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    Welcome to Carmelite Monastery, Margao, Goa     

L'ar De Santa Teresa

A BRIEF HISTORY OF LAR DE SANTA TEREZINHA
- Fr. Archibald Gonsalves, ocd

It was way back in 1947, when India celebrated its Independence; Goa still continued to be under the Portuguese Rule. The city of Margao, saw the humble beginnings of the dawn of a new institution, namely, Lar de Santa Terezinha. Fr. Jose Marie a devout Carmelite priest, dedicated to the service of the poor and the marginalised, found an abandoned baby near the Carmelite Monastery at Malbhat. When no one was willing to take responsibility for this child, Fr. Jose Marie felt pity and entrusted this child to the care of a pious woman and asked her to nurse the child. Later a couple of other abandoned children were gathered from the city of Margao and were entrusted to the care of this lady. Fr. Jose Marie regularly visited these chi
ldren and also provided them with necessary funds for their maintenance. When the number of children increased, in the year 1959 a piece of property was donated for this by Hospicio to carry out this noble task. Since all properties of the religious had to be under the Archdiocese, this property was registered under the diocesan society. Fr. Jose Marie raised necessary funds and took up the construction of the buildings piece by piece, year after year. Eventually it took the name "Lar de Sta Terezinha" with St. Therese of Lisieux as its Patron Saint.

The Carmelite Tertiaries (Women) volunteered to take care of these children. These women made private promises and were called religious nuns, they wore a typical Carmelite habit and they belonged to the Carmelite Society of Margao. Lar was maintained with the funds received from the local donors. Fr. Jose Marie took total responsibility to provide for these children. He also spent quality time with these children educating them even when it was not appreciated by his own fellow Carmelite friars. By the year 1972 there were already a large number of children at Lar. After the untimely demise of Fr. Jose Marie, Sr. Maria Christina (Antao), popularly known as Irma, took responsibility for this house and the care of the children. There were a couple of other women who assisted her. Now it was the turn of Sr. Maria Christina to raise funds for the maintenance of Lar by going from house to house. People today recall her sitting in front of Bom Jesus Basilica in Old Goa during the feast to collect money for the maintenance of Lar.

Sr. Maria Christina and her companions, namely, Sr. Teresinha Rodrigues, Sr, Rita Rosa Martin, Sr. Cicilia, Sr. Elizabeth, Sr. Theodolin. Sr. Felicia, Sr. Philomena and Sr. Euguene raised these children with great love and affection. When they came to a marriageable age, several were given in marriage. The children were brought up with good discipline and devotion. As the years rolled, Lar became well known in the whole of Goa. The Carmelite Fathers took care of the spiritual needs of this house, such as, offering daily mass, confessions, etc. Time to time, they too raised funds in support of Lar. Due to old age, when Sr. Maria Christina could not take control of the situation, she was really preoccupied with the future of Lar. Lar women and children were growing undisciplin
ed and they were even getting a bad name in the locality. Then she wrote a letter to Fr. Joe Tauro, the then Provincial of the Carmelites, asking him to take responsibility of Lar. Since the local community at Margao, expressed its unwillingness, he declined. Then without any other alternative, Sr. Maria Christina approached Most Rev. Philip Neri Ferrao, the Patriarch of Goa. Since it was a venture of the Carmelites, he too first approached the Carmelite Provincial, Fr. Dominic Vas, but finding no positive response, finally entrusted it to the care of "Caritas" Goa. Fr. Valerian Vas and Fr. Nevill Gracious took necessary steps to upgrade this institution and to bring in discipline. Caritas took the help of Maria Bambina Charity sisters to run Lar. Sr. Magdalene took up this herculean task with little success. But this move was opposed tooth and nail by the grown up women and children of Lar. They gathered local support, especially of Edna D'Souza and spread roumers that Lar is being shut down by the Caritas.

At this juncture, just after a span of two year, the Patriarch of Goa once again approached the then Carmelite Provincial Fr. Archibald Gonsalves. At the behest of Fr. Diego Proenca, he agreed to take up Lar ad experimentum for a period of two years and entrusted it to the care of the newly ordained priest, Fr. Alvito Fernandes, who left no stone unturned to stabilize Lar. He managed to put the house in order. He even succeeded in dismissing some of the unruly women at Lar. A Management committee was established under the guidance of the Patriarch of Goa, consisting of Fr. Archibald Gonsalves (Provincial); Msgr. Joseph D'Silva (Episcopla Vicar); Fr. Valerian Vas (Caritas, Goa); Mr. Alfredo Antao; Mrs. Dorothy Fernandes and Fr. Alvito Fernandes (Director, Lar). They met regularly and guided the functioning of Lar. At the end of two years, Fr. Archibald Gonsalves, the Provincial agreed to take up responsibility of Lar permanently. Accordingly an agreement was signed between the Archdiocese of Goa and the Carmelites of the Karnataka Goa Province.

As for the new regulations of the Government, in the year 2009, the Women and Child organization served a notice to Lar, asking an immediate bifurcation of Lar as Children's home and Lar Shelter for Women. As per the rule, no girl above the age of 18 could be accommodated with the children. To meet with this requirement, the children were moved to Emmaus, Mapuca to attend school at St. Xavier's High school, Mapuca. The local community at Avila Jyothy, with Fr. Diego Proenca shouldered the responsibility of taking care of these children at Emmaus. This move gave Fr. Alvito to reorganise Lar. He shouldered the responsibility of constructing a new edifice for the children's home. A plan was drawn and the construction work commenced. Funds were raised from donors in and around Margao. Fr. Alvito went as far as Mira Road, Mumbai to raise funds. The Province contributed to the tune of 25 lakhs for the construction. Due to ill-health, since, Fr. Alvito was transferred to Ryshivana, Mangalore, the last stage of the finishing work was taken up by Fr. Anthony D'Souza and Fr. Joseph D'Souza. On 10 June 2013, the new building of Lar was inaugurated by Fr. Archibald Gonsalves, and the house was blessed by the Patriarch of Goa, in the presence of a large number of donors, friends and well-wishers.

Though the building was inaugurated, the separation of children from the grownups was not easy. The CCR Sisters (Carmelite Religious of the Pune Province) were requested to take up the day to day management of Lar. With much hesitation they agreed. The children were now moved to the new building, but due to the constant interference of the grown up women, who still wanted to possess these children, the nuns could not manage the children's home. After a span of three months the CCR nuns moved out of Lar. Then the children were moved to Nuvem Holy Rosary Hostel and some to the home managed by Sr. Rita at Nuven. They all attended the Holy Rosary High School. A couple of girls were also sent to Rivona. Then a couple of girls who had completed their higher secondary in Goa were sent to Mysore to pursue their graduation at the Teresian College, Mysore. The fathers at Dhyanavana, were their immediate guardians. This continues even today, when there are girls in Mysore pur
suing both secondary and graduation at the Teresian College.

In the year 2014, when the new community took up the responsibility at the Margao Monastery, Fr. Archibald Gonsalves was appointed its director. The community decided to bring the children back to Lar. The dilapidated old building of Lar was separated into two parts, namely, one for the Shelter Home and another for the Children's home. When this work was completed, the children were brought back to Lar and their independent residence was inaugurated on 19 April 2015, in presence of the Margao Community, donors, guests, etc. For the day to day running of Lar, it was entrusted to the care of Sr. Therese Pereira and Grescilda. Similarly, the Shelter Home was entrusted to the care of Philomena Fernandes and Karma Fernandes. For the academic year June 2015, 9 children were admitted to Adarsh V. V High School, Pajifond, Margao, one child with special needs was admitted at Daddy's Home Gogol and one at Nitya Seva Niketan (Helpers Mary Sisters), Rivona. We would like to place on record the hard work of Fr. Joseph D'Souza, who assisted the new Director, in the restoration and repair of Lar and also documentation to register Lar both as Children's Home and Shelter Home. Meanwhile efforts were put in to regularise the property documents of Lar and also to get occupancy certificate for the new building. Since, Lar was officially recognised as the unit of Carmelite Monastery Goa Society, with registered No. 8/Goa/1998, (Reg Act 1860) the Society forwarded its funds for the repair and maintenance of the same.

The application for registration was filed with the head office of "Women and Child Organization" in 20 April 2015. Then on 19 May 2015, the team came to inspect the Shelter Home for grown up women and on 7 July 2015 a team of 8 women came to inspect the Children's home. They were satisfied with the infrastructure and they gave necessary guidelines for smooth functioning of this institution. They also promised immediate registration and help for the maintenance of both these institutions.

Meanwhile, due to the resistance of the women at Lar to move in the new edifice, the new building remained vacant. Therefore, it was temporarily given to a religious group called "Crusaders" with an 11 months agreement dated 21 February 2015, to conduct their spiritual activities only.

Francis hails from Delhi. He lost his parents in tragic circumstances. Now he is employed at Lar. His birthday celebrated on 30th June, 2017 at the monastery

     

  

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The birthday of Fr. Archie the Superior was celebrated on July, 8th by Lar children along with all the associations. Then on 9th Sunday, with the people at the 8.45 mass. Then on 10th with the father's of the Goa region

                 

              

                    

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Feast of St. Joseph was celebrated at Lar on 20th March. Fr. Mazarello celebrant and Fr. Archie preached.

        

        

     

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Residents of Lar, Margao and the Carmelite brothers watched the UBA finals, on 15th March, at the Panjim indoor stadium.

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Lar girl Suzanne married to Vincent on 27th in Puttur. The children had a picnic to Manasa.

        

  

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Lar Girls Celine and Natasha received the sacrament of confirmation on 13th February at the Holy Spirit Parish. In the evening three was a reception

     

     

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Lar girl Suzanne got engaged in Mangalore at Carmel Hill with Vincent, a boy from Puttur, on 28th January, 2017 @ 3.00pm. The ceremony solemnised by Fr. Prakash D'Cunha, OCD

           

        

  

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Definitor General Rev. Dr. Johannes Gorantla visited the Carmelite Monastery on 22nd October. He was welcomed by the community along with OCDS and Lar members

           

            

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A proud moment for Lar.
Lar Girl Sheena Gracias was one of the 17 all Goa Finalists. Fathers, Postulants and Lar Girls Participated in the event on 14th August 2016 at Ravindra Bhavan.

    

  

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Lar Girl Daniella awarded for highest marks in SSLC by SHM sister Provincial Sr. Rohini
     
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Lar Girls Laveena and Marita at Sea Cathedral Annual Cicilian Concert 2016
           

           
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Lar Girl Marita's Wedding
                 

     
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O U R   T E A M


Fr. Archibald Gonsalves


Fr. Michael M. Shenoy


Fr. Jossey Rodrigues


Fr. Mark Furtado


Fr. Noel D'Cunha


Fr. Joseph D'Souza


Br. Malvino


Br. Maurice Fonseca