no. 1 january - march 2007
The Indian Carmelite Community of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
and St. Albert of Jerusalem
A group of 24 Discalced Carmelites from the South Kerala Province in India have petitioned the Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, for admission to the Order. Four of these friars were guests of the Curia and took part in some of the plenary meetings of the General Council in February.
The Prior General and Council have constituted this group as 'The Indian Carmelite Community of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and St. Albert of Jerusalem’ and Fr Sedric D’cruz has been named as the Prior General’s representative for this new community. Members of this group will be working in two Latin dioceses in Kerala, Neyyattinkara in the south of the region and Kannur in the north. There are also friars working in the parish of Pietrasanta on the coast in Tuscany, and in three parishes in the diocese of Paderborn, Germany.
The General Council also discussed how best to integrate these friars into the order through courses and community experiences in various provinces, mostly in the English-speaking world. Experts in formation, history and spirituality will also be spending time with these friars in India.
The situation had been developing over several years and was discussed at length by the General Council during their plenary sessions in the last year. During the joint meeting of the General Council with the General Definitory of the Discalced Carmelites in December 2006, the recent developments were also discussed. In addition, the two Superiors General have discussed this issue several times.
As required by Church law, the Propositor General of the Discalced Carmelites had to first approve the request of each member seeking to transfer.
With the consent of the General Council, the Prior General gave permission for the Discalced Carmelites to enter the Order for a period of probation of at least three years. At the end of this period of probation, they may apply for solemn profession in our Order. This application may be granted or not. They will not be required to repeat a novitiate since both Orders profess the same Rule.
These Discalced Carmelites are of the Latin rite whereas our provincial commissariat is Syro-Malabar rite. Both groups are based in Kerala, in southern India.
In January, the Prior Provincials and General Delegates of the Order were notified of the Discalced Carmelites´ requests and the initial steps taken by the Order in a letter from the Prior General.
The Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, poses with four of the Discalced Carmelites from India who have been accepted for a 3 year trial period into the Carmelite Order. (from left to right) Kuriakose Chandanaparambil, Manuel Karippote, the Prior General, Sedric D'Cruz, and Joy Kandanamparambil.
The members of the International Culture Commission and the Administrative Board of the Institutum Carmelitanum in Rome met in Nairobi, Kenya, on January 3-6, 2007, with representatives from some of the Carmelites working in Africa to discuss the study of Carmelite culture on the African continent.
The meeting was the first occasion for the discussion of culture in the Order to be focused on Africa.
Among those attending the meeting were Conrad Mutizamhepo from the Commissariat of Zimbabwe, Michel Mbidjo Lakalu from the Commissariat of the Congo, Boniface Makau Kimondolo and Onesmus Muthini Muthoka of the Kenyan Mission. Also attending from Kenya were two simply professed members of the Indian Commissariat who are studying in Nairobi.
Members of the combined Culture Commission and Institutum Carmelitanum participating in the discussion were Patrick McMahon (PCM), Fernando Millán (Baet), Jos Huls (Neer), Michael Plattig (GerS), and William J. Harry (General Council).
An immediate step for improving African members’ access to the resources of the Order will be the development of libraries in each of the areas. Other provisions will necessitate further study and more coordination.
In sessions of just the Commission members, various proposals for the 2007 General Chapter were discussed. Those approved will be submitted to the Preparatory Commission.
The website of the International Culture Commission:
Members of the International Culture Commission and the Administrative Board of the Institutum Carmelitanum during a break in their January meeting in Nairobi. (Left - Right) Michael Plattig (GerS), Boniface Makau Kimondolo (Cat-K), Jos Huls (Neer), William J. Harry (Curia), Fernando Millán (Baet).
The General Council met in plenary session in Rome from December 11 - 19, 2006 and again on February 12-22, 2007. Among the subjects discussed were the plans for the General Chapter to be held in Sassone from September 4 - 22, 2007 and the request of 24 Discalced Carmelites from India to join the Order(see article above).
December Plenary Sessions
The Council also examined the proposed budgets for the Curia and its dependent bodies, such as CISA, the Institutum and the Carmelite Library, and approved them for 2007. The Delegate for the Third Order presented a draft of the new Ritual which was approved by the Council and will now be sent to the Holy See for confirmation. The progress of the Carmelite NGO was also discussed and the Council gave its support to the proposed structure of an executive council and regional representatives.
Reports were received from General Councilors on their various activities and visits, for example, to Vietnam, Kenya and the Philippines. The provincial chapter acts were approved for SEL and Ireland.
On Monday, December 18, the members of the General Council had a meeting with the Superior General and Definitory of the Discalced Carmelites in their Curia house. Various topics were discussed including the joint letter from the two superiors to mark the eighth centenary of the Rule, as well as joint celebrations in May and September 2007, the Dictionary of Carmelite Spirituality, the fourth centenary of the death of St. Mary Magdalen de’Pazzi and the work of the OCARM/OCD commission in Latin America. The two Councils enjoyed a fraternal lunch together after the meeting.
February Plenary Sessions
The General Council held its penultimate plenary session in Rome at the Curia house from 12 to 22 February 2007. The main business of the meetings was to examine and make provision for the 24 Indians who have joined our order from the Discalced. Four of these friars were guests of the Curia and took part in some of the Council's meetings.
The Council received reports on the activities of the members of the Council in the past few months, including the news from the assembly of the Rio Province and from the meeting of the International Culture Commission with the central committee of the Institutum Carmelitanum held in Nairobi and the International Communications Commission in Manila, Philippines. On the recommendation of the members of the General Delegation of Colombia, the Prior General appointed Pedro Arenas as General Delegate.
The Council also spent some time examining the Ratio monalium for the formation of our nuns. The composition and editing of this project has been a collaborative effort of various nuns from Spain, Italy, the Philippines and the USA. The General Council approved the new text and ordered its publication by Edizioni Carmelitane.
Plans were also discussed for the online version of the Carmelite Directory project and for the publication of the Carmelite Dictionary, a joint venture with the Discalced.
The final plenary session of the sexennium will be held from 10 to 26 May 2007, and will include a visit to Florence for the celebrations for the fourth centenary of the death of St. Mary Magdalen de’Pazzi.
View of the Curia House in Rome
The Carmelite nuns of Guiguinto, Philippines celebrated their 40th anniversary with a solemn Eucharist presided over by Most Rev. Jose F. Oliveros, D.D., Bishop of Malolos and Most Rev. Deogracias Iniguez, D.D., Bishop of Caloocan, and concelebrated by 13 priests.
The Community of Carmel in Guiguinto, together with the foundresses of the monastery’s four daughter foundations, celebrated with joy and thanksgiving the founding of their first monastery in Luzon. Some 400 people, including tertiaries, relatives of the nuns, benefactors and friends attended.
On December 11, 1966, eight Carmelite nuns from the monastery of Santa Anna in Seville, Spain, upon the invitation of the first Bishop of Malolos, started the foundation of Carmel of the Holy Family in a temporary house in Meycauayan. The Community transferred to the definitive monastery in Guiguinto, Bulacan on October 3, 1971, then the Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.
With God’s blessing and the protection of our Most Blessed Mother, Carmel in Guiguinto has been graced, throughout its forty years of presence in the Diocese of Malolos with an abundance of vocations. Four new Carmels have been established: Carmel of Our Lady of Nazareth, Diocese of Cabanatuan (April 8, 1983), Carmel of the Immaculate heart of Mary, diocese of Alaminos (May 1, 1993), Carmel of Mary, Star of the Sea, Diocese of Antipolo in cooperation with the monasteries of Cabanatuan and Dumaguete (November 11, 2001) and Mater Carmeli Monastery, Diocese of Tarlac (December 7, 2001).
Affiliated to the monastery is a Chapter of Third Order of Carmel divided into six groups – Guiguinto, Malolos, Barasoain, Hagonoy, Calumpit, Santa Maria, and the Seminary Chapter.
A Carmelite Formation Center provides a spacious locale for the formation of the Carmelites Nuns, groups of other religious as well as pastoral and parochial activities.
The monastery in the compound of the Immaculate Conception Diocesan Seminary is a challenge for the sisters to be always in the heart of the local Church and to offer continuous prayers and sacrifices for seminarians and priests.
Busy Year Preceeds General Chapter in September
Much of my focus and that of the General Council is on preparing for the General Chapter. With only one Provincial Chapter to be held before September and the completion of the final canonical visitation of the Provinces, I am now working on my report on the Order for the General Chapter. This will be a rather extensive evaluation of many aspects of our life and work. According to the Order’s Constitutions, this report must be sent six months before the opening of the General Chapter. Our intention is to send a copy of this report to each member of the Order.
Besides the plenary sessions of the General Council, a number of important gatherings have taken place. Principal among these was the beatification of Mother Scrilli in Fiesole, near Florence, Italy. A few days after the beatification, a good representation of Carmelites went to St. Peter’s Square for the papal audience. I was very happy to be presented to Pope Benedict along with Madre Teresa Natalini, Superior General of Mother Scrilli’s sisters, at the end of the public audience.
The summer proved to be quite busy. I have already written in CITOC about the meeting of the Promoters of Justice and Peace in Fatima. I also took part in the course for formators in São Paolo shortly thereafter. In September, there was a large gathering of Lay Carmelites at Sassone, near Rome for a Congress on Communications and Formation. In early November I was in Peru for the meeting of the Carmelite Family on the Carmelite Rule. Each of these gatherings was open to the Carmelite Family. I believe it is a real blessing for the whole Order to be able to gather as one. The various perspectives greatly enrich the discussions as well as what one takes back to one´s own community and ministry.
This past year, I celebrated 25 years of ordination and 30 years of profession. The Curia community had a private celebration on the actual anniversary of my ordination on 5th July. In August, I had a second very pleasant celebration in Aylesford, England, along with other members of my Province celebrating various jubilees. I was moved that my community carried off another celebration in Rome in December along with the Superiors Generals of the Affiliated Congregations living in Rome as well as other Carmelite sisters representing several communities and many different countries.
Following our celebration of Christmas in Rome, I went to Brazil for the General Chapter of the Carmelite Sisters of Divine Providence and the annual assembly of the Flumen Januaris Province.
In what time remained, I have worked with Fr. Luis Arostegui, the Propositor General of the Discalced Carmelites, on a proposed joint letter to all Carmelites to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Formula Vita.