With the permission of Bishop Maurelius Stabilini, the then Vicar Apostolic of Verapoly, they founded a religious house at Mannanam on 11 May 1831. Jacob Kanianthara who later became the first professed brother in the Congregation, co-operated with the founding fathers from the beginning. The name of the Congregation was ‘Servants of Mary Immaculate’.
Soon, some more priests and clerics joined the founding fathers and thus a small religious community took shape. On 8 December 1855, the religious Congregation was canonically approved and the first eleven fathers made their religious profession. Blessed Chavara, the only surviving founder, was appointed the first superior of the Congregation. Since, during the early period of the religious Congregation, the Vicars Apostolic of Verapoly were Carmelites, the Congregation had come under the Carmelite influence; hence, the rules of the Carmelites with some modifications were given to them in 1855. In 1860, the community was affiliated to the Order of Carmelites Discalced with the name, ‘Third Order of the Carmelites Discalced’ (TOCD). The Constitutions were approved ad experimentum by the Apostolic See in 1855. In 1958, the name was changed to ‘Carmelites of Mary Immaculate’ (CMI). The Congregation was granted pontifical exemption in 1967.
From the very beginning, the religious life in the Congregation was rooted in the Indian, Oriental and Carmelites spiritual traditions. Being contemplatives in action, the members engaged in such activities as the Church in Kerala was in need of at particular times. They preached retreats, conducted seminaries for the training of the local clergy, met the challenge of educating the training of the local clergy, met the challenge of educating the youth and disseminating Christian literature, laboured for the propagation of the faith and for the reunion of separated brethren, undertook works of mercy and started charitable institutions.