Mother Veronica (Miss Sophie Leeves), Foundress of the Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel, Mangalore, was deeply religious and highly intellectual. She was English, the daughter of an Anglican Chaplain to the British Embassy at Constantinople. Born on October 1, 1823, she was received into the Catholic Church on February 2, 1850. A life of prayer and renunciation culminated in the dedication of her whole self to the education of youth in the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Apparition. On September 14, 1851, she became Sister Mary Veronica of the Passion, and the Cross had a large place in her life making her in truth, a victim She came out to India and at Calicut met the saintly Carmelite Bishop, Marie Ephrem, who guided her in her work of founding the Apostolic Carmel, a Congregation of Carmelite women devoted to teaching. She obtained the sanction of the Holy See and, leaving her own Congregation, she joined the Carmel of Pau, France, and then prepared a band of young girls, French, English and Irish, and sent them to India in 1870.
Three years later, when the Apostolic Carmel was firmly established on Indian soil, she returned to the Carmel of Pau, making the Apostolic Carmel the special object of her prayers and affection. In 1906, God called her to Himself, to reward her for her life of love, labour and sacrifice.
Updated on: [March 11, 2021]