Fr. Francis Vineeth Vadakethala


Fr. Francis Vineeth Vadakethala was born on 15 May 1935 as the fourth child of parents Lona and Thandamma at Kandasamkadavu St. Mary’s Forane Parish of Thrissur Archdiocese. Out of his siblings four of them were also called to consecrated life. In 1950, he joined the aspirants house at Elthuruth, and made the first profession in 1953 at Ampazhakad; he finished his ecclesiastical studies at Chethipuzha and Dharmaram College and was ordained a priest by Archbishop Joseph Parecattil in 1960.

Abundantly endowed with high intellectual acumen and photographic memory, Fr. Vineeth was dear to his teachers and friends alike. His vision was so sharp that he was taken to be a trailblazer in conceptualising and promptly answering questions. In the minds of those closely associated with him, he was an ever-shining icon on sublime thoughts and simple living.

Having gone abroad for higher studies, Fr. Vineeth took doctorates in philosophy and theology from Gregorian and Oxford Universities respectively. Then, he explored new domains of integration in religious consciousness, consecrated life, and inculturation of Catholic life in the Indian context. Soon after his priestly ordination, Fr. Vineeth was assigned to teach seminarians at Dharmaram College, which he continued during and after his doctoral research till he founded Vidyavanam Ashram, Bengaluru, in 1996. Apart from being a professor of philosophy and theology, lecturing in India and abroad, Fr. Vineeth was a renowned retreat preacher and was in the frontline in the movement for the inculturation of Christian faith in India.

Fr. Vineeth shines as an icon of peace which could be noticed in his pleasant and welcoming presence. The mental peace of a Sthithaprajna that he enjoyed was ever evident in his conversation with others. Those who contacted him returned with an impression of having met one from whom divine peace emanated.

Having voracious reading habit, his materials varied from religion to nature, from humanity to divinity, and from the Bible to Vedanta. His philosophy and theology covered all good things in all religions. The depth of his interiority and width of his spirituality were unfathomable. He synchronized the various philosophical and theological ideas in such a way that he could see the divine presence in everything: in nature and more so in human beings, which enabled him to respect others.

Given his serene and composed demeanour and the virtue of discipline, he imbibed the ways of an ever-evolving world with the charm and agility to go ahead of the times. His vision was deeply rooted in glorious legacy of St. Chavara in constructing a Beth Rauma, for prayerful religious life. He successfully fulfilled it in Vidyavanam Ashram at Bengaluru. His philosophical and theological mind made him a doyen of seminary professors and enabled him to publish more than 15 learned books and over a hundred scientific articles.

Fr. Vineeth excelled in the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Holy Mother helped him in various ways. Once he was physically attacked by an anti-social couple on his way. Then he resorted to Mother Mary’s help, which made him escape from the trouble triumphantly. He was keen to celebrate our Lady’s feasts and breathed his last on the eve of Mary’s Visitation feast so that he may sing the blooming lines of Magnificat in heaven.

Though Fr. Francis Vineeth was formally ascribed to Bharathamatha Ashram, Palakkad, he was residing at Preshitharam, Mannuthy, for last three years, availing appropriate treatment from hospitals at Thrissur. In his old age, he faced a few health hazards; and, finally, it was due to Covid-19 that he left us on 30 May 2021 at Amala Hospital, Thrissur. Next day his body was cremated at Kuriachira and his remains were taken to Preshitharam, Mannuthy, where the first part of funeral ceremony was conducted, officiated by Fr. Saju Chackalackal, Provincial. His Grace Mar Andrews Thazhath and His Excellency Mar Tony Neelankavil and Fr. Davis Panackal CMI, Devamatha Provincial, offered prayers with the community.

In the evening, the remains were brought to Bharathamatha Ashram. On 1 June 2021, in the morning, many CMI members joined the community in prayer, observing Covid-19 protocol. At 2 pm, the second part of funeral rites started and Requiem Mass followed, which officiated by Fr. Josey Thamarassery CMI (Vicar General). The co-celebrants were Fr. Saju Chackalackal (Provincial, Preshitha Province), Fr. Davis Panackal (Provincial, Devamatha Province), Fr. Johnson Valiyakulathil (Vicar Provincial, Preshitha Province) and Fr. Rupert Panikulam (Prior, Bharathamatha Ashram, Palakkad). In his homily, Fr. Anto Vattakuzhy highlighted Fr. Vineeth’s simplicity, truthfulness, integrity, mystical leanings, and great initiations into ashram life with its basis in the Indian-Christian ethos. The last part of the funeral rites was officiated by Mar Jacob Manathodath, Bishop of Palakkad. The remains were interred in Bharathamatha cemetery.

May Fr. Francis Vineeth live dynamically in the Divine Presence, as he would continue to inspire and challenge many through various virtues and qualities he expressed in his glorious life.


15-05-1935 Earthly Entry
15-10-1953 Religious Profession (CMI)
17.05.1960 Priestly Ordination
30.05.2021 Heavenly Entry (His mortal remains are interred at Bharathamatha Ashram, Chandranagar, Palakkad, Kerala)

Academic Formation
1965 Licentiate and Ph.D. in Philosophy: Gregorian University, Rome
1975 Ph.D. in Theology: Oxford University, UK
1978 Research Studies at the University of Munich (Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst)

1974-1975 Fordham University, Bronx, New York, USA
1965-1970 &
Professor of Philosophy and Theology, Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore, India
1975-1980 Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Dharma
1979-1985 Vice-President of Dharmaram Pontifical Institute, Bangalore
1985-1988 Dean, Faculty of Philosophy, Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore
1988-1991 President, Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore
1992 University of Tuebingen, Germany: Summer Semester
1996 Founded Vidyavanam Ashram, Bhoothanahalli Village, Bannerughatta, Bengaluru