Track Theresa's Travels in India


Theresa has traveled to India for a nine-week trip (June 24 - August 19, 2022) traveling approximately 15,000 miles of which 6,000 will be land miles. She will be in the very place of where Fr. Paul’s Mission takes place.

JUNE 24, 2022 

Arrival at Provincial house in Bhopal

(after a 17-hour flight) - 3 day stay


View from the rooftop of the Provincial House in Bhopal; a city of about 6 million people predominantly Hindu

The washing system - semi automatic

The clothes dryer

Shower system - fill the bucket and use the cup

Hot water at the provincial house



JUNE 25, 2022

Sunday morning meeting with some of the priests at the Provincial House in Bhopal

Fr. Paul 

Fr. Thomas Therattil, Director of Haven of Hope, the orphanage we support.

Fr. Justin Akarra - the Provincial of the CMI order in Bhopal Province 

Bhopal - You can see the sacred cows wander freely in the streets.


JUNE 27, 2022

Arrival at the Bodhni Novitiate House - for a 10 day stay


The Budhni Novitiate House is located about 1.5 mile from the main monastery in Bhopal. Houses like this are called "ashrams" which is another word for monastery. Here there are ten young men ranging in age from 19-33. Most are ages 19 through 21 but one older man is here as a transfer from a cloistered monastery. The young men here have finished their high school level educations and are now spending two years as novices in a novitiate house. The first year is primarily still education regarding various forms of prayer, history of the Carmelite Order, yoga, chant, etc. Much time is spent in prayer an deverything is well-regulated. The second year which will begin in December is a time of great silence and interior prayer - almost like a year-long silent retreat. 

Fr. Paul and Fr. Sebastian (They leave the next day)
Fr. Sebastian oversees the garden work and the farm work with rabbits, etc.

Aljo Joy, one seminarian whom Theresa has known for three years.

Chapel floor, they sit on floor cushions.

Front entrance of Novitiate House

Grotto - they have a  nightly visit there.

Novices are learning volleyball

Firewood for cfooking - most food is cooked over wood

The private well but water is not safe to drink. Here there is a reverse osmosis system; other it must be boiled. 

JUNE 28, 2022

Theresa's current class. She is having three one-hour classes per day: two in the morning in Latin and English instruction and one music class in the afternoon. Theresa says,"Some speak English quite well, three are struggling with English. We are learning to read Latin, doing some sign language to support their English learning and working on producing good enunciation in English. I use some manual English (signed Exact English) and also some visual phonics which they can easily understand. 

The years of Novitiate training is set aside as a time to grow spirtually without interruptions from the outside world. Teachers come in cycles here to present various classes. Thisis a function that I am fill at this time. There are three ordained priests serving at this house: an older priest who was Fr. Paul's own novice Master - Father Sabastian; the current novice master, Father Ando who has returned from university teaching in Bangalore; and a young, newly ordained priest, Father Tisen. Fr. Sebastian oversees the garden work and the farm work with rabbits, etc. Fr. Ando is the spiritual father of all of the novices in giving them the daily care and direction that they need. Fr. Tisen does most of the driving and errands for this community and also says Mass and hears confessions at a nearby novitiate house for young women. 

The novices are disciplined. They do not have cell phones. They do not make contact with their families during this two year period except at the end of the year when they receive their Carmelite habits. This is during a ceremony called First Vestition and it always take place on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Typical local huts - these are actually quite nice.

Everywhere the sacred cows are free to roam.

Village shops

"One of our novices, Majo, is in charge of guests."

"Every morning, Majo brings me coffee before Mass. As St. FrancisDeSales said, 'Ask for nothing, refuse nothing.' So that is my new mantra. That early coffee saves me! I am not accustomed to being waited on but serving guests is part of the novitiate training so the priests told me to accept their help."

6:00 am morning prayer (Note drums on far right)


JUNE 30, 2022

Sitting outside with some of the novices enjoying the cool air. It has been very hot (at least for me) and lovely, cooling rains have been falling all morning. 

Aljo on the right is wearing a traditional dhoti, common dress for men in India. William Vilouni (far right in back) is from Manipur state which borders China. Suresh (green shirt) is from tribal Maharaja. The rest are from Kerala, Fr. Paul's home state. 

One of the novices, Runra, now known as John, is 20 years old. He comes from the state of Orissa. He is a former Hindu, converted to Catholicism. In 2008, many Christians in Orrissa were martyred by extreme Hindus. He is a truly amazing young man. 

Stained glass made by one of the resident novices.

Monsoon have started, rain coming in torrents. Nothing can stop the volleyball game. 

Suresh from Maharaja practicing the harmonium for morning prayers.



Alfa, Alijo Joy and Suresh getting ready to provide music for Mass. The harmonium is a bit like an accordion -  they pump with the left hand and play the keys with their right hand. All is done by ear and not with note reading. 

Rudra (John) setting up for Mass. 

"Not all formal work; we have some downtime as well. I have three one-hour classes every day and then two hours open for tutoring. Prayer time and Mass are approximately four hours. I keep busy."


JULY 2, 2022



They pray the Rosary with arms voluntarily extended. 

Cooler with rain every day and lots of mosquitoes.


Front of the Novitiate House

Surroundings and Vegetation

There is a patich of buffalo grass in the courtyard - this man cuts it by hand with a small hand sickle.

Tapioca plants

Passion fruit vines


Mango tree


Meat rabbits

Meat rooster

Sleeping area - "My bed complete with mosquito net which you pull down at night!"


Siril from Kerela - Fr. Paul's home state. He is 25 and a Civil Engineer.

Alfa from Kerala

Jestin from Kerela. "He is one of my former Skype students from since 2020."

Ajeet from Jharken, a heavily predominant tribal culture. 

Vilouni from Manipur which borders China. "One my former students as well."

Jeetu, 33 years old and a transfer from a cloistered community. He is only three years from Ordination. A talented artist.

Majo from Kerala; "My right hand here!"

Aljo Joy from Kerela. "One of my former students."

The stunning crucifix in this photo was created by Jeetu (his is in a previous photo). It has the depiction of the vine and the branches - all done in styrofoam and painted. 

Note: The tabernacle is the round gold disc on the right. 

"This beautiful young man is Ruda (John). He is a Hindu convert from the untouchables (Dalit) caste. He is so sincere and holy. He was telling me about the numerous martyrs from his state and how as a child he was not allowed to touch anything that other children used. Even food!"

Only among Christians in India are the untouchables equal. Pope Francis just named one Dalit Catholic Cardinal! What an elevation from being an untouchable!

JULY 7, 2022 


Bishop Clemens Seminary (aspirants) 


"This is my current group! They are still completing their high school studies so they attend the Catholic school next door. Tomorrow, I will begin teaching English 11 in that school. Normally, Fr. Akhil teaches that class. The class will include 12 aspirants and other students from the village as well. Pray that I will not lead them into desctruction!"

"Here is our first photo - they are wearing their school uniforms. They attend Bishop Clemens School of Excellence (BCSE) which is an English medium school so English is used for all classes except, of course, Hindi."

Another photo inside of the seminary building itself.

"This group is all from Fr. Paul's province, Stl Paul's Province in Bhopal. I believe there are a total of 15 CMI provinces in India. My first group (novices) were from several different provinces, three from Bhopal province. So this group is one that our parishes support financially."


"This is my second batch - aspirants at Bhamori"

"I am teaching some high school level English Classes at Bishop Clemens School (grades 1-12) while I am here as the aspirants attaend school from 8:30-2:30pm. I begin their classes after the school day. Most of the students who attend this Catholic school are Hindu and have never seen a foreign person before. They speak very limited English. It gives me extra exposure to the culture here."

"Classrooms are very 'old school,' two to three students share a desk; no computers or smart boards. The students remain in the classroom, teachers shift. Each teacher carries their own supplies, including chalk. School goes until 2:30pm and then they leave to eat and study at home. No school lunch!"


JULY 8, 2022

Traffic jam in India. Sacred cows have full rights on the roads. Hitting one results in jail time. 



This family is pumping their water!

Typical village dwellings.

Village streets complete with cows. One cow is thought by Hindu belief to contain over 30 million goddesses.

Village tea shop on a typical village street. 

Main Street market. 

Another scene of village shops.

Sisters of St. Martha and some of their young aspirants. Three of these sisters teach at Bishop Clemens school. "They insisted that I wear my hat! This hat is attracting much attention. Foreign people are rare in this part of India."


JULY 9, 2022

Seminary at Bhamori

Bishop Clemens school where CMI aspirants attend. 

Teachers' residence at the school. 

View of the seminary in Bhamori.

Bansiewdor and Albin hard at work on the gardens - today is Bansiewdor's 17th birthday. 

Antony, aged 16 - one of our musicians. 

Tapioca plants! Tapioca is a root vegetable. Here they eat it steamed or in a curry. 

A group doing garden work in the tapioca garden. 

Planting seeds - type of squash. 
Sending their greetings! It's Saturday and they are all at work in the gardens. 


JULY 10, 2022


"We had a bit of a monsoon storm in the night and power has been out for the past 12 hours. Life goes on; school with no electronic devices goes on. Here students study hard for state exams because if they don't pass them, they repeat the entire year. For girls, grades 11 and 12 (called plus 1 and plus 2) are free but all boys in those grades, including government schools are required to pay fees. The thought is the girls will promote education in their families while boys will not. Different way of thinking. 

Fees run at around $200 American dollars per year. All grades 11-12 students are divided into 4 categories: 1) Business and Commerce; 2) Bio and Chemistry; 3) Maths; 4) Humanities and Political 
Science. "


JULY 11, 2022

This morning I taught two 9th grade English classes at the school and an 11th grade English. I shall be teaching this all week. 

The English lanquage level are low; much higher among the aspirant seminarians but they work very hard to learn English."


Note the straight lines of students. 

This kind woman cleans for the three priests who live here. Note her jewelry and paint marks on her face. The red mark near her hair line is her marriage status. The dot between the eyes is the "bindi" or third eye. 

"Our Hindu cook. He tries very hard to fix me special food although I don't require or request. Just his habit of hospitality"

Guess who!
(Fr. Paul and Theresa)


JULY 12, 2022

"Cows are staked out on the school soccer (football) playing field. These two cows supply the milk for priests and aspirants at the seminary and for the teachers living in the teachers hostel. All milk is used just for tea and coffee. It is boiled. They also heavily sugar the coffee and tea. No one drinks milk as we do. FYI - I packed my own coffee packets!"


JULY 13, 2022

"I am winding down here as I will leave on Friday to go to Fr. Paul's place. The schedule has changed a bit due to one house of aspirants needing to move into a new building so I will be with Fr. Paul for a longer time. It has been a busy but rewarding time here. Definitely a poorer village as the electric grid cannot yet support AC and the power goes off every day for long periods of time. They are short a teacher at the school so I have been filling in. Really makes me appreciate our modern conveniences. There is not even chalk unless I bring my own. Some students have no books because they cannot afford to buy them so they try to look on with another student." 

"I leave tomorrow for Kareli; that situation will be different. I will be staying two days at a yoga center. One of the priests run a retreat center for Chiristians/Hindus/Muslims. I have visited it in the past and wanted to learn more of Christian yoga as it isn't really used in the western church." 

"I watched the seminarians play soccer (football)last night in bare feet and dodging cow pies. They are a might force!  Definitely their best sport!  They really use their heads in this sport and not for reasoning!"

Fr Akhil (left) rector here and Fr. George (superior). One more priest is here also, Fr. Seby, school principal. 

Group photo after early Mass today. 

Early morning prayers video (click photo)


JULY 14, 2022

Vice Principal Sr Lisjo therese and one of the Science teachers. It was his birthday today - 26 years old. 

"One of my ninth grade English classes. 

The other ninth grade class. 

A ninth grade student.

Another ninth grade student.

"Tiny bananas are in season; they appear at every meal. Using my finger as a size guide."

"My grade 11 class. These were really great kids. Hindi is their main language and they work very hard to learn English."

JULY 15, 2022


Travel to where Fr Paul lives - Kareli

The chapel at the priests' residence in Kareli where Fr Paul lives.

There are four Franciscan sisters here as well (on the left in peach colored saris).

Franciscan nuns at this mission station. There is a school here with 1600 students. Carmel school named after Our Lady of Mt Carmel. Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Mt Carmel. There will be a school program. School is held every day except Sunday. On Saturday, there are various school programs tabs a bit more relaxed schedule. 


JULY 16, 2022



Another little dancer.

Everyone needed to get into the picture. 

Fr Melvin, administrator here. Newly ordained. 

"The honored guest! Getting a bit too much attention."

"Just exactly my personality - a public speaker! I think not!" 





Onions and garlic at Fr Paul's place. The priests here raise most of thei rown food; milk, eggs, chicken, rabbit meat and a multitude of fruits and vegetables. 

                                     Happy Carmel Day

These beautiful chasubles were a gift from Fr Kevin in honor of Our Lady of Mt Carmel. As today is her feast day, they were used for the first time. The priests remarked on how beautiful they are. Very fine fabric and top quality work. "Thank you, Fr Kevin."

For Fr Kevin in USA; Fr Paul is sending a marble chalice and paten in thanksgiving for the beautiful chasubles of Our Lady of Mt Carmel. 

Family transport; common sight to see four on one scooter. 

JULY 18, 2022 - Arrived in Parosia

Parosia is where the home for children with disabilities is located. Taking a short rest and will see the kids after school. 

"No comfortable mattresses here! This is my bed at the orphanage."

Fr Thomas Therattil, director of Haven of Hope in dining room. 

One shot - a few of the kids from orphanage. You can see the malformed legs and feet. 

This sweet boy runs with his single leg. He is in the 3rd grade. 

The bus which we provided for these children to be able to attend school a few miles away; otherwise, they had to go by rented 3-wheel vehicles. 


JULY 19, 2022

The following are photos of a variety of physical birth defect issues from Ashikiran.

This beautiful little 12-year old boy has many birth defects to deal with. He is a bright and intelligent little guy who speaks English very well. 


JULY 20, 2022

Kids will be kids regardless of disability. (VIDEO)


JUNE 21, 2022

Another CMI school about 10 miles from here. This is a very large school with 3000 students. Very few Catholic students! This is Fr Shepherd, from Fr Paul's community. 

Chapel and some of the Franciscan nuns at Kareli where Fr Paul lives. He has another parish about an hour's drive from here where he is pastor as well. 


JULY 22, 2022

Mass is typically celebrated with the priests seated throughout the whole Mass at a very low altar. Vestments are considerably different!

Taking some 12th grade classes today. 

JULY 23, 2022

"I gave a presentation to the teachers today at Kareli Carmel school."
(Fr Paul is the superior in Kareli. There are two other priests here as well. Fr Varghese is the school principal and Fr Kelwin is the financial administrator here.)

"The teachers presented me with gifts of jewelry."

"Out with the priests for a nice dinner."

The priests at Kareli where Fr Paul is the superior.

JULY 24, 2022

"Today I head to Carmel Ashram in Sagar for another batch of aspirants-13 whom I haven't met. I only get 24 hours with them but enough for an initial meeting then we will continue classes via Skype when I arrive home."