Kolbe Franciscan Ashram

Kolbe Franciscan Ashram
Conventual Franciscan Friars
P.B. 608, U.C. College P.O.
Aluva 683102
Ernakulam DT.
Kerala, India
Tel: (0484) 2607147
Fr. Alfred Parambakathu, Guardian
Fr. Jacob Kurishummottil
Fr. Elias Thekkemundackapadavil
Kolbe Franciscan 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 15 November 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. LanfrancoSerrini, Minister General inaugurated and blessed the small House which was later enlarged to welcome the first group of student-friars, on 16 April 1984. For this occasion Fr. SebaldReil, 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 8 November 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 to his visit to Aluva in 1932. On 14 August 1985, on the feast day of the Saint, Bishop Mar Sebastian Mankuzhikary, Apostolic Administrator of Ernakulam blessed a six-foot wooden statue of Kolbe for the future chapel of the Ashram, whichwas donated by Miss Mary PothenNediyakalupparambil of Changanacherry. On 4 November1989, a bigger statute of the saint replaced the smaller one at the entrance of the Ashram, whichwas blessed by Fr. Alfred Calleja, Minister Provincial of Malta.

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 29 November 1984. Archbishop Mar Antony Padiyara of Ernakulam blessed the first part of the building and consecrated its chapel on 2 April 1986. Fr. Joseph Cilia, Provincial Delegate, blessed the common block on 25 December 1989. On 14 August1992, 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. In the same year on 4 October Bishop Mar Jacob Manathodath, Auxiliary of Ernakulam blessed the newly constructed Auditorium dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the BVM and the construction of Kolbe Franciscan Ashram was declared completed. An eleven feet concrete statue of Christ on top of the water tank dominates the whole compound of the Ashram.

Kolbe Franciscan Ashram served as the central administration of the Mission until 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 Franciscan Ashram on 27 January 1995 and Fr. Joseph Cilia, the first Provincial Custos, to commemorate the event, blessed the Shrine of St. Francis embracing the leper on the same day.

Kolbe Franciscan Ashram community is also responsible for various social projects of the Custody such as the St. Anthony Social Centre, whichwas inaugurated by Fr. Joseph Cilia, Provincial Delegate on 13 June 1993 in the first house on Kolbe Franciscan 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 24 July 1994 and the clinic was inaugurated and blessed by Fr. Thomas Calleja, Parish Priest of St. Paul’s Bay, Malta on 23 October of the same year. The new building of the Nursery and Tailoring School was ready in 1995 and was inaugurated on 20 November by Fr. Joachim Giermek, Vicar General of the Order and blessed by Bishop Mar Jacob Manathodath, Auxiliary 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 14 June 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 8 September 1994.

Kolbe Franciscan Ashram also served as the Mission Headquarters from September 1985 until November 1996. Then, we shifted it to Assisi Nilayam on the same compound, for the formation of the Pre-Novices from 8 June 1986 to 15 August 1995 and as a Novitiate house from 28 March 1987 to 1 November 1997. It continues to be the study house for the student-friars in philosophy and theology.



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