no. 1 january - march 2004
ISIDORE BAKANJA BULLETIN
Lay Carmelites in the Philippines have experienced some changes to their membership since starting the reforms in formation. Some members have decided to leave the Third Order because they realised they did not have a vocation to be a tertiary. They were seeking the more devotional aspect of the Brown Scapular. Confraternities of the Brown Scapular are being organized in some parishes as one of the Ministries of the Third Order. Alternative meeting times could be offered for those who want to wear the Brown Scapular but do not have the vocation to undergo formation as a Carmelite tertiary.
Sympathy and prayers are with Sine Cameron-Mowat, National Secretary to British Lay Carmelites. Sine’s brother Colum died on 30th November 2003. Sine is the co-editor with Brendan Grady O. Carm., of Assumpta, the British Lay Carmelite magazine. Many Lay Carmelites from various parts of the world have met Sine at the International Gatherings of Lay Carmelites.
Mateus Gregorius Rudolf Suhud died on 16 December in Tenggarong, Borneo, as a result of an accident. Rudolf was a professed Lay Carmelite and the first to become a diocesan seminarian. Rudolf made his Lay Carmelite profession in Malang on 5 May 1993.
The members of the Lay Carmelite National Council met at "Karith," the Carmelite Retreat Centre at Warburton January 9-12, 2004. Over the weekend meeting they worked on a revision of the Australian Constitution in the light of the new Third Order Rule. A copy of the new Rule was presented to Prior Provincial Wayne Stanhope during the celebration of Eucharist. As the sun set, Evening Prayer was prayed on the top of nearby Mount Donna Buang.
Timor Leste (East Timor) is now part of the Australian Province and Lay Carmelites in Australia have been asked to support the training of seminarians. There are 13 Aspirants, 9 Postulants and 7 Professed Carmelites, 6 of whom are ordained. Lay Carmelite communities in Australia have been invited to sponsor a Postulant, especially by exchanging letters and photos, thereby building a relationship with a particular Postulant. There are about 100 Lay Carmelites in Timor Leste who meet regularly and have their own meeting house.
Members of the Carmelite Movement are currently working on an introductory program to start some kind of formation for people who wish to become Lay Carmelites.
The Director of Lay Carmelites, Fr. Felix Pallipatt, O. Carm., has been busy with the construction work at the site of the formation house for Carmelites. The borehole has been completed. This is necessary due to water shortage in the area and residents rely on boreholes for water supply.
The next formators meeting will be held in Kenya. This is great news and will give members an opportunity to be with the larger Carmelite family and to learn from their wealth of experience in the Carmelite encounter.
Lay Carmelites in Kenya now have a Council in place, which had its first meeting on 16th of November. The members are representatives from each of the five Lay Carmelite groups existing in Kenya. This is seen to be a positive move and it is hoped that through this some concrete progress will come about in running the affairs of the Order in Kenya. At this first meeting, the issue of finance featured at length and it was decided that it was now the responsibility of each councillor to encourage members from their locations to support the order financially. To start with, an annual contribution of Kshs.200/= from each Lay Carmelite was set towards the common fund for running the affairs of the Order.
Donum Dei Missionary Family would like to dedicate these few words, written by Donum Dei member Renée Prieur to Fr. Redemtpus Valabek O. Carm., who supported the development of Donum Dei for 19 years, following the death of their founder, Fr Marcel Roussel, on February 22, 1984.
The then Prior General, Fr. John Malley, nominated Fr. Redemptus as General Delegate for Lay Carmelites. Renée Prieur, Renée Reboud, and Thérèse Hyernard, came to the Curia to ask if Donum Dei could be affiliated to Carmel. They were sent to Fr. Redemptus.
The first meeting with Fr. Redemptus took place at CISA on 17 January 1984. Renée Prieur recalled that Fr. Redemptus was welcoming with his large smile. "At once we felt at home. According to the recommendations of our founder, we asked him, if a Family like ours, which intended to live the spirit of Carmel in the world, could be affiliated in some way to the Carmelite Order."
"Fr. Redemptus answered that, naturally, he must speak with his superiors, but it seemed to him that it would be possible. Perhaps Donum Dei could be part of the Carmelite Third Order. He gave us the Third Order Rule, which our founder, Fr. Roussel, studied carefully. He greatly appreciated the spiritual direction of the Rule, which he found deeply in accordance with his spiritual intuitions. The more he read it the more it became obvious to him that Donum Dei should be integrated among the laity of Carmel. Since the beginning of the foundation he used to call his members ‘Carmelites in the world,’" Prieur said.
For one week Fr. Roussel prayed, reflected, read the Carmelite documents. He concluded, "I want the Third Order because I want a juridical bond; it will be more stable." He even said: "I will die in peace if the Family is directed by Carmel. The Carmelites will not teach you another way…..than the way of humility and obedience."
"On Thursday January 21, we had a second meeting with Fr. Redemptus during which he gave us more information after having spoken to some other Carmelites," said Renée Prieur. "Fr. Roussel grew more and more happy to see that Carmel could be like a cradle for us, a place where we would find the good Carmelite spirituality with the examples of Mary and of all the Carmelite saints."
"Fr. Redemptus expressed his wish to meet Fr. Roussel and Fr. Roussel wanted to speak to Fr. Redemptus. On the evening of the 21st February, after prayers, he said, ‘Our Lady of Mount Carmel, take us into your Family’ and he went to bed. He passed away unexpectedly during the night of February 22."
Upon learning this news, Fr. Redemptus regretted that he had been able to meet Fr. Roussel. However he was present at the funeral Mass of Fr. Roussel at St. Eustacchio Church (Rome) on Friday, February 24, 1984 and he was able to become acquaintanted with about 50 members of Donum Dei who were present at the funeral Mass of their founder.
"From that moment on, Fr. John Malley and Fr. Redemptus gave all their care to help Donum Dei to realise the last will of the founder," said Prieur. "In spite of many obstacles, Fr. John Malley issued, on February 22nd 1987, the decree of recognition of Donum Dei Missionary Family as member of the Carmelite Third Order."
"During the following years, Fr. Redemptus helped our Family to integrate itself in the Carmelite Order, to discover deeply Carmelite Spirituality, and to implement it in our mission all over the world. We are so grateful to him because he captured in depth the meaning of our particular spirituality - the spirit of Fr. Roussel, and our special charism. He helped us to live it out as members of the wonderful Carmelite Family."
"All the members of Donum Dei have received so much help from him, and want to verbalize our particular thanks. We want to be faithful to him who has been so faithful to us. He is part of our Family in Heaven who watches over us and through whom we can present our intentions to Our Lady."