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Most Rev. Clemens Thottungal

Bishop Clemens was born at Kandassankadav, in the district of Trichur, Kerala on 16 April 1909. He was the fifth child of Mr. Mathew and Mariam. They had 12 children, but only nine survived – six sons and three daughters. Of these three became priests and two Carmelite nuns. He was baptized on 24 April 1909 and was given the name Paul. In religion he took the name Clemens. He made his First Profession on 14 September 1930 and Final Profession on 14 September 1933. He did his major seminary studies at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Mangalore. He was ordained priest on 24 November 1938 by Bishop Victor Fernandes. His first appointment was as secretary to Fr. Bartholomew, Prior General of CMI Congregation. He also taught Canon Law in the scholasticate of the congregation at Chethipuzha. On 4 May 1947 he was appointed prior at Thevara and on 24 April 1950 prior at Alua. Soon afterwards when an Apostolic Visitor was appointed for the congregation by the Holy See Fr. Clemens was selected to serve him as secretary. When the congregation was divided into three provinces, on 2 March 1953 Fr. Clemens was elected as the first provincial of the Devamatha Province, Trichur. During his tenure of office he established the Pontifical Shrine at Azhikode, Christ College, lrinjalakuda and Devamatha Provincial house Trichur.

He was re-elected provincial on 10 April 1956. During this time he started the region of Coimbatore. After completing the second term of office as provincial he became the Regional Superior of Coimbatore. In 1962 at the age of 53, he was sent to USA for higher studies and he secured M. S. I. R. from the Loyola University of Chicago and returned home in 1964. He was appointed in Christ College for a brief spell of time. But in 1965 he was again elected provincial for the third time.

On 29 July 1968 the Exarchate of Sagar was established by the decree “Quo Aptius” and he was appointed as the first Exarch. He formally took charge on 1 November 1968. On 26 February 1977 the Holy See, by the decree “Divina Verba”, raised the Exarchate into a diocese appointing Msgr. Clemens as its first bishop. To serve the rural poor on 8 September 1980 he founded the religious congregation named “Sisters of Jesus’. After 19 years of faithful service in the diocese, on 22 February 1987 Bishop Clemens retired to Carmelashram in Sagar. He died on 15 September 1991 and was buried on 18 September 1991 behind the main altar of Sagar Cathedral.