no. 4   july - august 2002



As part of the Six Year Plan of the General Council, the small commission formed by Fr. Giovanni Grosso (Ita), Fr. Desiderio García Martínez (Arago) and Fr. Rafael Leiva Sánchez, General Councilor and General Delegate to our Nuns, had a meeting at the General Curia June 5-7, 2002 in order to prepare a draft of the Ratio for the formation of our nuns. There will be an international meeting of Religious Assistants, Provincial Delegates for the Nuns, and of our nuns in Rome in 2003. We encourage the presence of a representative of our nuns at this meeting as the Ratio will be discussed.

A draft copy of the RIVC for Nuns, along with questions, will be sent as an ‘Instrumentum Laboris’ or base text for discussion. The questions may be answered by individuals, monasteries and/or federations.

The international meeting will take place in Rome at the Domus Carmelitana - St.Alberto from February 17-21, 2003. The development of an RIVC (Ratio) for the formation of our nuns will be the main topic of the meeting.


Responding to the six year report the Prior General is asked to give to the Vatican on the state of the Order, the Prefect for the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Cardinal Eduardo Martínez Somalo, wrote "The report indicated that during recent years you have had much cause for celebration."

The Cardinal went on to mention the promulgation of the new constitutions, the taking on of new missions, the celebration of the 750th anniversary of the Scapular, the doctorate of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and the canonization of Edith Stein as "opportunities for all Carmelites to reflect upon the uniqueness of your calling and charism."

The renewed emphasis on vocations and formation was also singled out by the Cardinal. "The publication of a new edition of the Ratio and the hope of producing a Directory of Carmelite Spirituality are to be commended. The importance of solid programs of initial and ongoing formation cannot be overemphasized," wrote the Cardinal.

He also commended the efforts undertaken to deepen the understanding of the essential elements of the Carmelite charism, particularly the Marian thrust and the emphasis on the communitarian and contemplative aspects of our calling and the rediscovery of the importance of Lectio Divina.

The Cardinal also congratulated the Prior General and the members of the General Council on their election. He asked for the Lord to "grant each of you the necessary graces to carry out this mission in peace and in joy."
The letter was sent from the Vatican on July 4, 2002.


Zimbabwe is a land-locked country in Southern Africa. It has a population of approximately 13 million people and gained its liberation from white minority rule in 1980. Since that time Robert Mugabe has been at the helm of power. He was recently returned to the Office of President in an election which many people considered not to be free and fair.

A high proportion of the electorate in the capital city, Harare, appear not to have been able to vote in the election as the number of polling stations was reduced from what they were in previous elections. In the run-up to the elections, quite a lot of intimidation was waged in the rural areas of the country. Since the elections, talks brokered by representatives of South Africa and Nigeria between the ruling party, ZANU PF, and MDC, the opposition party, hold out little hope for some form of reconciled and agreed strategy for tackling the many problems besetting the Country.

Unemployment is a serious problem and annual inflation for the last year reached 116%. Foreign investment is drying up and tourism, a big money-maker in previous times, has also suffered greatly because of the uncertain political climate. A drought in January and February of this year with the main crop, maize, almost destroyed, has plunged the country into a famine like situation with little help coming from the international community because of their concern over the recent election result and the land redistribution which is taking place in Zimbabwe.

The Carmelites arrived in Zimbabwe during 1946 and have since worked mainly in the eastern part of the country, although we now have a number of communities in Harare. One of the three original Carmelite pioneers, Father Luke Flynn, died during May of this year; the other two men, Bishop Donal Lamont and Father Anselm Corbett continue in active retirement in Ireland. Nine Zimbabweans have made their Final Profession in the Carmelite Order and there are about thirty young men in different stages of formation.
A congregation of Carmelite Sisters, The Handmaids of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, also minister in the Mutare Diocese.

The Carmelites have tried to be a supportive presence to the people during these difficult times. Although advised not to become politically involved, most Carmelites have continued to speak about the rights of the people to decide their own destiny, including the selecting of their leaders without fear of being intimidated or discriminated against. Our brothers have been involved in the writing and publishing of a number of statements and letters to the press concerning the number of infringements of human rights and about the absolute need for all sections of the community to work together in harmony and peace.


Calling for a new direction in the various Institutes associated with the Order and a renewed emphasis on promoting higher studies in the Order, the International Culture Commission, identified several areas that will be developed over the next several years.

Using the points highlighted in the General Council’s "Six Year Plan," the focus will be on networking the Carmelite Institutes throughout the world. Geographical areas which will be encouraged to develop an Institute were also identified. Particular attention was given to the Institutum Carmelitanum in Rome. Under the recently appointed Director, Patrick McMahon, O. Carm., the ‘Central Committee’ (8 members drawn from around the world with responsibility for directing the Institute) will be meeting in October to further develop its program.

Included in the planning of the Institute will be emphasis on the Carmelite library in Rome and ensuring the safety of the General Archives of the Order and their use by researchers.

The members of the Culture Commission reviewed the position of "Delegate for Culture" as created by the General Chapter of 1995. Several of the original tasks given to the delegate are now being done by others. However, the Commission felt that the delegate’s main role, creating an Order wide vision for advanced scholarship and promoting programs of graduate studies with Provincials and students based on the Order’s need, is not being addressed. Mark Attard, O. Carm., was appointed by the Prior General to this position following the meeting (see article on page 3).

The members of the International Culture Commission met in Rome May 4-7th, 2002.

Minutes of the Culture Commission meeting can be found at:


The members of the General Commission for Lay Carmelites met for the first time at the General Curia in Rome from 27 to 31 May 2002. The members of the Commission are: Miss Renée Prieur (T.M.), Mrs. Anita Renehan (Aust), Mrs. Rose Mary Lancellotti (Sel), Mrs. Amanda Rodrigues Jordão (Pern), Mr. Alfio Parisi (Ita), Mr. Daniele Pieri (Famiglia), Fr. Redemptus Valabek, O.Carm. (SEL), Fr. Giovanni Grosso, O.Carm. (Ita) and Fr. Josef Jancar, O.Carm., (General Delegate for the Laity). Mr. Jaime Lledó Patiño (Baet) was not able to attend.

The Prior General opened the proceedings with a word of welcome and with a reminder of the importance of the Commission for the whole Order. He then said that Tertiaries are integral members of Carmel and spoke of the importance of their formation.

In accordance with the agenda which had been developed, the Commission dealt with a wide range of matters:

1. The Commission saw the setting up of a permanent secretariat for the Lay Carmelites as a top priority. The secretariat would assist the General Delegate for the Laity in his task of animating and coordinating Lay Carmelites. It was recalled that the secretariat was one of the points strongly insisted on at the Congress in Sassone.

2. The Commission then considered the Rule of the Carmelite Third Order. The members spent a great deal of time studying the suggestions made at the Congress for the Laity in Sassone, as well as the observations made by the new General Council regarding the Rule. The Commission hopes to complete a revision of the Rule as soon as possible. In order to make this possible, the Commission appointed a sub-commission, whose task it will be to prepare a definitive draft of the Rule, taking into account the observations already studied. This draft will then be presented for approval to the General Council and, after that, to the Holy See. The time limit set for this project is the end of 2002 or the beginning of 2003.

3. Concerning "Isidore Bakanja," the news bulletin for Lay Carmelites, the Commission accepted the proposal of the International Communications Commission that the bulletin be incorporated into CITOC, the bimonthly publication of the Order. CITOC will be distributed to the communities of sisters and Lay Carmelites and not only to the communities of friars and nuns.

4. In order to accomplish these plans, it is important to set up a network of lay collaborators in the Provinces or in each country. In this context, as well as for other reasons, it was requested that an up-to-date International Directory of the Laity be published.

5. The Commission has also formulated a long range plan for the next six years. Apart from the points mentioned above, the following projects were also discussed:

- A description of the various lay groups within the Carmelite Family;

- Encouraging and supporting the role of young lay persons in the various groups;

- The preparation of a TOC Ritual;

- Intensifying the process of Carmelite formation of lay persons, including the preparation of a document on the formation of lay persons and a manual of formation for the whole of the TOC;

- Preparing a Congress of Lay Carmelites for September 2006.

6. The Commission strongly urges lay groups, on the local as well as on the Provincial levels, to organize a celebration of the Bull "Cum Nulla," which gave rise to the enclosed nuns and lay people within the Carmelite Order.

Further information about the International Lay Carmelite Commission can be found at the Commission's website:


The Irish Province website continues to go from strength to strength. At present there are on average 400 visitors per month to the site, which is a very good rate and to date they have looked up a total of 21,000 pages. The most popular areas continue to be the section on our houses followed closely by the sections on prayer and spirituality.

In March 2002, the website was listed with Doras, which has a golden pages style directory of Irish websites on the internet. As well as listing sites, Doras also awards shamrocks based on their review of the site. The Irish Carmelite site was awarded three shamrocks (the highest award being four) and the review was very favourable.

"The website … has a warm feel to it … with a mass of information on the Carmelite Order itself, saints, prayers, religious publications, archives, a sitemap, and links section. There are even speeches by prominent figures, such as President McAleese and reflections on daily readings. This site would be a useful resource for theology students, or anyone with an interest in prayer or religion," the evaluators wrote.

To help visitors get the most out of their visit, a new search tool has been added and is powered by Google—one of the very best search engines available on the internet. It allows visitors to look for a particular name or word in the entire site and quickly find what they are after.

The site is a tremendous tool for reaching people throughout the world and making the Province and the Order known. This is easily seen in the requests for scapulars which come from as far away as Indonesia and Malaysia, and requests for prayers which have come from various parts of the world.

An important and popular page provides reflections on the readings—from Saturday to the following Sunday, as well as a brief note on any memorials celebrated that week. The reflection for any one day is about 100 words.


Mr. Edmondo Coccia has been named as the new editor of Carmelus. He will take over at the beginning of the next year from Fr. Richard Copsey. Mr. Coccia is a professional translator of books and recently his translation of the Institutio Primorum Monachorum into Italian has been published by the Vatican Press. He also writes frequently for the Carmelite magazine, Madonna del Carmine.


The Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, O. Carm., announced that Fr. Mark Attard, O. Carm., completing six years of service as prior of the community of the St. Albert International Center (CISA), is being reappointed for a three year term.

He also announced that Fr. Mark would have the additional responsibility of "Delegate for Culture." As Delegate, he will be responsible for encouraging advanced studies and creating a climate of scholarship in the Order.

The Prior General also announced that Fr. Antonio Ruiz, O. Carm., currently the director of Edizioni Carmelitane, has been asked by his Province to accept a new ministry there. Fr. Antonio has served the CISA community as prior, treasurer, administrator of the Institutum Carmelitanum, member of the Permanent Formation team, as well as the director of Edizioni from its inception.

These announcements were made by the Prior General to the CISA community following the Eucharistic celebration for the close of the academic year in Rome on June 1, 2002.


The Curia, having received an invitation from the nuns to participate in the May 25th celebration of the Feast of St. Mary Magdelene di Pazzi, in the Monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Careggi (Florence) where the body of the saint is located, was represented by the Vice General, Fr. Carlo Cicconetti and by Fr. Rafael Leiva Sánchez, General Councilor for the Mediterranean Region and General Delegate for the nuns.

The ceremony was led by Bishop Francesco Saverio Salerno, Bishop of Cerveteri and Secretary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Segnatura. The Vice General concelebrated. In his homily, the Bishop recalled his days in the seminary, where the figure of the Italian mystic saint was held up as an example for the seminarians. Numerous religious and laity were present for the celebration.

On May 24, the Vice General and Fr. Rafael visited the Carmelite hermitage of San Martino alla Palma (Florence), founded by the nuns from the monastery of Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi in Florence.


The people of Malta celebrated the opening of the Centre for Marian Spirituality at the Lunzjata Carmelite Retreat Centre with a program of choral singing and talks. The event took place on May 31, 2002.

The principal talks were given by Alexander Vella, O. Carm., on "Mary and the Gospels" and by the Prior General on "Mary the Contemplative."

The Prior General took the opportunity to celebrate Mass in the Carmelite parish of Fgura for the closure of the academic year of the Carmelite school, St. Elias College.


A joint conference on the Rule was held in Dalgan Park, Ireland August 26-30, 2002. The gathering was facilitated by Eltin Griffin, O. Carm.

The presenters were Patrick Mullins, O. Carm., with a general presentation on "The Origins of the Rule," James McCaffrey, O.C.D., ("Biblical Roots and the Word of God in the Rule"), Christopher O’Donnell, O. Carm., ("Eastern, Palestinian Dimension of the Rule"),

Sisters Máire (Knock), Immaculata (Hampton), and Teresa (Roebuck) presented "The Eremitical Dimension of the Rule." Liam Finnerty, OCD and Sr. Patrice (Tallow) discussed "Cenobitical Dimension of the Rule."

The last day of the conference featured Christopher O’Donnell on "John Baconthrope’s Commentary on the Rule in a Marian Key" and Eugene McCaffrey, OCD on "St. Theresa and the Rule." Eltin Griffin, O. Carm., was given the task of pulling together the various threads, concluding the conference.

The conference was planned by a committee of O. Carm. and OCD Friars with the Council of the Association of Irish Carmels.


The IX gathering of the Carmelite Family on the Iberian Peninsula was held July 2-5, 2002. Over a hundred people from the Carmelite Family were present at the gathering which was organized this year by the Hermanas de la Virgen Maria de Monte Carmelo. Among them were Rafael Leiva Sánchez, Councilor General, in the name of the Prior General; Sr. M. del Carmen Aparicio, Superior General of the Hermanas de la Virgen Maria del Monte Carmelo; Sr. Encarnación Flórez González, (Hermanas Carmelitas del Sagrado Corazón); Manuel Bonilla Gutiérrez, Provincial of Catalonia and President of the Conference of Provincials; Luis Ortíz Serrano, Provincial of Castille.

Also present were many members of the Arago-Valentina, Betica, Castillian and Catalonian Provinces and of the General Commissariat of Portugal as well as from the two congregations of sisters mentioned above, and many Lay Carmelites.

The gathering was led by Antonio Vázquez Fernández, O. de M. and by Egidio Palumbo, O.Carm., of the Pozzo di Gotto Community in Italy.

From May 31 through June 2 the XV Congress of Lay Carmelites of the Arago-Valentine Province was held at El Carmen in Onda (Castellón) in Spain. Fr. Rafael Mª López Melús spoke on the origins of the Lay Carmelites and the papal bull "Cum Nulla".


A week long conference for novices and novice directors from the Northern European region of the Order, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Germany, Britain, and the Netherlands, took place July 28 - August 3, 2002.

The conference is a biennial event and was organized this year by David Fox (Brit), Sanny Bruijns (Neer), Gerard Westendorp (Neer) and Leszek Pawlak (Pol). The conference was held for the first time ever in the Carmelite Priory in Cracow, Poland, which was founded in 1397.

The novices also had opportunities during the conference to explore the city of Cracow. During the visit to Czestochowa the temperature reached 35° C/102° F!

A meeting was also held for formators (novice directors, student directors, and vocation promoters) of the region at Karmel John Soreth in Münster, Germany on September 2-6.

The meeting was facilitated by Christopher O’Donnell, O. Carm., of the Irish Province.

Taking part in the meeting were representatives of the German, British, Irish, Dutch, and Polish Provinces as well as the General Delegation of Bohemia and Moravia.




A month long celebration at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC honored the Carmelite spirituality tradition from the prophet Elijah to modern day saints. A special program on July 20, the feast of St. Elijah, the spiritual father of the Carmelites, launched this major event. The extraordinary tribute included what is being called "an unprecedented display" of numerous relics and art pieces contributed by several Carmelite monasteries and the National Shrine of St. Thérèse in Darien, IL.

"We are overjoyed to honor Carmelite spirituality with this significant exhibit," said Penelope C. Fletcher, Culture Center deputy director. "Most of these items have never been available for public viewing. This is a wonderful opportunity for people to see these spiritual treasures."

Much of the exhibit focused on St. Thérèse and included an almost life-size painting of her by her sister Celine Martin (Sr. Genevieve), a cloth box painted by Thérèse, her chair from her monastery cell and a drawing she did of North America.

Relics of other Carmelite saints and martyrs from the 14th through 20th century were also available for viewing. Among them were relics of St. Teresa of Avila, Blessed Anne of Jesus, companion and nurse to St. Teresa, the 16 martyred Carmelite nuns of Compiegne in the time of the French Revolution, three of the martyred Carmelite nuns from the Spanish Civil War, the 17th century nun Blessed Margaret of the Most Holy Sacrament, and St. Andrew Corsini.

The exhibit continued through the end of August 2002.


On July 21, 2002, the Carmelite Family in Negros Island, The Philippines, gathered at the Nuns’ Monastery of Nuestra Señora de la Maravillas and St. Joseph in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.

Some 150 Carmelite attended including the friars, pre-novices, lay associates, and tertiaries from Escalante Carmel in Negros Occidental as well as the cloistered nuns, the tertiaries and confraternities of Sibulan and Dumaguete, Carmel youth, the Carmelite Sisters of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and the Carmelite Sisters of Our Lady.

Fr. Christian Buenafe, O. Carm., the prior of Escalante Carmel gave a talk on the papal bull and a period of open sharing and a cultural program followed. The day concluded with a Eucharistic celebration.

Please send information about your celebration of "Cum Nulla" to CITOC at for publication on the website and in CITOC.

For more information about the papal letter and the celebrations for its 550th anniversary, go to:


Mount Carmel College in The Philippines celebrated its 4st anniversary from February 14-16, 2002.

The three day celebration began with a Thanksgiving Mass, presided by one of its alumni, Pedro Manilag, Jr., of Cebu Carmel. Anton Hoogland, O. Carm., preached at the celebration. He was one of the college’s theology instructors in the 1980’s and a former member of the Board of Trustees. Six other Carmelite alumni concelebrated.

The celebration also included exhibit booths, variety shows, games, a film festival, planting of trees, and a clean-up drive.

The launching of the Carmel Festival of the Arts featured painting, a dance showcase, stage play, musical concert among other activities. Mount Carmel also launched its fourth program of outreach through the Children’s Library of Hope where members from the college share reading experiences with the Filipino children in Northeast Negros.


April 15-16, 2002, the General Assembly of the French Delegation took place in Nantes. The Delegation has seven members: Gianfranco Tuveri, General Delegate and prior of Angers; Klaus Schenkelberger, prior of Nantes; Paul Feeley, hermit at Villefranche; Joseph Abad, pastor of the parish in Angers; Romero Gouvea de Lima, director of the Carmelite Center of Studies; Jordi Prunera, community of Nante; and Jean Pierre Sumbu. Yves Beaupere attended the end of the Assembly.

Carlo Cicconetti, Vice General of the Order, was present at the Assembly.

The General Delegate gave his report on the state of the Delegation which since October has left Bourges to the Polish Province and has accepted a parish in Angers. After the report, a frank and open discussion took place guided by Jean Friant, the former Superior General of the Brothers of St. Gabriel.

The most notable strong point of the Delegation is its internationality, together with its task of making a connection between the French culture and the Carmelite tradition. At Nantes there is a promising Center of Studies and a library with specialization in history and spirituality. Both are in the advanced stages of development. Last October at Angers, the Bishop entrusted the community with a parish in the central district, near both a school and the Catholic University.

The Delegation finds the small number of Carmelites and its difficulty in launching an effective vocational program its main difficulties.

The General Council will hold its next planary meeting December 9 - 21, 2002.


From July 5-7, the Indonesian Lay Carmelites took time apart for a spiritual retreat and to have an assembly in Malang, Indonesia, organized by the National Center for Lay Carmelites. Some 65 Lay Carmelites from Malang, Batu, Probolinggo, Surabaya, Jember and Jakarta took part. Fr. Florianus Buyung, O.Carm., represented the new community in Mauloo, Flores.

The major theme of the reunion was "Get Up and Eat Because the Journey Is Long" (1Kg 19:7).

In three sessions, Fr. Yulius Sudharnoto, O.Carm., and Sr. Merry Teresa, H.Carm., presented aspects of Carmelite spirituality so as to build a renewed spirit in the participants. It is hoped that the participants will share their experience with their own communities.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the participants presented a number of recommendations and decisions. One proposal was to form a National Council. The present members of the National Center of Indonesian Lay Carmelites will serve as the daily executive committee. The National Council, however, will include the National Delegate, the presidents (priors) of the communities, 4 members of the larger communities (Surabaya, Jakarta, Probolinggo and Jember) plus one expert. It is hoped that this group will meet twice each year.

The National Council will act as a research center for the whole Province and will also prepare formation materials.


The Titus Brandsma Award Philippines Foundation was officially launched on February 2, 2002, at the Titus Brandsma Center in Quezon City. One of its initial tasks was to award the second Titus Brandsma Award.

The Board of the Foundation decided to give the award to journalists from outside the metropolis, especially Mindanao.

"It is the challenge of bringing national attention to young but courageous journalists in the South who deserved more than applause, more than recognition from the society for the quality service they are rendering to the Filipino people in their continuous struggle for truth. Their selfless desire to uplift the plight of the Filipino citizenry from the bonds of ignorance and grief takes more than a cash stipend to repay."

The theme of this second Titus Brandsma Award was "Journalists of the South: A Challenge in Crisis."

This award is the Filippino version of the International Titus Brandsma Award given by the "Union Catholique Internationale de la Presse" (UCIP), the world forum of professionals in secular and religious media.


Chroniclers of different communities in the Filippino Commissariat convened for a "Chroniclers Meeting," a lecture-workshop intended to enhance writing skills and capabilities and to learn innovative writing techniques.

Nine chroniclers took part, representing a variety of communities—Christian Buenafe, John Gelio-Ano, Peter Kramer, Peter Manilag, Marlon Lacal, Eddie Albino, Sr. Nimfa Tangcuanco, Alain Balasabas, Normie Lacanilao, and Jofti Villena. One speaker focused on Church news and reporting while the second focused on specific suggestions for Carmelite news.

The two day event began with a dialogue on needs assessment and concluded with archival administration and records management.


Beginning August 4, 2002, FOCAL (Formacion Carmelitana America Latina) met for the sixth time. Some 32 participants, among them friars, nuns, sisters, and lay people took part, representing the various congregations and provinces of the ten countries of Latin American and the Caribbean.

The theme of the meeting is "Prayer: Source of Fraternity and of Prophecy."

The Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, O. Carm., and the General Councilor for Latin America, Carlos Mesters, O. Carm., participated.

The meeting concluded on August 17.


The theme of the 16th Annual Summer Forum on Carmelite Spirituality will be "Contemplative Prayer in a Time of Crisis". The Seminar will take place at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana June 22-29, 2003.

For more information, contact Keith J. Egan, Aquinas Chair in Catholic Theology, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or by e-mail: