TWO NEW CARMELITE MONASTERIES OPENED IN THE PHILIPPINES
Carmelite monasteries have opened on the island of Luzon,
On November 11, 2001, the Stella Maris Federation inaugurated the "Carmel of Mary, Star of the Sea" monastery in Tanay, Rizal, near Manila in the Diocese of Antipolo. Bishop Protacio Gungon, D.D., blessed the provisional house. When the monastery is finally built, this will be the house for tertiaries or a center of spirituality.
The blessing and the Eucharistic concelebration, as well as the installation of the papal enclosure were very well attended by people from Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Manila, and Antipolo.
The first community is made up of nine sisters from different monasteries of the Federation. Mother Ma. de los Angeles de Jesus Perez, Sr. Ma. de Jesus Hervas, Sr. Ma. Esperanza of the Heart of Mary Cecilio, Sr. Mary Grace Bruno came from the monastery in Cabanatuan. Sr. Ma. Modesta de la Sma. Trinidad Menoza, Sr. Ma. Cynthia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Santos, Sr. Ma. Rebecca of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Valdez, Sr. Ma. Carmela of St. Therese Necodino (Jr) come form the monastery in Guiguinto. Sr. Ma. Lolita of the Assumption Narzabal comes from the monastery in Dumaguete.
Accepting the petition of Bishop Florentino Cinese, D.D., seven solemnly professed sisters from the Monastery of the Holy Family in Guiguinto, Bulacan, went to the Diocese of Tarlac to open the "Mater Carmeli Monastery" near Talac City.
The founding sisters were warmly welcomed in the Cathedral of Tarlac and in the parish of St. Ignacia where Bishop Cinese, all the priests of the vicariate, various civil and other ecclesiastical authorities, as well as members of the parish organizations and a good attendance of the faithful gathered for a solemn Eucharistic celebration.
The "Mater Carmeli" monastery was inaugurated in a provisional house of San Francisco, Santa Ignacia, Tarlac, as a daughter house of the Carmelite monastery of the Holy Family in Guiguinto. After the blessing of the house and reservation of the Most Blessed Sacrament in the small chapel, the canonical erection of the papal enclosure took place.
Sisters Ma. de San Jose Arquita, Ma. Victoria de San Jose San Diego, Ma. Teresa Margarita Medina, Ma. Josefina de la Resurreccion Nicolas, Sr. Arlene Marie of the Child Jesus Reporte, Sr. Lourdes Ma. de la Paz Cambi, Sr. Mary Ann of the Divine Love Inosanto have joined the new community.
"God willing, the ground breaking and laying of
the cornerstone for the definitive monastery will be held
on March 19, 2002," wrote the sisters.
The General Council met at the Curia residence in Rome from March 4-15. A number of issues were discussed, including additional planning for the myriad of events that will take place during the six years of this administration. Special attention was given to ideas for the celebration of the 550th anniversary of the papal bull "Cum Nulla" which established the Carmelite Nuns and the Lay Carmelites.
There were meetings with Mark Attard, prior of CISA, and the members of his council, Vincenzo Mosca, the Director of Domus Carmelitana, and Sandro Vella, who is responsible for the on-going formation courses.
There were updates on the trips of the Prior General and the General Councilors to the various Provinces as well as Provincial Chapters. Various financial matters as well as legal issues were also discussed. The Council also met for one day with the `Daily Board' of the Dutch Province during which the situation of the Province was described.
The 50th Anniversary of Simple Profession for two members of the General Council, Carlos Mesters and Anthony Scerri, took place with a Eucharistic celebration and dinner at the Curia on Saturday, March 9.
The next meeting of the General Council will
take place May 14-21 at the Curia in Rome.
The two General Councils of the Carmelite Family met on December 18, 2001 at the General Curia of the Discalced Carmelites. A variety of topics was discussed, including cooperation on future projects.
The next meeting of the two Councils will take place on May 16th at the Carmelite General Curia in Rome.
There have been close and open relationships between the General Councils of both Orders since John Malley and Camilo Maccise held the first meeting about ten years ago. Ever since, the two Councils have met regularly, usually twice each year rotating between the two Curia houses. For special events, longer meetings have been held in places of great significance for all Carmelites. The first such long meeting was held in 1999 on Mount Carmel as a preparation for the Jubilee Year and the second in Aylesford, England, in May 2001 to celebrate the Marian Year.
There have been three mixed commissions at the general level: formation, spirituality and for Latin America. During the past six years, seven joint letters were published to the whole Carmelite Family and of course we received jointly the letter from Pope John Paul II for the 750th anniversary of the scapular.
"We certainly hope that the excellent
relations, which have been built up over the past ten years,
continue to provide an impetus to all Carmelites to
work together in building mutual understanding," said
Joseph Chalmers, the Prior General. "We will find that
our efforts to make Carmelite spirituality more available
will only be strengthened if we work together."
The Carmelite Library of the Australian Province, with its unique focus on spirituality, aims to document the links that connect us spiritually to the story of the great Christian family of which we are a part. It links Carmelites especially to the inner story of that family, to the long history of its members' life with God. It allows us to connect with their experience and their hard-won wisdom.
This year will be a momentous one for the Carmelite Library. It is the best collection in spirituality and Mariology in Australia, and one of the best Carmelite collections in the world. However the library has long been overcrowded and is rather remote. The collection has been called a "national treasure" and the Province wants it to be of maximum use to people who wish to connect with the great spiritual tradition of the Church.
So after 65 years at Donvale, the library will be moving this year to more spacious and accessible premises in Middle Park. It is an expensive undertaking, but believed to be well worth it.
The hope is that the library will find a new vitality as a center for research and reflection, study and conversation about our spiritual heritage and our spiritual future. There will not only be proper shelving for the books, but for the first time will have space for lectures, reading groups, and other meetings, which we hope will enable us to connect in new ways with people seeking a spiritual life.
(adapted from an article in Carmel
Fr. J. Linus Ryan, O. Carm., was one of seven winners chosen from nominations by the Irish public to receive the "People of the Year" awards.
The 27th Annual ESB/Rehab People of the Year Awards took place on Saturday, November 19, 2001. The awards ceremony was broadcast live on RTE television.
An Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Rt. Hon. Bertie Ahern TD gave out the awards. Fr. Linus's citation read "In recognition of the outstanding success of the visit of the relics of St. Thérèse to Ireland earlier this year and his major achievement in bringing such a unique and enriching experience to the Irish public."
"Having organized the Annual Irish National Pilgrimage to Lisieux for the last 35 years and as a consequence, being well known to the authorities in Lisieux, in September 1998 I was asked by my co-trustees of the Thérèsian Trust if I would make an approach to Pére Raymond Zambelli, Directeur de Pèlerinage, about the possibility of the Relics coming to Ireland," said Fr. Ryan. "He received me very kindly and positively, but reminded me that my request would be granted only if there was a formal petition for the Relics from the Irish Bishops' Conference. This was quickly forthcoming through the good offices of my friend, Bishop Brendan Comiskey of Ferns."
On St. Patrick's Day (17th March, 1999 _ Feast of the National Apostle of Ireland) official confirmation of the visit arrived. Fr. Ryan was appointed by the Irish Bishops to co-ordinate the whole visit.
"It was left to me to decide how best to plan the whole affair and knowing that we could not visit every Church in Ireland, I decided that we would visit the Cathedral Church of each of Ireland's 26 Dioceses, as well as every Carmelite House. It was a mammoth task to get the whole programme underway and we needed all of the two years preparation," reflected Fr. Ryan.
The Relics were in Ireland from Easter Sunday, April 15 to Monday, July 2 _ a total of 80 days (cfr CITOC January-February 2002). Three million of Ireland's four million Catholics venerated the Relics, a percentage record, according to Pére Zambelli. The Irish Sunday Business Post of July 1 described the Relics visit as "the greatest mass movement of Irish people in the history of the country."
Both branches of the Carmelite Family, as well as a number of the Bishops, did tremendous work in updating our people on the spirituality of St. Thérèse during the two year preparatory period.
Seven months after the Relics have departed the visit is still a lively topic on radio and t.v. chat shows, particularly as it ran totally counter to the ongoing religious indifference and secularism in Ireland, as
elsewhere in the West. Experienced Confessors
were stunned at the numbers returning to the Sacrament
of Penance and Reconciliation.
To mark the conclusion of the Carmelite Marian Year on December 7, 2001, the eve of the Immaculate Conception, Cardinal Desmond Connell, Archbishop of Dublin, presided over Solemn Vespers in the Chapel of Terenure College. During the Vespers, the Cardinal blessed and consecrated a specially commissioned icon of Our Lady, "The Icon of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Terenure College."
Sr. Paula, OCSO, of St. Mary's Abbey, Glencairn, a leading Irish Iconographer painted the icon to commemorate the deceased pupils and staff of the College.
Following the Vespers, the Cardinal blessed
and opened the new extension of the College which
includes specialist rooms for Special Needs Education,
Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care, Adult Education,
general purpose classrooms, and a meditation/prayer room.
The Carmelite Community, pupils, and staff of the
College were indeed honoured to have the Cardinal as
their special guests for this wonderful occasion in
the College's 142 year history.
Two ancient traditions came together on the Feast
of the Conversion of St. Paul, January 25, 2002, when
the Christian Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt became
the new residents of Whitefriars Monastery in
Donvale. Whitefriars will soon be called St. Anthanasius
Theological College Melbourne.
Whitefriars Hall (Washington, DC, USA) and the Board of the Carmelitana Collection (The Carmelite Library, USA) honored Joachim Smet, O. Carm., the founder of the Carmelitana Collection by dedicating the Joachim Smet Resource Center in the Collection on Friday, April 12, 2002.
The Carmelitana Collection contains over 14,000 volumes of rare and modern books as well as a selection of microfilms and audio-visual materials. It is the most complete collection of Carmelite materials in the Western Hemisphere. The collection was started by Joachim Smet in 1948.
The celebration coincided with the annual
plenary session of the Carmelite Institute (Washington, DC).
Six brothers of the Dutch Province remain in the Commissariat and their contribution remains important. There are 24 Philippinos with solemn profession and five with simple profession, six novices, and eight postulants.
During his visit, Anthony Scerri, O. Carm., the General Councilor for Africa, Asia, Australia and Oceania, gave conferences to the community in Manila, to the novices, to the postulants and to the communities of Escalante and Cebu on the Final Message of the General Chapter and on the missions.
The General Councilor also visited the monasteries of Guiguinto, Cababatuan, and Dumaguete. He again gave conferences on the Final Message of the General Chapter to the nuns.
The monastery of Guiguinto has founded the
monasteries of Cabanatuan and Burgos, as well as the
recently founded monastery in Tanay. (See first story)
During the General Chapter in September, representatives of those Provinces with missions in Africa as well as interested delegates from other Provinces met to discuss ways of mutual cooperation. The Provinces of Italy (with the Commissariat in the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Great Britain (with missions beginning in Liberia), Baetica (with missions in Burkina Faso), and the Lower German Province (with missions in Camerun) expressed interest.
To follow up on the earlier discussions, a second meeting was held in Cameroon in February. Present were Anthony Scerri, O. Carm., General Councilor for Africa, Asia, Oceania and Australia, Anton Beemsterboer, O. Carm., Provincial of Lower Germany,
Claudio Bellotti, O. Carm., Provincial of Italy, Jean-Marie Dundji, O. Carm., Commissary Provincial of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Francisco Daza, O. Carm., Provincial Delegate for Baetica/Burkina Faso, Brendan Grady, O. Carm., Provincial Delegate for Great Britain/Liberia, Ubaldo Pani, O. Carm., Prior and Novice Master in Cameroon, Nestor Ndjango, O. Carm., the parish priest in Efoulan, Cameroon, and Guido Sartori, O. Carm., Prior of Nioka, Democratic Republic of Congo.
The mission in Burkina Faso began in January 2000. There are four professed religious (three Africans and one Spanaird), seven postulants and 10 aspirants. Three of the postulants study philosophy at the diocesan seminary in Ouagadougou.
One Liberian is studying in East Finchley, England. The Church in Liberia is young. There are 30 priests in the three dioceses of Liberia.
In Cameroon as in other places, the Donum Dei has been of great assistance to the Order. The biggest difficulty right now is to find formators. There are three students in philosophy, six novices (three Cameroonese and three Congolese), eight postulants, and 12 aspirants.
In the Congo, the formation process is already in place. There are five novices in Bunia and nine postulants. Eight students are in theology. At Kinshasa, the Commissariat has a house with 21 rooms for students and five for formators.
Because of the scope of the discussions, a small ad hoc commission was formed to study the implications and possibilities of collaboration between the various provinces in a formation program for these areas of Africa. Already the mission in Burkina Faso has offered to assist the British Province in the formation of candidates from Liberia.