Province of Chennai
Province of Chennai

Claret Illam, Kumbakonam

Status : House
Foundation : 1986
Diocese : Kumbakonam
Specific Apostolate : Formation: Minor Seminary & Social Apostolate

Rev. Fr. Franz Xavier Dirnberger CMF wanted to shift the Minor Seminary formation from Claret Bhavan, Karumathur to Vellore or somewhere in the Archdiocese of Pondicherry. He happened to spend some time at the Bishop’s house in Kumbakonam for a short rest during one of his travels. It was Rt. Rev. Paul Arulsamy D.D., the Bishop of Kumbakonam who invited him to start a minor seminary in Kumbakonam and offered a piece of Land near St. Joseph’s Carmel Ashram. Rev. Fr. Lucas was sent there to initiate the process of starting our minor seminary. He was instrumental in buying additional areas of land and constructing the building initially staying in Carmel Ashram Premises. The Foundation Stone was blessed by Rt. Rev. Dr. Paul Arulsamy D.D., the Bishop of Kumbakonam and laid by Rev. Fr. Franz Xavier Dirnberger CMF on 26th August 1985.

From Claret Bhavan, Karumathur, the minor seminary formation community was shifted to Kumbakonam on 19th July 1986 with the formation community comprising Fr. Maria Arul CMF, the Superior, Fr. Singarayan CMF, the Prefect cum Vocation Promoter and Fr. John Pullonparampil CMF, the Procurator along with twenty students. The House was inaugurated by Very Rev. Fr. Peter Schutz CMF, the General Consultor and blessed by Rt. Rev. Dr. M. Arockiasamy D.D., the then Bishop of Kumbakonam. The Chapel and the Altar was consecrated by Rt. Rev. Dr. Paul Arulsamy D.D., the Bishop of Kumbakonam, in the presence of Rev. Fr. Franz Xavier Dirnberger CMF and Rev. Fr. George Nedumpalakunnel CMF on 8th December 1986. The house was renovated in 2003.

The minor seminary program consists of three years with one year of orientation and two years of higher secondary education at Little Flower Higher Secondary School, Kumbakonam. So far, 616 students have passed through this stage till 2020. Another social initiative of the Province of Chennai in this modern era is to Start “MANITHAM” (Anti-Addiction Centre) at Kumbakonam, which is in the process.