St Joseph's Press

St Joseph's Press

   

                             Fr. Chavara established a printing press in Mannanam foreseeing the spiritual, intellectual and cultural advantages and the progress which the press and publication would bring to the catholic community. This is the first printing press of the Catholics of Kerala. St Joseph’s Press was the third in Travancore, but was the first one to be set up under private ownership in the country in 1846. The establishment of these printing presses was no easy matter. The only printing establishments in Travancore at the time Fr.Kuriakose was trying for one where the Government press at Trivandrum and the CMS press at Kottayam. His enthusiastic pioneer went over to Trivandrum, so a press in working order studied its details and returned to Mannanam. He made models of what he had seen and got some local carpenters to fabricate one working model. It was not a mere model, while it was a wooden press and it worked.

                            The First printed document from Mannanam was a letter of spiritual exhortation wrote by Saint Chavara to his friends. The Vicar Apostolic of Verapoly Ludovic gave permission to translate the Tamil books printed at Puthussery Mission into Malayalam and to print them at the Mannanam press. In 1846 the first Malayalam prayer book ‘NjnanaPiyusham’ was published from the Mannanam press. Afterwards he published his Njnanaprajagaram (the vigil of the wisdom), GrahastaDharmodyanam (A garden of Family Moral Codes), and Njnana-nava-ratnam (Nine Jewels of Knowledge), Balanikshepam, Nithyaradhanaand so on. “Perpetual Adoration” was a great source of inspiration for thousands of people enabling them to grow in their spiritual life. It was not only a book of prayer, but also a book of religious education. Its first edition was released in 1875. The Deepika daily under the title NazraniDeepika(From 1887) and Karmalakusumam' magazine (from 1903) were published from the press. The first wooden press saint Kuriakose got built is preserved to this day as precious relic and a tribute to his skill, for sight, perseverance and patience