no. 3   july - september 2007

Canonical Erection of the Province of St. Thomas of the Syro-Malabar Rite in India

During the 25th year of Carmelís presence in India, the Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, with the consent of his Council, erected the Province of St. Thomas of the Syro-Malabar Rite. This took place on May 11, 2007 in session 269 of the General Council. The Order was established in India on May 21, 1982, by the Upper German Province with the foundation of the first house at Carmel Nivas.

The Province of St. Thomas will come into existence on July 16, 2007. A first Provincial Chapter will be held on May 4, 2008. In the meantime, Sojan Neendoor, the current Commissary Provincial and his Council have been nominated the first Prior Provincial and Council. The Chapter will be held in the priory of Carmel Sadan, in Thrissur.

In June 1973, the Provincial Chapter of the Upper German Province approved a foundation in India and Joseph Kotschner, the Prior Provincial, traveled to India to look for opportunities for Carmel in the subcontinent. Following meetings with several bishops, the first group of students came to Bamberg, Germany, at the end of 1973. Two more groups followed in 1974 and 1976.

One year after establishing Carmel Nivas, the novitiate house was canonically erected. Five years later, the student formation house, Carmel Jyothi, in Bangalore was inaugurated. There are now eight houses in India. The Carmel Nivas house serves as the minor seminary and was the first center of the provincial Commissariat which was erected in 1993.

The new Province of St Thomas will have 58 solemnly professed members, 23 simply professed and 8 novices in the current year. The prospects for the future are bright with some 20 aspirants for the following year. The financial provision for the future Province is stable and sufficient.

The Indian Carmelites are involved in formation as well as parish ministry, preaching retreats, socio-spiritual activities in Kerala and run a mission in Andra Pradesh north of the state of Kerala.

The members of the new Province are also present in other countries. In 2000, the first Indian Carmelites went to Kenya and started a mission there. However, members of the Province are also working in Germany, Austria, Britain, Ireland, Canada, Trinidad, and in the USA.

The name St. Thomas was chosen as the name of the new Province because of the connection of the Apostle Thomas to the Indian church. The decree of the canonical erection is dated July 3, the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle.

Carmelite Family in Britain Celebrates 800 Years of Its Way of Life

Hundreds of members and friends of the Carmelite Order gathered in the northern English city of York on Saturday 5th May to mark the eight-hundredth anniversary of the document setting out their way of life, the Rule of Saint Albert. Saint Albertís successor as Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, was the principal celebrant at a Eucharist held in York Minster, by kind invitation of the Dean and Chapter.

Carmelites came to Britain in 1242, and to York within a decade, a fact reflected in the words of welcome by the Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Janet Hopton, MBE, and the Dean of York Minster, the Very Reverend Keith Jones.

The Eucharist, attended by various bishops and ecumenical guests, looked back with thanks for the development of the Carmelite Family, but also looked to the future and had a strong emphasis on prayer for peace in the Holy Land. During his homily Fr. Tony Lester, O.Carm., Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, reflected on the role of the Order within a Church whose structures are constantly changing and responding to the needs of society.

After the Eucharist Patriarch Sabbah took part in a Justice and Peace Forum at York St. John University addressing the situation of Christians in modern-day Israel-Palestine.

Carmelites Join With Church to Celebrate St. George Preca, Lay Carmelite

As the rain pour and the wind blew, Pope Benedict XVI canonised Fr. George Preca, a diocesan priest, founder of the Society of Christian Doctrine, and Carmelite Tertiary. Dun Gorg, as he is popularly known, was canonized in St. Peterís Square at the Vatican on June 3, 2007. He is the first canonized saint of the Maltese islands.

Preca was born on January 12, 1880, some steps away from the Carmelite Sanctuary in Valletta. In 1907, some months after his priestly ordination, he initiated the Society of Christian Doctrine. He was enrolled in the Carmelite Third Order on July 21, 1918, and professed on September 26, 1919. He chose the name Franco, for the Carmelite Blessed of Siena. In his writings, he calls himself a Carmelite Tertiary and very often uses the name Franco rather than his own name.

In 1952, the Prior General, Fr. Kilian Lynch, O. Carm., affiliated Dun Gorg to the Carmelite Order, in recognition of his efforts to spread the devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and to the Scapular. The saintly priest spent the last year of his earthly life in the Carmelite Parish in Santa Venera, and on July 26, 1962, the day of his death, he was assisted by the then Parish Priest Kilian Azzopardi, O. Carm.

Painting of Fr. George Preca, a Maltese Third Order Carmelite.

Carmelite Charles Mallia celebrates the Eucharist for the canonization of Maltese Third Order member in the society hall of the group Dun Gorg Preca founded. The Prior Provincial of the Discalced, Victor Mallia, delivered the homily. (Photo courtesy of the Maltese Province)

Carmelite, Martyr in Dachau
100 Years of the Birth of Blessed Hilary Januszewski Celebrated in Poland

The time of the Second World War and the Nazi occupation of Poland was a time of bloody persecution for the Church. In this dramatic confrontation between good and evil, the Catholic Chuch in Poland answered with the witness of a great number of martyrs. One of these was Blessed Hilary Paul Januszewski, a martyr of Dachau.

Paul Januszewski was born on June 11, 1906 a Krajenki, near Tuchola. As prior of the Carmelite house in Krakow, he attempted to save several members of the commuity who had been arrested by the dreaded Nazi SS. One member was released and Fr. Hilary was arrested and eventually sent to the Dachau Concentration Camp. There he was reunited with his fellow Polish Carmelites as well as two Carmelites from the Dutch Province, Fr. Titus Brandsma and Bro. Raphael Tijhuis.

Fr. Hilarius volunteered to assist with the care of inmates suffering from typhoid explaining to his fellow prisoners "There is no need for us here. I have made my decision fully aware that I am giving up my own life. I know I will not survive but they have need of us."

The Carmelite died just 21 days later of the disease, one month before the American Army liberated the concentration camp. He and 108 Polish martyrs of the Second World War were beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 13, 1999.

During the past year, the Polish Province has celebrated the 100th anniversary of his birth in a number of ways. Among the celebrations was a display of photos and documents from the life of Hilarius. On June 11, his 100th birthday, a Polish actor reenacted parts of his life and there was a musical concert. Recordings have been made of various people who knew Fr. Hilarius as a young man. Some of these will be incorporated into a webpage on Blessed Hilariusí life. All the material will be put in the archives for future generations.

The celebrations will close in October with a celebration for Hilarius as well as the Carmelites he tried to save. One, John Konoba, was set free in exchange for Fr. Hilarius. Five would die in Dachau and one in Auschwitz. Only Fr. Albert Urbanski would survive to see the concentration camp liberated.

Poster from the display of Blessed Hilarius Januszewski's life in the cloister of the Carmelite monastery in Krakow, Poland.

The profile in marble of Carmelite Blessed Hilarius Januszewski created for the monastery in Krakow, Poland to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth in 1907. Hilarius was prior in Krakow until his arrest by the Nazi SS and deportation to the Dachau Concentration Camp. (CITOC photo)

The Prioresses of the Italian Monasteries Meet in Sassone, Italy

The annual meeting of the Prioresses of the Italian monasteries took place on May 2-4, 2007 at "Il Carmelo" the Carmelite center in Sassone, Roma.

As in past years the meeting was an opportunity for the discussing the state of the enclosed communities, an updating on the progress of each monastery, and a sharing of the hopes which inspire the various Italian monasteries.

Stimuled by the presentation of a Clarecian nuns, the Carmelites could deal with some of the current questions facing contemplative life: the drop in the number of vocations, the value of witness, fidelity to the gift received, and openess to the sign of the times.

Among the themes dealt with during the reunion, the two week course of formation for the monasteries and the current state of the FEC (Fondo Economico Comune/Common Economic Fund) to which each monastery contributes were discussed. Also Sr. M. Regina del Carmelo of Fisciano was named the coordinator, for three years, to promote the common initiatives between the 14 enclosed monasteries in Italy.

The participants were very grateful for the presence of Prior Provincials Claudio Bellotti (Ita) and Mario Alfarano (Neap), as well as the contribution of Rafael Leiva, General Delegate for the nuns, and that of Emanuele Boaga, General Archivist.