SAN JUAN ASHRAM,
Rakkar Colony, Una – 174 303, Himachal Pradesh
Though the first Carmelite monastery of Malabar Carmelite Mission was established at Hoshiarpur, the pioneering station of mission is Una in Himachal Pradesh since it was at Una that our founding fathers Ambrose Panackal and Bernard Thattaparambil based themselves as directed by the Bishop of Jalandhar. Reaching Jalandhar on 21 May 1976, the pioneering duo arrived at Una on 23 May 1976, accompanied by the Provincial Procurator of Malabar Province, Fr. Brocard Thoompunkal. As directed by the bishop, Frs. Ambrose and Bernard stayed temporarily at Prem Ashram to celebrate the sacraments for the sisters at Una and Hoshiarpur in the absence of Fr. Gilbert who had gone for his holidays.
When Fr. Gilbert returned, the bishop directed Fr. Ambrose be at Firozepur and Fr. Bernard back at Jalandhar. However, on the request of Fr. Ambrose, the bishop permitted Fr. Bernard to stay back at Una, looking for a suitable block of land for a monastery and possibly for a school since Una was considered to be the hub of our missionary activities.
In his earnest search for a suitable block of land, after considering many others Fr. Bernard short-listed three sites – One on Basoli Road, One near Jalgran and One at Rakkar Colony – and finally zeroed in on the perfect site at Rakkar Colony, Una, which is presently home to San Juan Ashram and Mount Carmel School.
The land at Rakkar Colony belonged to a colleague of Mr. Nanda at BBMB. After completing the initial procedures Fr. Bernard sought the permission from the Government of Himachal Pradesh for buying the land since there were restrictions for the outsiders to buy land in Himachal according to section 118 of Land Reform Act of 1972. Since securing permissions under section 118 was a time-consuming affair the fathers shifted their focus to Hoshiarpur as there were no such restrictions in Punjab. However, after the fall of the Janatha Government, Fr. Bernard managed to get the permission and got half of the land registered on 18 August 1980 and the other half on 23 August 1980. On 5 October 1980 the land was measured and the boundary was demarcated.
The Mission Council, in its meeting held on 6 October 1980, suggested that priest-in-charge might start living at our land at Rakkar Colony moving out from Prem Ashram. Subsequently Fr. Bernard moved into a temporary residence in the new block of land in the third week of April 1981. This temporary house was blessed on 16 July 1981 and Bro. Avertan joined Fr. Bernard as the first step to form a community. Further, on 5 August 1987, in response to the request of Rev. Fr. Patrick, Provincial of the Malabar Province, Bishop Symphorian granted permission to found a House of Regular Observances of the Discalced Carmelites at Una, and the same was ratified by the General Definitory on 24 February 1988 vide Prot. N52/88DF.
The foundation stone for the new Monastery was laid by Bishop Syphorian, OFM Cap, on 15 December 1990 the day after the Solemnity of St. John of the Cross. The construction took almost 3 years and the monastery was blessed and inaugurated on 20 March 1993 by Bishop of Jalandhar as San Juan Ashram after the name of the great Carmelite Mystic, St. John of the Cross, in the presence of a large gathering of priests, religious and laity.
Mount Carmel School at Una
On 2 July 1982 Mount Carmel School was inaugurated by the D.C. of Una in few rented rooms belonging to Shri. Baba Bedi at Una. Fr. Aurelian was the founding Principal and Sr. Sophy SCJM and Sr. Clare SCJM were the first teachers as co-founders. The foundation stone of the present school building at Rakkar Colony was blessed on by Bishop Symphorian Keeparath and laid by the Honorable Deputy Speaker of Himachal Pradesh, Shri. Vijay Kumar on 31 May 1983.
*Fr. Paramjit Prem OCD *Fr. Thomas Puthenpurackal OCD
*Fr. Joseph Mattam OCD (Superior) *Fr. James Manampuram OCD
*Fr. Benjamin Kokkat OCD *Fr. Thomas Chakkungal OCD
"At the End of Life, we shall be Judged by Love"
-St. John of the Cross
Forgetting all things creaturely, remembering the Creator, attending to the interior, and loving the One loving thee. - St. John of the cross, O.C.D.