Mother Veronica of the Passion
Foundress of the Apostolic Carmel, 1823- 1906
Mother Veronica nee Sophie Leeves was born in 1823 in a pious, cultured English Anglican family. She was gifted with singular talents of mind and heart which were nurtured by sound education and wide travel.
In 1850, she embraced the Catholic faith and then responded generously to the call to religious life. She entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition in 1851, taking the name, Sister Mary Veronica of the Passion.
In 1862, she was sent to found a house of the Congregation at Calicut, India and there discovered an inner call to found a teaching Congregation of Active Carmelites to serve the need of faith formation through education of young girls of the West Coast of India. After facing many difficulties she founded the Apostolic Carmel at Bayonne, France in 1868 herself having first entered the Carmel of Pau, France.
The First group of sisters trained by her came to India in 1870 and were established in the Diocese of Mangalore. Circumstances forced her to re-enter the Carmel of Pau. She lived there a holy life of loving surrender to God until her death in 1906. "A generous person will be blessed a hundred times". Her life of generous sacrifice and prayer has indeed borne abundant fruit.
Today the Congregation that she founded has grown into a mighty tree and the sisters of the Apostolic Carmel run hundreds of educational institutions not only in India but also in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Africa and Rome. Her vision that "God Alone Suffices" has been kept afresh and green in the hearts of thousands of students through the joyful and dedicated service of the sisters in the field of Education. Her life becomes an example for us to follow in her footsteps to offer one's life in service of God and humanity, especially to the youth and the less privileged.