no. 1   january - march 2003



On Friday, December 20, 2002, Pope John Paul II proclaimed the heroic virtues of Mother M. Crocifissa Curcio, the foundress of the Congregation of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. With this act, she receives the title of “Venerable.”

The Pope officially declared the sanctity of Mother Crocifissa and put her forward as a model and example for the Church. The recognition of the presumed miracle obtained through her intercession is being examined at the moment by the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. This will be only a confirmation of her sanctity and the final act immediately preceding her beatification which will probably take place soon.

The Venerable Madre Crocifissa Curcio was born on January 30, 1877 at Ispica (Reggio Calabria). From her childhood she was aware of a call deep within her to follow Christ in a radical fashion. Through the tender Mother of Carmel, she received the mission from God to re-establish Carmel in her own part of the country as well as in other countries.

As with all the saints, Madre Crocifissa came up against many tests and sufferings in order to be faithful to the divine will. These difficulties went on for many years. The providential meeting with the Carmelite Fr. Lorenzo van den Eerenbeempt, gave her the opportunity to set up a little Carmel in Santa Marinella, near Rome.

At the death of Madre Crocifissa on July 4, 1957, the congregation   founded by her for the poor and needy young people, was present in many areas of Italy as well as in Malta and Brazil. The Carmelite Missionary Sisters continued this expansion in other continents, making foundations in Canada, Tanzania, the Philippines, and Rumania.

All Carmelites are asked to intensify their prayers so that the moment of her beatification comes soon. We are asked to seek the help of her intercession so that she will present to the Lord all our requests for help, comfort, and grace.



The General Curia received the official notification from the Sacred Congregation for Religious that the Carmelite Hermits of Christoval, Texas (USA) were incorporated on November 9, 2002 into the Carmelite Order.

“I am very happy that the Holy See has accepted the application of the hermits to be members of the Order,” said Joseph Chalmers, the Prior General. “They express a particular element of the Carmelite charism. Together all of us enrich each other as we seek to be faithful to the charism that God has given us.”

Commenting on the news from the Sacred Congregation, Fr. Fabian Maria wrote, “This is the culmination of twelve years of preparation and building up of the physical and spiritual aspects of the community for an ever greater Carmelite identity, which was the goal to be attained since the Hermitage was established on July 1, 1991.”

Aggregation to the Carmelite Order means that the Hermits until now have been under the jurisdiction of the Diocesan Bishop and as of November 9, 2003 they will be under the jurisdiction of the Prior General of the Carmelite Order.

The Hermits of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel are located about 3 hours west of San Antonio, Texas. They live in a laura, which is a colony of hermits living in separate dwellings around a central chapel, following the Carmelite rule.

The Prior General will celebrate the incorporation with a Eucharist at the Hermitage in Christoval on Sunday, April 27th at 10:30 AM.



The Institutum Carmelitanum will host a meeting of representatives from the various Carmelite Institutes from around the world to discuss ways in which the Institutes can cooperate for a better sharing of resources and a more effective coordination of projects. The meeting will be held at Whitefriars Hall, Washington, DC, from July 1 until July 3rd. Participants are most welcome to spend extra days before or after the meetings in Washington.

Among the items to be discussed are: using the web more effectively to become better known and to share our message; ideas and suggestions for grants and fundraising; exchange of personnel and resources; coordinating celebrations of the eighth centenary of the Rule; developing new Carmelite Study Centers and libraries around the world.

The meeting of the Institutes will be followed by the second meeting of the “Central Committee,” the administrative team of the Institutum Carmelitanum in Rome.

will host the meeting of the Carmelite nuns February 17-23, 2003. The public can make reservations online at the Domus through its website. (CITOC Photos 2003)



            A representation of the Carmelite Nuns and the Delegates to the Nuns from around the world will gather at the Domus Carmelitana in Rome, February 17-23, 2003. The group will discuss the draft of a Ratio, which will become the fundamental formation document for the Carmelite nuns throughout the world.
            A commission consisting of the General Delegate for the Nuns, Rafael Leiva, O. Carm., Giovanni Grosso, O. Carm., Delegate for the Nuns in Italy, and Desiderio Garcia, O. Carm., Delegate for the Nuns in Spain, is preparing the meeting.
            Each federation of monasteries as well as each monastery was asked to review materials for the Ratio and make comments and suggestions. This information has been collated by the commission and will be discussed at the February meeting. The result will be a Ratio for use “ad experimentum.”
            Commenting upon the importance of such a document, the Prior General said, “The Holy See has asked each Order to produce a Ratio for the formation of its members. The friars have already produced a second edition of their Ratio and it has immensely enriched all of us. I hope that a Ratio for the nuns will have a similar result.”


            The members of the General Council of the Order met in plenary session in Rome from December 9 - 20, 2003. The session included a one day session with the Discalced Carmelite General Council, a celebration of the papal bull “Cum Nulla” with the Lay Carmelites and Affiliated Congregations and Institutes, dinner with the General Council community of the “Istituto di Nostra Signora del Carmelo” and a one day retreat for the Curia community in Focene, Italy, led by Carlos Mesters, O. Carm., of the General Council.

            A lengthy discussion of the program for the Council of Provinces in September 2003 took place.

           Some initial planning for the various celebrations to be held in this six year term were discussed. These include the 400th anniversary of the death of St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi, the 800th anniversary of the writing of the Carmelite Rule in 2006, and the Congress on the Carmelite Charism and the Parish.

            Various financial matters were discussed including the Little Flower Society in the United Kingdom, the nomination of lay members to the International Finance Commission, and the Domus Carmelitana.

            The minutes of the international commissions that have met since the last plenary session were reviewed. There were also reports on the meetings of the “Central Committee” of the Institutum Carmelitanum and the Board of Directors of the Edizioni Carmelitane.

The “Gost,” a religious group from Brazil, was affiliated to the Order at the plenary session. The organization is a group so 24 small groups of people praying for vocations.

The “Pia União Santa Teresinha,” a fundraising organization for the Carmelite ministries in Brazil, was also approved by the General Council. It will be located in Curitiba.


            Following a tradition of meeting twice a year, the OCarm General Council traveled to the Discalced Carmelite Curia for discussions on December 12, 2002. This was their final meeting before the General Chapter of the Discalced Carmelites in May 2003.

The two Councils also approved the creation of a Carmelite Mariological Association (AMARCARM). The Association was created to promote scientific research on Mary, Mother of Jesus, within the context of the Carmelite traditions and was recommended by the Mariological Congress. Each Order will nominate twelve members, including members of the various branches of the Carmelite family. Although the legal details of the Association need to be worked out, the two Councils made the decision based on a recommendation from a Joint Mariological Commission that was appointed at the Councils’ joint meeting in May 2002.

The Association is to establish theological criteria for the study of Carmelite Marian piety, with special attention to the pastoral direction of the Church and of the Order. It is also asked to promote the various aspects of Mariological studies, especially among the young people in formation and those in on-going formation.

The General Council will be discussing possible nominations. These nominations will be made following the Discalced General Chapter in May. “We will be looking for individuals of the Carmelite Family, male and female, capable of carrying forward the study of Mary,” said Joseph Chalmers, the Prior General. 

            The Councils also discussed the various joint publications which are in progress, including the publication of a Carmelite dictionary, the acts of the joint Mariological seminar, and the acts of the OCarm – OCD psychology seminar.

A joint letter of the Superiors General, reviewing the 12 years of dialogue that has taken place between the General Councils, will be issued shortly A book of all the letters will be published shortly afterwards.


The following is the complete text from a letter received from the Corpus Christi Carmelite Sisters who returned to Liberia following the civil war in that country.

After leaving England on the Feast of the Holy Trinity, 26th May, we arrived at Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where the bishop had sent his driver with a pick-up to meet us. We shopped at Abidjan and then drove for six hours to San Pedro where we spent the night. Early next morning we left for Harper, Liberia and stayed for four days with the Sisters of the Holy Family, a congregation started by the bishop. We began the last part of our journey at 6:15 a.m. This was the longest and most tedious section. After six hours of driving on unsurfaced and rugged roads, we stopped at a mission in Zwedro where we had a meal, then were back on the road again. Every time we came to a security checkpoint, we had to stop. Trees had also fallen across the street in several places and they had to be cleared away before continuing.

Sunday Mass was a new experience for us, with drumming, singing, and everyone dancing, including the priest and altar servers. The whole congregation walked in procession to give in their collection and many parishioners brought gifts which they carried in procession. This all took about twenty minutes. We were warmly welcomed with much clapping and drumming.

A picture of our home: Our furniture is made out of hard wood which makes it very heavy and hard to sit on, so after a few minutes, we have to keep changing positions. As there is no fridge, meat and fish are dried on the fire or half cooked the day before. … Grounded cassava leaves, palm butter, sweet potato leaves, water greens and bitter buds are some of the greens cooked with dried fish and bush meat and plenty of pepper. This is served with rice. Sr. Topian is concerned about Sr. Agnes and me, the non Liberians, and is doing everything possible to make the food palatable.

Sisters Agnes and Topian have been to Monrovia to do our first shopping- an eight hour journey by car. Fr. Francis accompanied them. Every so often they passed a check point and had to give a tip to process. Everybody here wants a tip for everything they do. We have to be so careful as they will help us without being asked and all our money will go on tips but as they have no work they are ready to seize every opportunity.

15th July.  Sr. Agnes came in and said we were to storm heaven. Three policemen had come to the door, two of them with guns. They took Jacob, our workman, away for fetching water from the community well for us. One day while collecting water he had been approached by a man who said he was responsible for the community and Jacob must pay for the water he was taking away. There was an exchange of words and Jacob was reported to the police. He was given a fine of 215 Liberian dollars which we paid. Several people, however, came to apologize later to him and to us. A police office was also sent to apologize but they did not return the money.

Many children here go to school barefooted and there are others who cannot attend because they are without clothes. So many poor people are here as well as street children, most of whom are orphans.


From all the Sisters. Thank you to all who have helped us in one way or another and for the support you have given us. You are remembered daily in our prayers.