Isidore Bakanj Bulletin
the news bulletin of the International Commission of Lay Carmelites

no. 2   july - september 2004

Carmelite Third Order in the Czech Republic

The collapse of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia at the end of 1989 opened the way not only to unrestrained development of religious communities but also to the renewal or rather fresh re-assembling of groups of Carmelite laity, i.e. the Third Order. Many volunteers and benefactors who helped the friars with the reconstruction of their monastery in Kostelní Vydrí, many parishioners in places cared for by the Carmelites, and other believers as well were interested in getting more closely connected with the Order.

The first group of tertiaries was established in 1991, the first common tertiary profession was made in 1992. At that time, people interested in the Third Order used to have formation meetings twice a year. The friars first began to give them a three-day retreat every year. Since the summer of 1996, the formation meetings have been organised at several places in the Czech Republic for the greater convenience of the participants. Also their frequency has increased to every month or every second month.

Thus the participating groups can grow in real companionship. These groups consist of people who are young and old. The basic tertiary guidelines are to be found in the Rule of the Third Order. Its proposal has been drawn by the Czech Carmelites, and will be submitted to the General Council of the Order to be approved.

This year, 66 novices made their profession during the national meeting of tertiaries in Kostelní Vydrí which was held on the day of Commemoration of the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady. Some 230 persons participated at this year’s retreat for tertiaries and friends of Carmel. Altogether our Order has about 200 Third Order members in the Czech Republic.

Housing Project for Samaroo Family

In 2002 the Lay Carmelite community of the Little Flower Chapter – South Trinidad, decided to build a house for a family of six. They lived in a 10’-x10’ galvanized hut and were one of the seventeen families the community cared for through their Thrift Shoppe. Having got the permission from the Land Settlement Agency to build around the existing hut, they started immediately. The neighbors began to complain about the ‘big house’ being built. After many complaints, the Land Settlement Agency asked that what had already been commenced on the house be pulled down. It was decided to move the family from squatter’s land and buy them a piece of land rather than run into trouble again with the authorities. In December 2002, land was bought in Bonne Venture for $15,000 and subsequently a 20’x20’ two bedroom house was built. It was seven feet off the ground with living room and inside steps and a downstairs kitchen, bath and out-house.

The top was made of wood and the kitchen and bath concrete. The Lay Carmelites painted it in white, tan and yellow and ran a spouting on one side of the house straight into a 400-gallon tuff tank for the family’s water supply. They furnished the bedroom with cupboards, beds and linen and the kitchen with cupboards, sink and a new stove. A living room set was sourced and a picnic table with two benches was made for the open dining room downstairs. A concrete sink was installed for washing clothes. As there was no electricity, kerosene lamps were brought in for each room.

The keys were handed to the family and Lay Carmelites moved the family from Gasparillo to Bonne Venture amid much joy. The entire project cost approximately $53,500. With grateful thanks to God and Mary and to all the benefactors and friends of Carmel.


Fifty-five Lay Carmelites participated in the Retreat held in April, 2004 - more than double the number of the participants for last year. This is a great sign of life for the Lay Carmelites in Kenya. Twenty-six members renewed their profession. Janet Wafula made her Final Profession at the end of the Retreat.

An historically important event for the Carmelite family in Kenya took place on 9 June. The foundation stone for a Carmelite House of Formation was blessed in Nkoroi, Ongata Rongai, in the diocese of Ngong. This event marked the official founding of the Carmelite Order in Kenya. General Councillor Fr. Anthony Scerri O.Carm was present for the occasion.

On 17 July the first two Kenyan Carmelite priests were ordained to the priesthood after completing their studies in Spain. The ceremony took place at the Cathedral in Machakos, about 100 Km from Nairobi. It was a very colorful event. There is a gtreat sense of joy amongst the people to know they now have Kenyan Carmelite Priests. The two newly ordained priests will go back to USA for completion of their studies and then return to work in Kenya.

The Lay Carmelites had a wonderful celebration as a group, at a Day of Recollection on 18 July in Nairobi. Members had an opportunity to share their experiences on the theme "My Life in Carmel" where they shared different experiences since they became Carmelites. It was declared a very enriching day.  

An International Formators Conference will be held in October in Kenya.

Jennifer Wajiku, TOC.

Lay Carmelite Jennifer Wanjiku has now completed her course of Higher Diploma in Counselling Psychology and is working in the HIV/AIDS clinic with an NGO at Nairobi.

New Appointment for Miguel Ubarri TOC

It is now official that Miguel Norbert Ubarri TOC will be working in the University of Antwerp, Belgium. He applied for a job as Spanish Literature Professor.

From Antwerp, they will build up an inter-university collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico, and the CITeS, in Avila (which is intended to be the University of Mysticism in Spain). He has received institutional support from the three institutions.

Congratulations Miguel!

Obituary: Maria Teresa Rullán Vda. Del Toro, T.O.Carm.

María Teresa Rullán Vda. Del Toro was part of the Carmelite Third Order of Puerto Rico and went home to God on Saturday, May 15, 2004.

María Teresa born in the city of Yauco, Puerto Rico, in 1921. In her youth, she was a follower of Servant of God Mother M. Dominga Guzmán Florit, foundress of the Congregation of Hermanas Dominicas de Ntra. Sra. de Fátima. At 28 years of age, she became a widow with three children. At the death of her husband, she consecrated her life to God with a vow of perpetual chastity and under the direction of Fr. Roberto M. Barreneche, O. Carm., she entered the Third Order, making profession on December 17, 1961. All through her life she was an exemplar mother, prayerful soul, and untiring worker.

She was not hindered from being active in the local Church and the Order where she was strengthened and matured in her spiritual life. In the Third Order, she was prioress of the Community of St. Teresita, responsible for formation. She participated in various international meetings. She supported the lay identity and the idea of a Third Order during the difficult years following the Vatican Council. Later, thanks to the support and enthusiasm of the new director, Fr. Tarsicio M. Gotay, O. Carm., María Teresa saw the fruit of her perseverance with the flowering of the Carmelite Third Order which today numbers 600 on the island of Puerto Rico.

She worked hard for the propagation of the devotion to Our Lady of Providence, Patroness of Puerto Rico, of Fr. Saturnino Junquera, SJ, and in the Cursillo movement.

Her funeral was celebrated in the parish of Santa Teresita de Santurce and was led by Cardinal Luis Aponte Martínez, Archbishop of San Juan and Bishop Roberto O. González Nieves, O.F.M., Archbishop of San Juan.

Printing Error in First Edition of Rule

In the first English printing of the new Third Order Rule a line was omitted on page 64 n.78. The missing line is: Those who live far from any community and cannot take part in (its life for specific reasons).

International Commission for Carmelite Laity

All ten members of the Commission were present for the Meeting of the General Commission for Carmelite Laity held at the General Curia House, Rome, 3-7 May 2004.

Fr Josef Jancar opened the meeting with a prayer and a minute’s silence, remembering Fr Redemptus Valabek, O. Carm and his contribution to the Commission and his dedicated work with Lay Carmelites over many years. Former Prior General John Malley, O.Carm., was warmly welcomed onto the Commission.

Topics discussed at the meeting include the new ritual, the up-coming international Congress, the Isidore Bakanja Bulletin, the Third Order Rule, the International Secretariat, and Youth in Carmel.

The six-year plan for the Commission was reviewed and found to be progressing well.

Preparations are well under way for the International Congress for Lay Carmelites at Casa Beato Nuno in Fatima, Portugal. September 2-9, 2006. The purpose of holding an International Congress was discussed and it was generally thought that a Congress: (a) offers an experience of Carmelite family. (b) an opportunity to exchange ideas. (c) value in listening to the experiences of other Lay Carmelites living the Active/Contemplative life in Carmel

The preparation for the new Ritual for Reception, Simple Profession and Perpetual Profession has begun. The suggested content presented to the meeting was very pleasing and further ideas were explored. Language and cultural diversity was discussed. The Ritual is expected to be completed in time for the International Congress at Fatima in 2006.

An International Secretariat is in the process of being established at the General Curia in Rome. Many provinces have responded to the request for details of Lay Carmelite communities and other lay groups associated with the Order. This information is being collated for an international directory of Carmelite laity.

The next meeting of the General Commission for Carmelite laity will be held at the Curia House in Rome 2-6 May 2005.

International Congress for Lay Carmelites 2-9 September, 2006 at Casa Beato Nuno, Fatima, Portugal


The Congress for Lay Carmelites will be held at the Carmelite Center in Sassone, Italy due to the large number of registrations and the limited space of Casa Beato Nuno.

A letter of convocation has been sent to all provinces inviting interested Lay Carmelites to advise the international secretariat by 30 September 2004 if interested in attending. The emphasis at the Congress will be on Communication and Formation. It is hoped that communities will encourage and support their formators to attend. The invitation is open to all Lay Carmelites and not only those members that the provinces may sponsor. There will be five talks with ample time for small group discussions and sharing.

Please contact: The Secretary for Carmelite Laity, Curia Generalizia dei Carmelitani, Giovanni Lanza 138, 00184 Roma Italia -- Email: