no. 1 january - march 2004
On December 2003, in the presence of the Holy Father as well as other dignitaries, the heroic virtue of Servant of God Maria Teresa di Gesù (known as Maria Scrilli (1825-1889), foundress of the Istituto di Nostra Signora del Carmelo, was declared.
Present were, on behalf of the Congregation, Vincenzo Mosca, O. Carm., the postulator, the Superior General, Mother Maria Teresa Natalini, the Secretary General and Vice-Postulator Sr. Maria Stella Marzano, Fr. Carlo Cicconetti, Vice General and representative of the Prior General, His Eccellency Bishop Luciano Giovanetti, Bishop of Fiesole, Fr. Pasquale Corsi, pastor of Collegiata di Montevarchi, the region of Italy where the Servant of God came from, and Deacon Alessandro Andreini, of the Diocese of Fiesole, Vice Postulator.
Mother Maria Teresa Scrilla founded the Institute at Montevarchi (Arezzo) on October 15, 1854 with the approval of the Bishop of Fiesole, Bishop Francesco Bronzuoli, the superiors of the Order, and with the agreement of the Grand Duke Leopold II. In 1860, with the fall of the Duchy of Tuscany and the unity of Italy, the Congregation was suppressed. The foundress, secure she was doing the will of God, moved to Florence and, in 1875, refounded the community. Since then, the Institute has developed so that its branches now extend beyond Italy. Currently the sisters are present in the United States, Canada, Poland, India, Brazil, the Czech Republic and the Philippines.
This year, the Congregations is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its foundation.
Mother Maria Teresa was profoundly connected to Carmelite spirituality which she knew, since childhood, from her reading of St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi. The spirit of contemplation, total abandonment to the will of God, and deep union with the Lord were the characteristics of her spiritual life. Her prayer added the aspect of reparation for offenses inflicted on God, of praise, of joy in Him, of profound union, of faith. The "pure love" for God pushes one to the generous offering of oneself to others, "to leave God for God," even to the point of making a fourth vow: "to give oneself over to neighbor by means of both Christian and civil moral instruction."
Mother Maria Teresa’s great devotion showed itself, from the time of her childhood, to Our Lady and the familiarity with which she called her "my dear mother."
Tjeu Timmermans, the Provincial of the Dutch Province, was elected as the president of the new Conference of Dutch Religious at the Conference’s first meeting on January 7, 2004. The new Conference is composed of the major superiors of all the monastic Orders, cloistered Orders, abbeys, monasteries and religious institutes of sisters, brothers and priests.
The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life erected a single Conference of Major Superiors by decree on December 9, 2003. The new conference follows the prescriptions of numbers 708 and 709 of Canon Law.
The purpose of the Conference is the promotion of religious life in the Church and society, the networking of all the religious Institutes in the Netherlands, and the promotion of the common and individual interests of the Religious Institutes and the Societies of Apostolic Life. The new body will promote dialogue and the cooperation with the Conference of Bishops, serve as the representative body of all the religious Institutes in the Netherlands as well as administering the spiritual inheritance of religious life.
The process of becoming one Conference rather than continuing with individual conferences (the Conference of Women Religious, the Conference of Congregations of Brothers, the Conference of Priest Religious, the Association of Contemplative Sisters and the Association of Conferences of Dutch Religious) started several years ago.
"My dream is to bring this new Conference alive," said Fr. Tjeu. "The reality of many religious Institutes in the Netherlands having aging members brings them back to the most important aspects of religious life. I hope the Conference will give attention to this element."
The board of the Conference is composed of the president, the vice-president and seven board members. The length of the term is four years.
There are 11,000 members of the new Conference of Religious of the Netherlands.
Market of St. Martin at Marienthal, Germany
The traditional market of St. Martin was held on November 8-9, 2003 at Marienthal, Germany. The Carmelites offered a special warm drink, called "Marienthaler Eierpunsch", which is made from eggs, white wine, brandy and sugar. It was produced by Brother Manfred Grossardt, O.Carm., and his team in the kitchen of the Carmelite monastery. They sold about 2000 cups! The profit will be for the Carmelites at Cameroon. (Photos courtesy of the Lower German Province)
Meeting of the OCARM-OCD Carmelite Family After the Visit of the Relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
On Saturday, December 20, 2003, in the National Sanctuary of St. Therese of Lleida (Catalonia), the whole Carmelite Family of the Iberian Peninsula came together, accompaning the reliquary of the Saint, which had visited the majority of the dioceses and the majority of the enclosed Carmelite monasteries in Spain during the second half of 2003.
The OCARM and OCD Provincials from Spain and Portugal as well as the Presidents of each of the Federations of OCARM and OCD enclosed nuns gathered at the familiar place. The nave of the church was completely full of brothers and sisters from all the Carmelite Congregations as well as the Carmelite laity.
The meeting was intense, a whole day of prayer and of fraternal get together. Everything had had been prepared with great care and the participation of everyone, principally in the liturgy, was magnificent and solemn. The reliquary was received within the Liturgy of the Hours presided over by the bishop of the diocese. The Carmelite Family continued the celebration of the Word with a reflection on the spiritual message of Thérèse of Lisieux. At noon a solemn Eucharist was held which was concelebrated by all of the Provincials and with participation by numerous Carmelite sisters. The cloistered nuns were near the reliquary of their little sister the whole time, as custodians.
A great number of those attending gathered for a fraternal meal during which many met again with brothers and sisters from all areas of Spain.
Durng the evening, the assembly gathered for Solemn Vespers.
St. Thérèse was the stimulus for a reaffirmation of the values of Carmel and the creation of communion and fraternity.
The J. B. Morrell Library at the University of York has accepted a large donation of books from the British Province of Carmelites Friars.
The 117 titles, mostly on art history, were in the collection of Fr. Paul O’Brien, a young Carmelite friar who died tragically in 1999 at the age of 43, and will form a collection within the University Library in his memory.
The Carmelite Order, which had a foundation in the city in the 1250s, has strong links with the City of York today. Carmelite friars form part of the Ecumenical Chaplaincy team on the campus, which was recently named "University of the Year" by the Sunday Times.
The decision to give the donation to the University of York was based on the renown of its History of Art department (rated second in the country for the quality of its research), and because of the opportunities offered to students by the prestigious new Raymond Burton Library for Humanities Research.
The Carmelite Order has long been a patron of study and the creative arts. One of the most famous artists of the Italian Renaissance, Filippo Lippi, was a Carmelite friar, and Carmelite shrines in England house some of the most important works of the twentieth-century sculpters Michael Clark and Adam Kossowski.
For further information please contact:
Mr. Johan Bergstrom-Allen
Project Worker, British Province of Carmelites
The Administrative Board (Comitato Centrale) of the Institutum Carmelitanum will meet at CISA in Rome from February 20-22nd. Top item on the agenda is planning a conference for 2005 to which scholars will be invited to present papers on various aspects of the Rule of St. Albert. These papers will be published as a book in time for the eighth centenary of the Rule to be celebrated in 2007. The Board will also be discussing the need to encourage Carmelite men and women to pursue Carmelite Studies so that we have the scholarship to continue the work the Institutum has been carrying on for over a half century.
Other news from the Institutum concerns Father David Waite of the British province who has tendered his resignation as bibliographer and librarian of the Institutum. David’s return to his province leaves the Board with a major role to fill. The Institutum is very grateful to David for the hard work he has put into his task these past four years.