St Joseph's Monastery was most ancient and the biggest of all indigenous religious congregation of India. The religious community is founded in 1831 through the initiatives of Malpan Thomas Porukara in collaboration with Malpan Thomas Palackal and Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara. It has been a centre for learning and the most important ecclesiastical centre of the Malabar church in 19th century. Mannanam was not merely the birth place of the first indigenous religious congregation, it was also the birth place of many other firsts: the first Indigenous seminary in the 19th century (1833), The first Catholic Sanskrit school (1846), the first catholic Printing press (1846), Mannanam was then developed in to a canonical religious institute by the year 1855 under the able leadership of Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara, The first catholic English school in Kerala (1874) The first Daily news paper in Malayalam language (1887), and the first printing of Syriac in Kerala.
The Church of the Monastery was completed in 1937. The Church was renovated in 1955 and again in 1996. The artistic gate in front of the Church facing the panoramic scene on the west was built in 1931 to commemorate the centenary of the foundation stone laid here on 11 May 1831.