Mother Chantal (Philomina Vallayil) was born on 23 December 1880 to Mathew and Mariamma at Champakulam. From her young age, she was impelled by a desire to love the Lord with her whole heart and give herself in service of the poor and needy. She had taken a firm decision right from her childhood which she kept intact till her death that she would not cause pain to Jesus or Mother Mary. Showing deep interest in spiritual activities, she attended daily Mass and was an active member of the Sodality of our Lady. Though she wanted to fulfill her desire to serve the humanity by becoming a Religious, she was forced by the family to give consent for her marriage. But, within a short time, she became a widow and returned to her own home in Champakulam.
God in His providence had prepared Philomina Vallayil to receive the very special gift of Eucharistic love. She spent her widowed days at home in silence, solitude, prayer and penance, cherishing and nurturing her desire to dedicate herself to God and His children. The unexpected encounter with Fr. Thomas Kurialacherry at Kalloorkatt Church opened a new way for her and it filled her with strength and inspiration. She found in him a spiritual guide who would lead her to her real destination.
Fr. Thomas Kurialacherry also was aware that a leader or collaborator was essential to lead and guide the young congregation he had in his dream. From his meeting with Philomina, he knew that she was the right person to fulfill what he had planned from the Perpetual Adorers chapel in Rome. Mother Chantal was a deeply religious woman and that was the source of her extra ordinary courage and strength. During the formation period, the Founder become aware of her motherly love, courage, strength and determination that were essential for keeping up with the demands of a new congregation. On 23rd January 1903, she left her house as directed by Fr. Thomas and spent a year with the Clarist sisters at Changanacherry where she pursued her school level studies. Later while continuing studies at Mutholi, she had about 17 children under her care, accompanying her. They were the first candidates in the congregation. Six of them received veil on 8th December 1908, which resulted as the foundation of the Adoration Congregation.
Later on in her life, Mother Chantal had to face many more trials and tribulations, which she silently endured and joyfully accepted to identify herself with the ‘Suffering Servant of Yahweh’. But all those were ample manure from which the congregation was able to take great leaps in its forward journey. Mother was never seen complaining or irritated or criticizing, but always bowed her head in submission repeatedly ejaculating ‘Glory to God’.
The last days of Mother Chantal witnessed the depth of her physical suffering too. She was called to her eternal abode on 25th May 1972. Mother Chantal was a heroic woman in all aspects especially in her suffering and determination. During her lifetime itself she used to make children pray and she interceded for their intentions which made people draw to her tomb after her death. People come to her tomb in large groups from far and wide. Her intercession is mainly sought after by young ladies for getting married and by pregnant ladies for having a normal delivery.