Our lodestar is Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara (1805 - 1871), the founder of CMI, the first indigenous religious congregation in India. Instead of confirming his piety to the cloister, this great visionary distinguished himself as a social reformer, prolific writer and educationist. Though he hailed from a Syriac Christian family, which occupied a higher social status, he played a major role in educating and uplifting people especially of the lower ranks of society. He took the initiative to start an institution for Sanskrit studies at Mannanam, which was open to all, irrespective of cast and creed. He insisted on having at least one school attached to each church. As a result, the CMI congregation today has a large network of 643 educational institutions.