vicar General of the Order and blessed by Bishop Mar Jacob Manathodath, Auxiliary Bishop of Ernakulam. The Assisi Housing Project began in 1993 and it consists of Assisi Nagar, Padua Nagar and Amala Nagar. Fr. Enrique Montero, Definitor General for FAAMC blessed the first group of houses for the poor at Assisi Nagar on June 14, 1994. A Shrine dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi was also constructed at the entrance of Assisi Nagar and was blessed by Fr. Peter Damian Massengill, General Delegate for Peace, Justice and Safeguarding of Creation on September 8, 1994.
Kolbe Ashram also served as the Mission Headquarters from September 1985 till November 1996 when it was shifted to Assisi Nilayam on the same compound, for the formation of the Pre-Novices from June 8, 1986 to August 15, 1995 and as a Novitiate house from March 28, 1987 to November 1, 1997. It continues to be the study house for the student-friars in philosophy and theology.