A vast majority of CMC Nirmala sisters are engaged in the apostolate of education through which process the young generation is formed in the integrity and freedom of Christ. The spirit of the Founder Father St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara was preserved and kept alive by the generations of sisters who entered the apostolate. The educational institutions and their history of growth are proofs of the same.At a time when there were neither definite rules nor guidelines with regard to the functioning of the schools from the Government, with clear motivations and within precise framework, CMC engaged herself in the educational field.
The first school of the Province is that of St. Mary's Convent CGHS Ollur which was started in 1900. Later as the number of schools increased, for the effective administration of the schools, School Council and Education Committee were organized in 1964. On 20th May 1966, the CMC Corporate Educational Agency -Management of Carmelite Congregation of Sisters came into existence. The CMC Educational Code formed in 1980-1982 and the Education Cell was instrumental in reforming the educational field.
Higher Education: Nirmala Province had pioneered into the field of Higher Education in 1946 by establishing St.Mary’s College, at the heart of Thrissur under the University of Madras and it was Kerala’s second women’s college. Thus the long cherished dream of a college for women bore fruit and history was made with the birth of the First Women’s College of Thrissur district. The College started with Degree Courses in Mathematics and Economics and Intermediate for Science and History. Sr.Mary Patience was the founder Principal. 1964 marked
the proud moment when the College extended its activities outside the district and started a sister institution, Mercy College, at Palakkad. Due to space constraint at St Mary’s College ,it was bifurcated and in 1967 Vimala College was established at Cheroor and the graduate and post graduate courses were shifted to the newborn Vimala College .
Nirmala Province extended her mission in the field of Higher Education by establishing another sister institution, Carmel College, at Mala a rural area about 30 kilometers from Thrissur town. The four Colleges were functioning under the CMC Educational Society. 1987 is another landmark year in the chronicles of Higher Education of the Province with the trifurcation of the College Management into three provinces - Palakkad, Thrissur and Irijalakuda due to the bifurcation of Thrissur Diocese. Now the two sister colleges, Vimala and St. Mary’s is being administrated by Nirmala Province Thrissur under CMC Educational Society.
As per the needs of the time both colleges have started new Graduate, Post Graduate, Vocational Degree, Diploma and Certificate Courses, Community Colleges and Research Centres. The infrastructure and educational resources have been consistently expanded to meet the growing academic requirements. Both College have made remarkable strides in curricular, co curricular and extracurricular activities to emerge as a centre of learning to be reckoned with in the higher education map of the country. All efforts are made to sustain and enhance quality through the synchronization of innovation, tradition founded on sound Christian values.
Besides providing value added courses, the colleges have institutionalized Value Education and Community Extension Services. As part of commitment to society, the colleges has implemented various extension activities to help the neighbourhood community. St Mary’s College had initiated Jubilee memorial ‘Kudumbashkemapadhadi ‘for the welfare of the local people in connection with the Silver Jubilee of the College. The Vimala Community Extension Centre (VCEC) is a registered society under the Government of India, Social Welfare Board. The FCC (Family Counselling centre) CHILDLINE, VICASS, Tailoring centre, and crèche & nursery function under the VCEC.
The colleges have very active Career Guidance and Placement Cell through which a good number of students are being placed every year. Sports is one of the strengths of the colleges and have to their credit five Olympians besides several other international stars. The College Teams have won the Calicut University overall Championships for many years. Vimala has an International Aquatic Academy with a main Swimming pool,Kid’s pool and Trainer’s pool which was financially supported by the UGC.
Now both the colleges have got NAAC Accreditation and Vimala College has been raised to Autonomous Status. Both the Colleges also came below the 100th position in the NIRF Rankings. St Mary’s and Vimala Colleges were sanctioned the DST – FIST Funding for the science departments. St Mary’s College is selected by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD} for two projects for the implementation of the scheme Unnath Bharath Abhiyan (UBA) one of the prominent programs for the development of the country.Vimala College is a mentor college in NAAC Paramarsh Scheme from 2018. It is also supported under DBT-STAR College Scheme. Both the Colleges are supported under RUSA (RASHTRIYA UCHCHATAR SHIKSHA ABHIYAN) by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.