no. 1   january - march 2005

Northern European Formators Meet

Thirteen of the formators from the Northern European Region met in Dublin, Ireland at Gort Muire. The meetings took place November 15-18, 2004.

Tjeu Timmermans, the Dutch Prior Provincial, presented his reflection on Carmelite formation and ministry. The reflection was useful as a starting point for identifying the challenges and obstacles which are present in the concrete situations of the provinces of the region. Besides the lack of trained formators, the scarce number of students in the programs was highlighted. Cultural influences, such as the non institutional church society, were also highlighted. The meeting challenged the group to work ever closer together in formation within the region.

The meeting also dealt with the 2005 World Youth Day which will be held in Cologne, Germany. Various possibilities of group participation were studied. Some preparations have been in process since 2003.

Provinces represented at the meeting were the Netherlands, Ireland, Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Upper Germany and Lower Germany. The two German provinces have collaborated in a joint formation program for a number of years. The student house was transferred to Mainz this past year.

Organist of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris plays at Carmelite Church, Whitefriar Street, Dublin

The Carmelite community at Whitefriar Street, Dublin hosted an event of major significance in the cultural life of Ireland’s capital city last November. In order to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the inauguration of the highly regarded Kenneth Jones pipe organ at Whitefriar Street church, the community was fortunate in being able to welcome Maître Olivier Latry, titular organist of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Latry, who was appointed to Notre Dame at the very young age of twenty-two, is considered by many to be the world’s greatest living organist.

According to Fr. Martin Baxter, O. Carm., bursar of the Whitefriar Street community and main organiser of the event, the recital as a resounding success with the Carmelite church being full almost to capacity. Maître Latry played a wide-ranging and very appealing programme of mostly French organ music designed to show off the potential of the instrument. In common with many French organists, Latry concluded his recital with an improvisation on themes submitted to him right at the end of his programme. Extemporising for twenty minutes, he managed to combine a piece of French music, an Irish dance tune and the ancient Carmelite chant, Flos Carmeli!

Olivier Latry, organist of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, seated at the console of the organ at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Whitefriar Street, Dublin (Photo courtesy of the Irish Province)

Carmelite Response to Asian Tsunami

A vigil for the victims of the tsunami catastrophe was held in the Carmelite church of Nijmegen (Netherlands) on January 6, 2005. The service was sponsored by the local branch of the World Council of Churches. Representatives of several religious confessions and movements, including Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Anthroposophic, and Bahaí, lead the prayer.

Participants sat in an oval design. In the middle of the oval was a large map of the disaster area. Upon entering the church, people could light a small candle and place it along the coastlines of the map.

It was an emotional celebration with long moments of silence providing space for reflection.

"It is our task," said the Jewish representative, "to be partners of God in the healing process and in supporting those who suffer the grief that can’t be overcome."

After the service, all those who were present walked in procession to the center of the city with lit torches while the church bells rang. Some of the torches were handed to the mayor of Nijmegen. It was the starting signal for a local campaign for the victims of the Tsunami.

Various initiatives to assist those affected by the disaster have been set up by Carmelites around the world. The General Curia collected donations of over 130.000 euro from various provinces, monasteries, and Carmelite associations.

No Carmelites are known to have been directly affected by the tsunami. However, the Indonesian Carmelites have been working with the refugees from the affected area of their country.

VII Meeting of the Carmelite Major Superiors of Latin America and the Carribean Region

Gathering of the Major Superiors of Latin America and the Carribean region or their representatives in Santo Domingo in October 2004. This was the seventh such meeting.


Message of the Major Superiors
Santo Domingo, October 19-27, 2004

The Exercise of Authority in the Service
of the Charism in Latin America and
the Carribean

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Carmelite Family

We, brothers, sisters, and laity who represent Carmel in Colombia, Brazil, Santa Domingo, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Perú, México, Bolivia, and Trinidad Tobago gladly share with you the experience we have lived in Santo Domingo, scene of the illustrious missionary example of Frei Antonio Montesinos, during our VIIth meeting of the Major Superiors of Latin America and the Carribean.

Our central theme was "The Exercise of Authority in the Service of the Lives Committed to the Charism." Our meeting was prepared with great care by a team from Latin America. The group from Santa Domingo received us with great warmth and affection, in a fraternal and celebratory manner.

Following the steps in the method "to see, to judge, and to act," we first recalled and evaluated our journey in Latin America these past 15 years. Between the light and shadows we came to understand ourselves as Carmelite Family.

In order to begin the process of judging, our facilitator, Fr. Genesio Zeferino da Silva, a member of the Salesians of St. Don Bosco, helped us to reflect on the mission of the religious superior as the person responsible for a larger plan of action always with the Institute as the goal. Our Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, presented selections from the Rule and reflected on the the Superior as one who promotes lives deeply influenced by the Carmelite charism in the service of the people.

Focusing on our future, we synthesized our hopes in the following areas: Formation, Spirituality, Carmelite Family, Communication, Service to the People, Economics, and Management.

Fortified by the spirit of Mary and of Elijah, we, the participants of this VII Gathering, are enlivened and fortified for our journey, strengthened more each time by the identity of Carmel in Latin America.

.Faces of Prayer in Carmel,’ June 12-18, 2005, at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana

The Carmelite Forum will focus on ‘Faces of Prayer in Carmel,’ June 12-18, 2005, at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, for the annual summer seminar on Carmelite Spirituality. The speakers will be Daniel Chowning, Kevin Culligan, Keith Egan, Constance FitzGerald, Mary Frohlich, Kieran Kavanaugh, Ernest Larkin, Steven Payne, Vilma Seelaus and John Welch.

For brochures and information contact The Center for Spirituality, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN 46556; phone: 574-284-4636. Information by e-mail: Keith Egan,

Passion for Christ, Passion for Humanity
Congress of Superiors General Held in Rome

The 2004 Congress of the Union of Superiors General and the International Union of Superiors General was held in Rome November 23-27, 2004. Some 850 people from over 130 countries around the world attended.

Those attending include Superiors General, Presidents of Conferences of Religious, and editors of publications that deal with religious.

Four Carmelites participated: Joseph Chalmers, the Prior General; Tjeu Timmermans (Neer), President of the Dutch Conference of Religious; and Altamiro Tenório da Paz (Pern), President of the Conference of Religious in Mozambique; and Bruno Secondin (Ita), member of the theological commission for the Congress.

Among the topics dealt with were: Justice, Peace and the Suffering of Humanity; the Impact of Socio-Cultural and Religious Reality on Consecrated Life from a Latin-American Perspective: A Search for Answers; Religious Life After September 11th: What Signs Do We Offer?; Religious Life in the Future; From the Well ... to the Inn; and, Seekers of Wells and Roads: Two Icons for a Samaritan Religious Life.

The Prior General has written a letter to the Carmelite Family on the Congress.

Website of the Congress is

Visit of the relics of Marjam Bouardy in Malta

The Discalced Carmelites organized the visit of the relics of Marjam Bouardy in Malta and Gozo for 15 days from the 11th to the 26th October 2004.

The relics were brought to Malta to mark the 125th anniversary of her death and to pray for peace in the Middle East.

The relics were also taken to the Carmelite Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Valletta. On the 19th October the relics were officially welcomed in the shrine by Martin Schembri, O. Carm., prior. The visit ended by a Solemn Concelebration on the 20th by the Carmelite Province led by the Prior Provincial, Alexander Vella, O. Carm. One of the concelebrants was the Provincial of the Discalced Carmelites, Fr. Alfred Grech O.C.D. Members of the Third Order of the islands took an active part.
A commemorative plaque was unveiled in the Carmelite Shrine to mark the occasion.
(Photo courtesy of the Shrine)