|NEWS FROM AROUND
SIX YEAR PLAN SETS PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE
OF THE ORDER
The newly elected General
Council spent their first weeks together
developing the framework for a six year plan. The plan is being printed
and distributed to members of the Order along with the Final Message
of the General Chapter and a listing of the members of the Commissions of
The General Chapter, utilizing the theme "The Journey
Continues," was held September 4-21, 2001.
The Council met at the Curia residence in Rome from the
end of October until the middle of December. The usual appointments of
persons and commissions following a General Chapter were made. Much of the
time at these meetings focused on developing a plan to move the Order ahead
during the next six years.
The plan is based on the proposals approved by the
General Chapter, the provisions contained in the Order's Constitutions, and
on discussions of how to deal with the concerns raised. Divided into two
major parts, the first is entitled "The Spirit Enlivens Us on the Journey."
It gives a theological reflection about the journey.
The second part, "Setting Out On the Journey," outlines
specific tasks to be focused on in the various areas of the Council's
"While the six year plan presents a basic framework and
outlines the programs that the General Council has been mandated to deal
with, much of the General Chapter dealt with matters that are going to have
to be dealt with on the provincial, local community, and personal level,"
explained Joseph Chalmers, Prior General. "We have to make sure that the
members engage in reflection on these ideas. To bring that kind of
reflection about, the development of an overall plan is just the beginning."
The six year plan calls for leadership to continue
traditional means of raising awareness, such as visits, participation at
Provincial Chapters, commissions, assemblies of Major Superiors, and courses
of on-going formation. The General Council will focus on helping "the whole
Order to continue on the journey towards the holy mountain, which is Christ
the Lord" and live out those ideals written in the Order's documents.
However, the reality expressed throughout the document is
that any progress in the journey will require personal commitment and
conversion. It speaks of these as part of a process just begun. The document
also holds that these must take place on the personal level. "God constantly
calls us to conversion and to a pure heart so that we may learn to want that
which God wants, and so to live as God's children and citizens of God's
CARMELITE SISTERS OF OUR LADY BECOME A RELIGIOUS
The Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of Our Lady
celebrated their Canonical Erection as a Religious Institute of the Diocese
of Dumaguete in the Philippines on February 11, 2002.
The celebration included a Eucharist celebrated by the
Most Rev. John F. Du, the Bishop of Dumaguete. The Archibishop of Jaro, Most
Rev. Angel N. Lagdameo, was the homilist.
DIOCESAN APPROVAL OF CONGREGATION OF `SERIKAT PUTRI
KARMELl' (DAUGHTERS OF CARMEL IN INDONESIA
The Congregation of `Serikat Putri Karmel' (Daughters of
Carmel) was erected as a Congregaton with Diocesan Rights on February 2,
2002 by Msgr. H.J.S. Pandoyoputro, O.Carm., Bishop of Malang (Indonesia) in
The Congregation was founded in 1982 by Iohannes
Indrakusma, O.Carm. and developed its ministry of retreats, spiritual
exercises, and the spiritual formation of the young
On February 2, 2002, a Eucharist of Thanksgiving was
celebrated at the College of St. Peter the Apostle of Rome. Three sisters
present in Rome renewed their vows during this ceremony.
The entire Carmelite Family
wishes to congratulate the Sisters of these two Congregations on this
momentous occasion and joins with them in prayers for the future.
APPOINTMENTS TO THE GENERAL COUNCIL STAFF
The Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, O. Carm., has
assigned responsibility for the following areas to the members of the
• Carmelite Family
- Laity: Josef Jancar, O. Carm.
- Nuns and Sisters: Rafael Leiva, O. Carm.
• Evangelization: Anthony Scerri, O. Carm.
• Justice and Peace: Carlos Mesters, O. Carm.
• Culture/Higher Education: William J. Harry, O.
• Spirituality and Formation (including On-Going
Carlo Ciconnetti, O. Carm.
• Communications (including responsibility for the
CITOC and the Order's website): William J. Harry, O. Carm.
The Prior General also nominated Alexander Vella, O. Carm.
(Mel), to be responsible for the annual courses of On-Going Formation.
Each General Councilor will serve as a coordinator for
the area he is assigned to. Each will also work as a liaison between the
various groups in each area of responsibility and the General Council of the
In making the assignments, the Prior General expressed
the hope that Councilors would work collaboratively even though a specific
Councilor was assigned ultimate responsibility for each area.
The assignments came as part of the General Council's
focus on developing a long range plan for the next six years.
The General Council appointed Kevin Alban, O. Carm.
(Brit), as the new General Secretary of the Order. The Council has named
Antonio de Silva, O. Carm., (Flum) as the Co-General Secretary.
The General Council has also appointed Carlo Cicconetti,
O. Carm., Vice General of the Order, as prior of the curia house. Kevin
Alban was appointed sub-prior and Pedro Murciano, O. Carm. (Arag) was
reappointed as treasurer of the curia community. Manuel Anguiano, O. Carm. (Baet),
was reappointed as Archivist of the Order and also as sacristan of the
community. He will take on the additional duty of curia librarian.
Joseph Chalmers, O. Carm., the Prior General, said "I am
very happy with the new team. I am also grateful to the provinces which made
these changes possible."
EAST TIMOR BECOMES PART OF THE AUSTRALIAN PROVINCE
Two Timorese novices, five clerical students, and one
non-clerical student will be members of the Australian Province. They had
previous been members of the Indonesian Province.
In a letter to the Australian Province on November 23,
2001, Wayne Stanhope, the Prior Provincial who was in East Timor at the
time, wrote "With this visit each of our Timorese brothers have now
officially become members of our Province in Australia." He also reported
that "the eight are well and most welcoming of my presence and news of
At the ordinations of Aniceto Maia da Costa, O. Carm.,
and Nelinho Americo Fereria Soares, O. Carm., on November 14, 2001, in the
Cathedral of Dili, Bishop Belo spoke with gratitude for Carmel in Timor
Lorosae and asked the Carmelites to lead the people in contem plation as we
continue to live among them. He said "It is in contemplation that a sense of
meaning and purpose may be found."
That evening the Lay Carmelites provided a meal for all
who had come in to the celebration. "It was the first time that priests,
sisters, and laity sat down together and ate at the one table. To feed so
many with a spirit of such openness and joy became an event that for two
days was featured on national television," recalled Fr. Wayne. "The bishop
was extremely impressed by the inclusion and remarked that it was a further
sign of how Carmel was being lived in the midst of the people."
The parish in Zumalai is now called the parish of Madre
de Monte Carmelo with one central church and 16 village chapels. It is
estimated that some 500 people more remain to cross the border from West
Timor following the cessation of the war. The parish will then number about
20,000. In order to establish a presence in Zumalai, the Carmelites left
Maubara on December 3, 2001.
Four Carmelites will live in Zumalai joined by four young
men who have already been accepted as aspirants.
In reflecting on this new venture for the Australian
Carmelites, Fr. Wayne wrote "Our Chapter theme "Choose life …" gave us the
right attitude and orientation. Timor Lorosae became the gift we needed to
move us beyond our own concerns."
NEW MONASTERY FOUNDED IN THE PHILLIPINES
Tanay, Rizal will be home to the new monastery, Carmel of
Mary, Star of the Sea. It was one of the ways the Order is celebrating the
Marian Year and the 750th Anniversary of the Scapular.
The Bishop of Cabanatuan, Most Rev. Sofio G. Balce
presided over a "Farewell Mass" on November 3, 2001 for the foundresses of
the new monastery. The celebration took place at the Chapel of Our Lady of
Nazareth in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija.
On November 4, 2001, the nine foundresses from the three
monasteries left for Tanay. A blessing and inauguration of the House of God
was held later.
SECOND CARMELITE FORUM HELD IN
The second Carmelite Forum was held at Gort Muire in
Dublin, Ireland at the beginning of November. The first was held at Boars
Hill, Oxford, in January.
Representatives of the Carmelite Friars and the Discalced
Carmelites of Great Britain and Ireland, Discalced Carmelite nuns from
England, Scotland, and Ireland, Corpus Christi Carmelites, The Leaven, Lay
Carmel, and the Secular Discalced Carmelites.
The speakers were asked to reflect upon the following two
questions; `How does Carmel help me to pray today?' The speakers were: Mrs
Alocoque O'Reilly (Secular Discalced Carmel), Sr. Mary Brigeen of the Holy
Spirit (Kilmacud Carmel), and Miss Rosemary Kinman (The Leaven).
The Forum continued to reflect upon the Carmelite
Tradition and the best way to make it better known in Britain and Ireland. A
number of suggestions were made, including correspondence courses, summer
schools and eventually a Carmelite Institute.
The following will meet in January in Dublin to reflect
upon the best way forward: Alocoque O'Reilly (Secular Discalced Carmel),
Rosemary Kinman (The Leaven), James McCaffrey, ODC, Nicholas Madden, ODC,
John Keating, O.Carm., and Francis Kemsley, O.Carm.
CARMELITANUM CELEBRATES 50 YEARS
The Institutum Carmelitanum,
located at Centro Internazionale San’ Alberto (CISA) celebrated 50 years
of service to the Carmelite Order on Sunday, November 18, 2001.
The program for the day started
with a welcome by the prior of CISA, Mark Attard, O. Carm., and a greeting
and brief history of the Institute by Emanuele Boaga, O. Carm., who is
completing his term as president of the Institute.
The Eucharist was celebrated by
Joseph Chalmers, O.Carm., the Prior General. He also delivered the homily
in which he called for continued emphasis on scientific research and
theological training so that the Order will continue to serve the Church
A book, “L’Institutum
Carmelitanum: attività scientifica, divulgativa ed editoriale dal 1951 al
2001”, was distributed to those in attendance. The celebration
concluded with a dinner at CISA.
Some 75 people were in attendance,
including many members of the Carmelite Family.
BRANDSMA MIRACLE DENIED BY VATICAN
The Commission for the Causes of the Saints denied a
miracle attributed to Blessed Titus Brandsma.
The news of the conclusions of the Vatican Medical
Commission reached the General Curia of the Carmelite Order on November 13,
2001. Fr. Felip Amenós, Postulator General of the Order, commented on the
Commission's letter by saying "This is not a definitive decision. The
doctors can give their opinion. We hope to present another in the near
The Commission met on October 18, 2001 in order to study
the case of Mrs. Mary Elisabeth (Betty) Harnedy (USA) who was diagnosed with
cancer in December 1995. After being blessed with a reliquary of Blessed
Titus Brandsma, Mrs. Harnedy's cancer disappeared. The doctors in the United
States could not medically explain its disappearance.
Five years later Mrs. Harnedy was discovered to have a
new cancer. The doctors, nevertheless, held that this new cancer was not
that connected to the previous cancer. The medical tests showed that it was
another type of cancer and in a different location. Mrs. Harnedy died in
April 2001 from the second cancer.
The Vatican Medical Commission found that the
disappearance of the first cancer, while not normal, was not inexplicable.
They concluded that the relationship between the reduction of the first
cancer and heart treatment given to Mrs. Harnedy could not be excluded and
therefore no miracle existed. They suggested that her heart problems could
have caused the disappearance of the original cancer.
VATICAN CONGREGATION OKAYS BISHOP ESTABLISHING MONASTERY
The Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life
and the Society of Apostolic Life has permitted a group of Puerto Rican
nuns, residents for some years in the Monastery of Piedrahita (Avila,
Spain), along with the former novice mistress of the Piedrahita Monastery,
to leave the Order in order to make a foundation in the Diocese of Caguas
(Puerto Rico), under the jurisdiction of the Bishop. This monastery will not
be part of the Carmelite Order.
CELEBRATION TO THE MADONNA FOR VICTIMS OF SEPTEMBER
The Province of Trapani (Italy) remembered victims of the
barbarous terrorist attacks at New York on September 11, 2001. A solemn
celebration, presided over by the Bishop of the Diocese, Francesco Miccichè,
was held at the Sanctuary of the Madonna.
In the course of the homily, the Bishop underlined the
value of human life and spoke about the war between people and the
possibility of peace in the world.
At the initiative of the Association "Mater Dei," led by
Leonardo Santangelo, some plaques, with the image of the Madonna of Trapani,
were given to the Bishop, to local city officials, to the pastor of the
Basilica of the Annunciation, to the Italian-American representation that
will give the medal to Cardinal Egan of the Archdiocese of New York and to
the vicar of the Church of St. Joseph in Brooklyn.
Telegrams were sent to the Association "Mater Dei" by the
Prior General of the Carmelites, Joseph Chalmers, O. Carm., as well as other
civic and religious authorities.
Summary of an article first appearing in La Sicilia a
newspaper in Sicilia, Italy.
ORDER GAINS NON GOVERNMENTAL
ORGANIZATION (NGO) STATUS AT UNITED NATIONS
The Carmelite Order was approved as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) of
the United Nations on December 14, 2001.
Explaining the value of the Carmelite Family having NGO
status in the UN, Helen Ojario, O. Carm., of the Congregation of Our Lady of
Mount Carmel, said, "The NGOs make valuable contributions to the
international community by drawing attention to issues, suggesting ideas and
programs, disseminating information, and mobilizing public opinion in
support of the UN and its specialized agencies."
The Congregation's application included the whole
Carmelite family and the application was approved accordingly. However, the
proposal to fund such a representation was voted down. Because of the
inclusiveness of the application, the Carmelites will have representatives
in both New York (USA) and Geneva (CH). At the General Chapter this past
September, four specific proposals were approved including a subsequent
application for EDOSOC status.
The Carmelite focus will be in three areas:
literacy/education; human/civil rights; and economic/social development.
Approval of NGO status requires a committee of UN ambassadors to approve or
disapprove the application.
"We represent the voice of civil society at UN
conferences. With this status we will have access to meetings of other NGOs
with whom we can network," said Sr. Helen. "The possibilities are limitless
in the good that we can do."
INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE IN FASTING AND PRAYER FOR
PEACE: STATEMENT OF THE UNION OF SUPERIORS GENERAL
The Executive Council of the Union of Superior Generals
(USG) in Rome called upon religious throughout the world to participate in
two special days of fasting and prayer for peace and understanding called by
the Holy Father, John Paul II.
Members of the various religious institutes and orders,
who are present in almost every country of the world, were asked to
participate fully in the Day of Fasting on December 14 and the Day of Prayer
on January 24, which was proposed by the Holy Father. The Carmelite Order
and its associated religious institutes and congregations participated.
The USG wrote, "We feel especially concerned by the
increase in violence and war at the present time. We unequivocally condemn
all recourse to terror, which can never be justified by any motivation. True
religion promotes peace, mutual understanding, reconciliation, and
non-violent resolution of difficulties. We condemn any use of God's name to
"We call on our own members, on ministers of all
religions, on political and economic leaders, and on people of good will to
join together in decisive and united efforts, much more intensive than
before, to combat poverty, injustice, and marginalization in their root
causes. We recognize that these situations often lead to desperation and
"We call on world leaders to take every means possible to
avoid using war as the way to resolve differences. We urge them to avoid the
rhetoric of revenge. We call for a concerted campaign to stop the
proliferation of arms."
"We express our condolence and our promise of prayers to
the many victims of violence. We commit ourselves and our members to comfort
the afflicted and to serve as agents of consolation and reconciliation."
GENERAL COUNCIL JOINS WITH DONUM DEI FOR CHRISTMAS
Following a tradition begun some years ago, the General Council joined with
The Famille Missionnaire `Donum Dei' of Rome on December 16th for
a few hours of pre-Christmas celebration.
A Eucharistic celebration at the Redemptorist Church near
the L'Eau Vive restaurant began at 11:00 AM. Following the liturgy, the
group celebrated together with food, song, and dance at the restaurant.
The Donum Dei affiliated with the Order on February 22,
1987 and has approximately 450 members throughout the world.
RELIQUARY OF ST. THERESE RECEIVES EXTRAORDINARY INTEREST
IN IRELAND AND CANADA
An estimated three million people in Ireland and two
million people in Canada visited the reliquary of Carmelite, St. Thérèse of
Lisieux, during its tour.
Ireland celebrated the arrival of the relics beginning on
April 15, 2001. The plan provided for a 22 hour visit at each stop. All 26
diocesan cathedrals as well as all the chapels and churches of the
Carmelites hosted the reliquary. Several of the major shrines in the country
The reliquary left Ireland on June 28, 2001.
J. Linus Ryan, O. Carm., of the Carmelite Community in
Dublin, was the National Coordinator. John Keating, O. Carm., served as head
of the Liturgical Committee.
The journey to Canada began on September 16 in Vancouver
on the Pacific Ocean and concluded on December 17 on the peninsula of
Newfoundland in the Atlantic Ocean. The October 21 stop was at the PCM
Province's retreat and conference center in Niagara Falls, ONT. Some 3500
people visited during the one day. The center is also the Canadian shrine to
the Little Flower.
"I was impressed by the fervor of the devotion of the
pilgrims to Thérèse," said Bruce Baker, O. Carm., the shrine director. "Most
everyone I spoke with had a story about their personal relationship to her
in Jesus through prayer."
This was the second visit of the reliquary to the
Carmelite house in Niagara Falls. During a trip through the United States of
America in 1999, authorities brought the reliquary over the international
border for the faithful in Canada.
The Canadian Bishops called the event "a success without
precedent." The press termed the participation of the people "the greatest
event of the masses since the visit of Pope John Paul II to the country in
"I was struck how Thérèse cuts across boundaries of
class, economics, education, and religion. We had simple working people come
here. We had professions and well-educated folks who visited too. Even
non-Catholics came to the chapel to visit the relics," said Fr. Bruce.
Some 60 members of the Irish Province attended a dinner
at Gort Muire on November 9th to express appreciation for the
outstanding work done by Carmelite Joe Ryan in his capacity as National
Coordinator in bringing about and organizing the visit of the relics of St.
Thérèse to Ireland.
POPE THANKS RELIGIOUS FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
When it was proposed in the document Jubilee of the
Consecrated Life that religious make a contribution to demonstrate "an
awareness of the poverty which … wounds humanity," few envisioned the global
and abundant response that resulted.
The generous collection that resulted has been designated
by the Holy Father to serve for the creation of a Catholic University in
Amman, Jordan, under the care of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
In a letter to the Prior General, Eduardo Cardinal
Martínez Somalo asked that the gratitude of the Pope be given to the
monasteries which participated.
THE FOUNDATION OF CARMEL IN CAMEROON
12 Carmelites now in the Community
Eleven years after the arrival of the Missionary Workers
in Cameroon, in the Diocese of Mbalmayo, the Carmelites of the Commissary of
the Congo and of the Province of Italy opened a novitiate in the same
diocese, on Ocober 1, 2001. The novitiate house is under the protection of
St. Thérèse of Lisieux of the Child Jesus. On October 1, in the presence of
Responsible of the Missionary Workers, Marie-Josephe, Fr.
Redemptus Valebek presided at the opening Mass of the novitiate year for six candidates.
Three of those beginning the canonical year are from Cameroon, Jean Philippe Otiti, Emmanuel Mvanda, Roch
Stephane Beyene. Emmanuel Lukengadio, Placide Matangila, and Norbert Mitungu
are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Fr. Ubaldo Pani, novice director, arrived in Cameroon on
October 27, while Fr. Nestor Ndjango, pastor of Efulan (Diocese of Mbalmayo)
arrived in Cameroon on July 8, 2001.
The date of October 1, 2001, signals the official
beginning of presence in Cameroon while two earlier dates are also
important: the taking possession of the parish by Fr. Nestor with a Mass
celebrated by Bishop Adalbert Nzana on August 28, 2001 and the first
profession at Bunia (Democratic Republic of Congo) on September 8, 2001 of
the first three Carmelites of Cameroon, Jean Bosco Nguezet, Pierre Alexis
Dzefack, Martin Guy Ombwa who are currently in Yaoundé, at the Lazarrist
Fathers, in the first year of philosophy.
Fr. François Alirac, responsible for the philosophy
students, had already been in Cameroon for the first time on February 13,
2000 and a second time on August 29, 2001.
From September 3, 2001, with the young people in
formation, we have begun a community in our parish in Efulan. There are 9
people in 3 rooms. From October 1, 2001 we have rented a large house from
the novitiate of the Spiritan Fathers, in Mbalmayo9 rooms with bathrooms, a
chapel, and a kitchen.
In the meantime, the Province of Germany Inferioris, to
which we refer and to which we are incardinate, is constructing a novitiate
house, not far from the parish church and which we hope will be completely
by Easter 2002. The novitiate house is 32 Km from the capital of Yaoundé.
Our Carmelite community has 12 members. Fr. Ubaldo who
came from Italy, Fr. Nestor and Fr. François from the Congo, three Cameroon
students and six novices.
The Missionary Workers who had for year developed a
priceless work of bringing vocations to Carmel have also prepared and formed
eight candidates they have judged ready for pre-novitiate and who we hope
will be admitted with the inauguration of the new novitiate house in Efulan.
Submitted by François Alirac, O. Carm.
ELECTIONS FILL VACANCIES LEFT BY NEWLY ELECTED GENERAL COUNCILLORS
Three Provinces had to hold elections to replace three
members elected to the General Council at the General Chapter in September.
Francisco Javier Maya Fernández, O. Carm., Vicar Provincial of the Baetica
Province, replaces Rafael Leiva Sánchez, O. Carm., as Provincial. Rafael was
elected the General Councillor for the North, including the Mediterranean
Region. As the normal process for a Provincial Chapter at the end of a three
year term had already begun, José Ramirez Román, O. Carm., has already been
elected Provincial on the first ballot. He will be confirmed and will take
possession of the office in the Provincial Chapter in March 2002.
Kevin McBrien, O. Carm., was elected Commissary
Provincial of the Western Commissariate on the PCM Province (USA). He
replaces William J. Harry, O. Carm., who was elected as General Councillor
for the North, including Northern and Central Europe and North America.
Claudio Bellotti, O. Carm., was elected Provincial of the
Italian Province to replace Carlo Cicconetti, O. Carm., who was elected Vice
General of the Order at the General Chapter.
CARMELITE NUN CLARIFIES FATIMA REVELATIONS
Sister Lucia, the only surviving Fatima visionary and now
a Discalced Carmelite nun, recently published a 354 page book to respond to
numerous questions and concerns about the Blessed Virgin Mary's secret.
Entitled "Appeals of the Fatima Message," the book was published in
Portuguese and Spanish by Planeta+Testimonio. An English version is planned.
The main intention of the book is "to deepen the
understanding of the spiritual importance of the Virgin Mary's words,"
according to Fr. Jesús Castellano Cervera.
The Vatican recently sent an envoy to meet with Sr. Lucia
to inquire if there was additional information about the visions. Rumors
have been circulating that implied that the full story had not been told.
Sr. Lucia assured that envoy that the rumors had no factual basis and that
she had no additional information from the apparitions.