Beginning: a Vision and a Message
It was in 2008 that Aranyashram was begun at Paithalmala by Mr. Manuel Kollichira (Kunjettan) as a result of a vision and a message that he received during a prayer meeting in Sangli (MST mission region of MST) in which Fr. Jose Kalarickal MST was also present. Here a brief history of Aranyashram becoming Karunyashram is going to be presented.
Mr. Manuel Kollichira (Kunjettan) is the architect of Aranyashram. He was a resident of Chemperi and there he served as a catechism teacher for several years. Later he moved with his family to Kariappilly and settled there. He was always a religious minded person and a man of God experience. He became a very effective counselor at Mother Home Retreat Centre at Pariyaram. After serving there for some time he experienced an inner urge to take up the ministry of preaching. Then he went to Goa-Sangli areas for the purpose of preaching retreats. After conducting a few such retreats in those areas he and his wife stayed in one of mission stations of MST Sangli Mission for several days. During those days he led regular prayer meetings in which several lay people and priests participated. One of the priests present regularly for the prayer meeting was Fr. Joseph Kalarickal MST, who was also from Chemperi and whom Kunjettan had taught catechism as a boy. In one of such prayer meetings Kunjettan received a vision and a message.
In the vision he saw a big mountain on which there was a prayer centre where several people were coming for prayer. Together with the vision he received a message that he should begin a prayer centre on a mountain top. But it was not made clear to him on which mountain top he should begin the prayer centre. The vision and message were shared with the prayer group members and Fr. Jose Kalarickal actively encouraged and supported the idea. After further prayers and after discerning the meaning of the vision and message, it became clear to Kunjettan that God wanted him to begin the prayer centre at a suitable location on the mountain ranges of Paithalma in Kerala. Consequently he returned to Kerala and came to Moonnamkoop at Paithalamala which is within the borders of Pottanplavu parish in the archdiocese of Thalassery looking for a plot of land. There he saw a plot of land that he was looking for and he bought 3.5 acres of land there.
Prayer Centre and Nature Cure Centre: Aranyashram
After having purchased the land for a prayer centre as was suggested to him in the vision, he put up a small shed in order to start the prayer centre. He invited some of his friends to the prayer meeting and several people from far and near joined him in prayer meetings. In the course of those prayer meetings it dawned on him that God wanted the prayer centre to become a prayer and healing centre. Thus this prayer centre eventually became Aranyashram for prayer, holistic treatment and nature cure.
Kunjettan had a personal experience of the physical healing of his brother years ago and ever since then he had an inner inkling to make such physical healing available to more people. His actual life experience, vision and his great desire to do good to others led him to establish this nature cure and Ayurvedic treatment centre. For this purpose he got the help of a few others who were skilled in the field. Thus in Aranyashram he started to admit patients with various ailments, especially soriasis, autism, allergy, back pain, etc. and to give them nature cure therapy, soil therapy, water therapy with special medical diets and prayer. In the last eight years several hundred people have undergone treatment at Aranyashram and received physical healing and rejuvenation. Prayer, naturopathy, and Ayurveda are the three dimensions of the treatment here. As more and more persons started coming to this centre, more thatched-roof houses were put up at Aranyashram. Experts in massaging were brought to the centre and their massage therapy was added to the already existing other treatment methods.
Karunyashram, a New Apostolate of MST Fathers
The growing age of Kunjettan has forced him to hand over the centre to reliable hands who will faithfully continue this holistic treatment and prayer centre. Thus he has handed it over to MST Fathers and they took it over from Kunjettan on 10th November 2016 and its blessing and new birth in the hands of MST Fathers will take place on 20th December 2016 when His Grace Archbishop Mar George Njaralakkatt of Thalassery will bless the chapel and this centre renaming it as Karunyashram and will celebrate a solemn Qurbana there. MST has taken it over to run it as a centre of God’s mercy and compassion after the conclusion of the Year of Mercy. MST has already two priests there as Director (Fr. George Koorumullumpurayodam) and Administrator (Fr. Gracious Njaralakkattukunnel) respectively.
With a view to adding more facilities to this centre, MST has already purchased another plot of three acres with a house in the adjacent area. Separate facilities will soon be provided there for priests and sisters who seek treatment and healing at this centre. Kunjettan and the several employees including an Ayurvedic doctor, persons skilled in massage, and those specialized in soil treatment and water therapy will continue to render their services there. Soon one of the MST priests (Fr. Joy Muringayil) will complete his BAMS and join the treatment staff at Karunyashram. MST envisions this as one of its new ministries to perpetuate Jesus’ love and compassion in the present world.
Continuation of the Year of Mercy
The Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis was formally concluded on 20th November 2016 on the feast of Christ the King. But acts of mercy should not come to an end with the closing of the Door of Mercy at St. Peter’s Basilica of Vatican, says Pope Francis. According to the pope, the Christian life must be a life of mercy lived every day. Inspired by the words of the pope, St. Thomas Missionary Society is opening a House of Mercy (Karunyashram) at Paithalmala (Mountain of the Infant, i.e. Jesus), a famed tourist spot in northern Kerala in order to perpetuate Jesus’ acts of mercy.
Paithalmala, Mountain of Jesus
Paithalmala is part of Sahyaparvatham and at one of the mountain tops there, MST establishes its Karunyashram to impart God’s mercy in the form of healings and cures. In the Biblical tradition mountains have a special significance. It was at Mount Sinai that Yahweh revealed Himself to Moses and to the Israelites and established His Covenant with them. In the New Testament we see Jesus spending time in prayer on mountains (Lk 6: 12; 9: 28). It was to a mountain that Jesus called those whom he liked (Mk 3: 13) and chose them as his disciples. Jesus taught his disciples and the crowds sitting on a mountain (Mt 5: 1). Similarly, it was on a high mountain that three of his disciples experienced divine presence at the transfiguration of Jesus (Mt 16: 1). At Paithalmala MST establishes a house for those who would like to have God experience, to strengthen their commitment to Jesus as his disciples, and to hear the Word of God and learn from Jesus on a mountain top. Daily Eucharist and adoration at Karunyashram are means of spiritual nourishment together with physical healing.
Karunyashram, House of Mercy
Karunyashram is a house where one can experience God’s mercy in the form of cure and healing. The nature cure methods followed here at Karunyashram are strictly according to the principles of naturopathy and Ayurveda and are done by experts under the supervision of medical doctors. Various types of soil treatment, water therapy, massage, etc. are given to patients who get admitted at Karunyashram. The location of this treatment is highly conducive to quick healing and rejuvenation. This eco-friendly treatment and health centre run by MST Fathers is for everyone who needs physical and spiritual healing. Welcome to all of you to Karunyashram, Paithalmala.