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MMB Assissi Provincial, Bhopal


It is a special blessing to the Congregation of the Malabar Missionary Brothers that they got Fr. Martin Malekudiyil OFM Cap, as their first Novice Master and co-founder. He was a holy priest filled with exemplary Christian virtues and Franciscan simplicity coupled with contagious goodness and love. Ulahannan (his baptismal name) was born on October 20th, 1910 of Ouseph and Anna Malekudiyil at Vazhakulam near Muvattupuzha. After High School studies he joined the Capuchin Order in 1932. After two years, he was admitted at Monte Mariano Seminary in Mangalore. He made his first Religious Vows in 1935. It was at this time that Ulahannan was changed into Martin. His Perpetual Vows and Priestly Ordination were on August 25, 1938 and April 2, 1941 respectively. It is noteworthy that his province appointed Fr. Martin as Assistant Novice Master in the very next year 1942, He continued in this ministry up to 1948. Meanwhile Fr. Zacharias Vazhapilly was seriously searching or a suitable Capuchin priest to take up the task of the Novice Master in the Congregation he was about to launch. Thanks to the generosity of the Capuchins, Fr. Martin was assigned to be the Novice Master of Malabar Missionary Brothers. On December 31st, 1949 he reached Thrissur to take up the new responsibility. The novitiate of the first batch of seven Brothers was started on October 4, 1950 at mission Home, Mariapuram. October 19, 1952 marked the canonical erection of MMB through the Religious Profession of the founding members. The steady flow of vocations showed that the future of the Congregation would be bright. But this glamour dwindled when the Bishop asked in 1956 not to receive new candidates. In this situation, the Provincial called Fr. Martin back to his community when the training of the fourth batch was going on. His departure on April 2, 1956 opened a period of uncertainty before the Brothers. Perhaps the Bishop was testing the perseverance of the beginners. However, after nine years, Bishop permitted to take new candidates. On the repeated request of Fr. Vazhapilly, the Capuchins again gave Fr. Martin to MMB to resume his task. The second terms of his service lasted from March 18, 1967 up to October 7, 1973. The year 1973 marked the 25th year of the foundation of MMB. Hence the Capuchins were of strong opinion that it is time for the Congregation to have its own formation personnel. That was the reason for the termination of Fr. Martin’s service. By being the ‘Guru’ of the first seven hatches of Brothers, Fr. Martin paved the basis of MMB Congregation. It was he who imparted them religious spirituality and lifestyle based on Franciscan ideals and traditions. More than his classes and exhortations, it was his holy life and paternal care that shaped his disciples. Mission Home Chapel was functioning as a semi-parish in those days. The catholic community around Mariapuram was enjoying the spiritual service of Mr. Martin. He knew each and every member of all those families. His love and pastoral care were much appreciated by all. So his death on July 29, 1979 was a day of mourning not only for the Brothers but also for all in and around Mariapuram. His burial place at Calvary Ashram, Poothole, Thrissur, Kerala, is now a place of pilgrimage for many.