no. 4   october - december 2005

XXV Anniversary of the Federation "Mater Unitatis"

On December 10, 2005, the Federation "Mater Unitatis" will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its erection. The Federation is comprised of the monasteries of enclosed nuns in Caudete, Huesca, Madrid, Onteniente, Piedrahita, Valencia y Zaragoza. The tridium of celebration of thanksgiving was celebrated September 12-14, 2005 within the on-going formation course that was taking place at the Monastery of the Incarnation in Zaragoza.

On September 12, the Assistant for the Federation, Alberto Yubero Perdices, spoke on the themes of "Examining New Journeys", "Discernment", and "Communion and Co-Responsibility: Perspectives and Steps for the Future."

On September 13, the President of the Federation, Elena Mª Samper Samper, read the letters of the Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, and of the Prior Provincial, David Oliver, both of whom could not be present because of the General Congregation taking place in Brazil. Following that, the Mother President gave a history of the Federation and spoke on some of the key moments in the life of the Federation. M. Mª de los Llanos Rodríguez Calleja, from Caudete, gave an evaluation of her time as president of the Federation from 1988-1998. M. Magdalena Carretero Muñoz, from Madrid and first president of the Federation, was also present.

On September 14, Fr. José Luis Cepero gave a conference "Quality of Life" calling for religious life to be lived in all its depth.

The three day celebration concluded with the solemn celebration of the Eucharist, with the participation of the three Federation presidents, the Council of the Federation, and sisters from all of the monasteries. The Mass was celebrated by Carmelo Gómez Gálvez, the Provincial Secretary, with José Luis Cepero and the chaplains of the communities as concelebrants.

Members of the Mater Unitatis Federation of enclosed nuns in Spain come together in the courtyard of the Encarnación monastery in Zaragoza, Spain.

XXV Anniversary of the Federation Mater et Decor Carmeli

The Federation of enclosed Carmelite nuns Mater et Decor Carmeli celebrated three days of thanksgiving for the 25th anniversary of the Federation. The celebration was held at the monastery of Sagrado Corazón and of Beato Tito Brandsma in Córdoba, Spain. Although December 10 is the actual anniversary, it was decided to take advantage of the fact that a large number of sisters had gathered for the formation course.

On October 9, there was a solemn celebration of the Eucharist with the Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, presiding. He was assisted by Rafael Leiva Sánchez, General Councilor and General Delegate for the Nuns, and the Prior Provincial of the Baetica Province, José Ramírez Román, and Alfonso Moreno González, the Assistant of the Federation, Juan Luna Santos, Prior of the community in Córdoba, the chaplain of the monastery, and Alberto Salas López, who had donated a tile mosaic for the entrance of the monastery and which was blessed before the Eucharist by the Provincial in the presence of everyone.

The day before, on October 8, Alfonso Moreno González, the religious assistant of the Federation, gave a talk on the history of the Federation.

The Federation was constituted by the Holy See on December 10, 1980. It is comprised of the monasteries of Antequera, Aracena, Cañete la Real, Córdoba, Estepona, Granada, Osuna, Sevilla, Tafira Alta, Torre de Moncorvo (Portugal), Utrera and Villalba del Alcor. Recently the monastery of Utrera founded a monastery in Machakos, Kenya. The current president of the Federation is M. Mª del Amor Gómez Martín, O. Carm., of Osuna.

Carmel Venezuela Takes a Pause

"Carmel in Venezuela has been the goal for a long time and remains the goal—one Carmel," said one Carmelite.

However, after five years of working at building a "Carmel Venezuela," the collaborative effort between the Baetica and Catalonian Provinces in Venezuela has been put on hold.

The Prior General and his Council met with the Priors Provincial of both the Baetica and Catalonia Provinces and Alexio Ordóñez, the Commissary Provincial for Venezuela for the Baetica Province.

"There is still a desire to be one Carmel in Venezuela but moving towards that reality will perhaps be a little slower. The number of Venezuelans needs to increase," said Alexio. "Perhaps God intervened in this."

Both houses in Caracas are student houses with the students attending the same school, ITER, which is the theologate for students from the religious orders.

"It is a pause to continue ahead later," reflected Alexio.

The Catalonians arrived to work in Venezuela in 1922. The Baetica Province began missions in Venezuela and Colombia in 1954.

Asian Region Plans Further Meetings

Following up to the meeting of formators of the Asian Region held August 21-27, 2005, the group is planning additional meetings.

Citing the asset that such meetings have been to formators in the area, the group proposed establishing a Commission of Regional Formation for the area. Dionysius Kosasih, O. Carm., and Martin Pulickal, O. Carm., from Indonesia and Pedro Manilag, O. Carm., from the Philippines were proposed as members.

A second gathering of formators was proposed for October 2006 in the Philippines.

Finally, a gathering of students in the region to consider the topics of leadership, human sexuality, enculturation of the Order’s charism and spirituality in the Asian context, and the effects of globalization on candidates to the Carmelites. It will also be an opportunity for the students to experience a bit of the internationality of the Order. The meeting is proposed to take place in early July 2007 in India.

The August 2005 meeting was held in Malang, Indonesia. Formators from Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Timor Leste, Australia, and Papua New Guinea participated. It provided an opportunity for the formators to discuss issues and concerns affecting the region’s initial formation. Addressing the group were Peter Go, O. Carm., (Indo) and Quinn Conners, O. Carm. (PCM).

XV Meeting of JUCAR of the Iberian Region of Carmelites

The XV Meeting of the guides of the young peoples’ group Monitores JuCar of the Iberian Region met at the College of San Enrique de las Hermanas in Valencia, Spain, on October 7-9, 2005. The reflections and the exercises are centered on the religious experience of the young people.

It was a weekend intense with fraternity, of life, and of joy. The exercises began with a reflection of Javier Cortes on "The Place of the Experience of God." He stressed the importance of developing the interior as the place of these experiences and even where one experiences the spiritual, the religious and the Christian. From this interior experience of Christ, all of our feelings become affected so that our life speaks of God, proclaims him, and can make him real. The 70 guides (monitores) went through this intense training the entire weekend which finished with the development of a manifest.

The meeting had some very intense moments of fraternity such as the vigil on Saturday night. The times of celebration and of prayer were well prepared by the coordinating team, a liturgy of the Word focused on the change of life that is required to be drawn near to the Light, the Word that breaks all of those things in this life that enslave us. In the times of group work, the young people were able to reflect on the feelings that are within their hearts.

There were young people from Madrid, Valladolid, Murcia, Orihuela, Alicante, Sax, Málaga, Onda, Villarreal, Zaragoza, Quart de Poblet, Bacor, Elda.

1) David Oliver, Prior Provincial of the Aragovalentine Province, (far right) and Manuel Gracia Villaescusa (Arag) (far left) join with a group of monitores of JUCAR (Juventud Carmelita) a very successful youth movement facilitated by the Spanish Carmelites.

Second Carmelite Monastery Founded in Kenya

The monastery of Carmelite nuns in Valls (Tarragona), Spain, began a new foundation in Kenya this past April.

The superior of the foundation, Sr. Joaquina Valls, 83 years old, and the nuns wrote in August "After the 13th of this month (August) we are in a rented house with a small chapel and have all that is necessary. We are located in the town of Juja, in the Archdiocese of Nairobi, some 11 km away from where it is planned to build "Carmel of the Mother of God." The parish priest of Juja Farm, which is where our house will be built, wants to build a simple but secure house alongside the current parish. It would be touching the parish where we could be spiritually assisted. Our sisters in Machakos have been marvelous with us. How good they have been! We have experienced that it is a true fellowship. They have been true collaborators in this intention of a foundation.

The address of the new monastery is: Carmelite Nuns; PO Box 361, 01001; Juja Farm; Kalimoni-Kenya

Fifth Forum in Inter-Faith Dialogue in Manila a Success

The fifth annual Spirituality Forum was held August 1-3, 2005 in Mark Horan Hall of Mount Carmel Shrine Parish in New Manila, Quezon City, Philippines. Thirteen speakers presented on six topics: Spirituality of Interfaith Dialogue, Christians in Dialogue With Indigenous Spiritualities in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Australia, Christians in Dialogue with Islamic Spirituality in the Philippines and in Indonesia, Christians in Dialogue with Hindu Spirituality, Buddhists in Dialogue With Christianity in the Philippines, and Christians in Dialogue with Emerging Spiritualities. An average of 175 people attended each day.

On August 4, a special tour of sacred spaces in Manila was organized for 32 participants. Stops included the Buddhist Temple in Malate, the Hindu Temple in Paco, the Manila Golden Mosque and the Shrine of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo. Lunch was served at L’Eau Vive Restaurant of the Donum Dei in Paco, Manila.

The second part of the course, held August 5-7, focused on Carmelite Spirituality in dialogue with other faith traditions. The Titus Brandsma Center played host to the 87 participants from various branches of the Carmelite family (Carmelites, Discalced Carmelites, Carmelites of Our Lady, Carmelite Missionaries, and the Sisters of Mt. Carmel) as well as members of the Third Order from both the Carmelites and the Discalced Carmelites.

The sharing of experiences of faith communities in different cultures in the Asian context included representatives from Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia. The possibilities and challenges of Carmelite spirituality being inculturated in Asia were highlighted in two presentations: Challenges of Asian Faith Traditions to Carmelite Spirituality and Carmelite Spirituality: A Source and Resource for Interfaith Dialogue.

A key highlight was a discussion of how interfaith dialogue can be part of the formation process of young Carmelites.

Institute Name Change

Celebrating its fifth year of existence, the Center for Spirituality-Manila changed its name to Institute of Spirituality in Asia (ISA), reflecting its status as an institute for all of Asia. The Executive Committee made the name change at its August 9, 2005 meeting.

The Board also elected its new chairperson and appointed the new officers of its Executive Committee. The General Commissariary, Artemio Jusayan will serve as Chairperson. Christian Buenafe will be the Executive Director.

Formation Course for Formators to Take Place in Nairobi

From July 24 – August 6, 2006, a formation course for formators entitled "Inculturation of the Carmelite Charism Today" will take place in Nairobi, Kenya.

The primary goal of the course is to help the formators reflect on the role and importance of the process of inculturation of the Carmelite charism in the various geographical areas of the Order. The course will begin with an analysis of the current reality in which formation takes place today. With the help of two experts the formators will work to deepen their understanding of the concept of inculturation. The final step will be for each formator to translate this into his or her own current situation.

Carmelites Quinn Conners (PCM) and Conrad Mutizamhepo (Hib-Z) will facilitate the course. Other experts participating are Fr. Elochukwu Uzukwu and Fr. Thomas Grenham. Fr. Uzukwu is a Spiritan from Nairobi and doctor in liturgy and inculturation. Fr. Grenham is a missionary of the Congregation of St. Patrick of Dublin, Ireland, and a doctor of religious inculturation and theology.

The course will take place at the "Dimesse Sisters Spiritual Center" in Nairobi. The arrival date is July 25 with August 6 as the departure date. The fact that the course is taking place in Africa offers the possibility for the participants to participate in liturgical celebrations within a variety of local cultures.

Inscriptions should be made by January 31, 2006 to the General Secretary in Rome by email (seggen@ ocarm. org) or by fax (+39 06 46 201 847).

XVIII Meeting of the Carmelite Family of the Baetica Province

Some 435 participants of the Lay Carmelites of the Baetica Province met at San Juan de Aznalfarache (Seville) on Apri 23, 2005. Following a presentation of the participants by Manuel Jurado Perea, Provincial Councilor for the Pastoral and the welcoming of the president of the group Don Miguel Ángel Dorado Aranda, the Lord Mayor D. Juan Roncoso Pardo greeted the group. The prayers of the day were said and a dissertation on "The Eucharist and Mary" by D. Carmelo María Santana, Third Order Carmelite and pastor of the parish in Villaharta y Ovejo (Córdoba) was given.

After a break, the Eucharist was celebrated with the Prior Provincial, José Ramírez Román, as main celebrant. Immediately afterwards, dinner was served at the Alcora Hotel. The meeting concluded with a short sightseeing trip to the monument Sagrado Corazón de Jesús.

1) Manuel Jurado Perea, O. Carm.