no. 4   october - december 2003

Incorporation of the Carmelite Hermit of Lake Elmo, MN Celebrated

The liturgical celebration of the incorporation of the Hermits of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary into the Order of Carmel in Lake Elmo, MN (USA) was held on September 28, 2003. As part of the celebration, the Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, received the solemn profession of four members of the community.

Fr. John Mary Burns, the Prior of the Hermitage, reflecting on the process of incorporation into the Order, said, "We are deeply grateful to Father Joseph Chalmers, his Council, and the entire Carmelite Order, for their willingness to receive us into the Order and for the great charity which they have unfailingly shown to us throughout the entire process of incorporation."

Also participating in the celebration were the Carmelite Nuns of Hudson, Wisconsin, William J. Harry, the General Councilor for North America and John Benedict Weber, the General Delegate to the Carmelite Hermits, and Fabian Rosetti, Prior of the Carmelite Hermits of Christoval, Texas, as well as friends of the hermitage.

"The Mass of profession was very beautiful and grace-filled, a point of arrival and a point of departure. It must have been very unique that four members of the Order of Carmel made their solemn profession in the chapel of a community of Discalced Carmelite nuns. The unity of the two branches of the Order is important to us; we hope that in some small way we can contribute to that unity," said Fr. John.

The Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, incorporated the hermits by decree dated May 14, 2003.

"We are privileged to share in its (the Order’s) living tradition and are joined in a new way to the first hermits who dwelt in solitude near the spring of Elijah on Mt. Carmel," concluded Fr. John.

General Council Makes Decisions Regarding Domus Carmelitana, Third Order Rule, and Future Planning

The General Council met at the Curia in Rome from October 7 – 17, 2003. A final meeting was held on October 23.

Reports from a number of visits to the Provinces as well as the Acts of Provincial Chapters that have been held since the last plenary session were reviewed. There was also a review of the feedback from the recently concluded Council of Provinces. The final message was approved and will be printed by the Edizioni Carmelitane in a small booklet along with some other documentation from the meeting.

A significant portion of the meeting was spent reviewing the recommendations of the Council of Provinces regarding the Domus Carmelitana in Rome, the recommendations of the recently completed professional evaluation of the operation, and the selection of the membership of the Board which will be created to establish policies and to supervise the operation of the Domus.

The English and Spanish translations of the text of the Third Order Rule were approved. These translations, along with the original Italian version and the French and Portuguese translations, will be printed and sold by the Edizioni Carmelitane. The text of the new Rule will be posted on the Lay Carmelite website before it comes into effect on December 8, 2003. Subscribers to the Edizioni Carmelitane mailing list have been notified by email about availability and cost.

Many of the future events that have been proposed were also discussed during this plenary session. These include a meeting of the Superiors General of the Affiliated Congregations and Institutes and the celebrations of the 400th Anniversary of the Death of St. Mary Magdelene de Pazzi, the 800th Anniversary of the Carmelite Rule, the Congress on the Carmelite Charism and the Carmelite Parish, and the Congress on the Carmelite Charism and Liturgy.

Appointments of new members of various commissions and other positions made by the General Council during the fall meetings are contained in the accompanying article.

The meeting on October 10th was the 100th formal sitting of the Council since the members’ elections at the 2001 General Chapter.

Celebration of the 350th Anniversary of Carmel in Boxmeer, The Netherlands

    On September 20-21, the solemn commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the Carmel in Boxmeer (The Netherlands) was celebrated.

On Saturday, around 200 members of the first and second Order of Carmel of the Dutch Province gathered with the associate members and members of "Karmelbeweging," Familia Carmelitana, in the Carmel of Boxmeer. Also present was the Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, O. Carm and William J. Harry, O. Carm., of the General Council, representatives of the British Province, of the German Provinces, and of the Dutch Province of Discalced Carmelites.

   The Prior General gave a talk on silence and transformation in the morning while a symposium about the significance of the presence of Carmel Boxmeer and the relationship between Carmel and the inhabitants of the village and parish of Boxmeer was held in the afternoon. Kees Waaijman, O. Carm., spoke about "the mystery of Boxmeer." This was followed by a concelebrated Eucharist, with the Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, the Prior Provincial, Tjeu Timmermans, and the Prior of the Boxmeer monastery, Eduard van Aalsum presiding.

"I was very pleased to be present at the 350th anniversary celebrations in Boxmeer. The town has a long and illustrious Carmelite tradition and the people certainly appreciate the presence and faithful service of the members of the Order," said the Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, O. Carm.

   There was time for silent prayer and time enough to encounter each other in an exposition of the history of the Boxmeer Carmel and during a meal for all the guests of this day.

   Sunday began with a Eucharist for the people of Boxmeer, presided by Bishop Hurkman. Joining in the celebration were the members of the ancient "Holy Blood Guild." Following lunch, a concert of the music of Carmelite Benedictus Buns (1642-1716) was held in the church. This was followed by an open house of the Boxmeer monastery for people from the city.

The Carmelites from Belgium came into Boxmeer in 1653 to build the first monastery of Carmelites in Holland since the Reformation (1568). Although during the Reformation the Carmelites lost all their monasteries, they had been in the Netherlands since 1249.

Opening of Canonization Process of Mother Asunción Soler Gimeno

The opening of the canonization process for Mother Asunción Soler Gimeno, foundress of the Congregation of Hermanas Carmelitas del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, took place on November 23, 2002. The proceedings took place in the Aula Magna of the Diocesan Seminary of Madrid, Spain. They were presided over by Auxiliary Bishop, Cesar Augusto Franco Martínez. Also attending, besides the many Hermanas Carmelitas, were numerous Carmelites, diocesan priests, and religious of other congregations.

Mother Asunción Soler was born on August 19, 1882 in Quart de Poblet (Valencia, Spain). In May, 1897, when she spotted two Carmelite sisters in a church, she felt attracted to the Carmelite vocation and asked her father’s opinion about her entry into Carmel. When she was miraculously saved from an attack by a bull, this was understood as a sign that she would become a religious.

On June 24th of that year, she entered the Hermanas Terciarias Carmelitas in Caudete (Albacete, Spain). In 1923, she left that Congregation and in 1924, inspired by God and helped by the Bishop of Málaga, Spain, Blessed Manuel González, she founded the Congregation of Hermanas Carmelitas del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús in that city.

The Congregation today is present in Spain, Portugal, Cuba, Mozambique, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela.

New Members Named to International Commissions and as Delegate for Donum Dei, and Lay Carmelite Secretariat

The Prior General and the General Council, during the September and October 2003 plenary sessions, nominated a number of new members to the International Commissions of the Order. They also nominated a new Secretariat for the Lay Carmelites.

Günter Benker (GerS), Desiderio García Martínez (Arago), Simone Gamberoni (Ita), and John Keating (Hib) will join the International Formation Commission. They replace Mario Alfarano, Sandro Vella, and Christian Körner who were elected as Prior Provincials.

Artemio Deguitos Jusayan (Neer-P) was appointed to the International Commission for Justice and Peace.

Pedro Bravo (Lus) was named to the International Commission for the Study of the Spirituality and Charism of the Order.

Former Prior General John Malley will replace Redemptus Valabek on the International Lay Carmelite Commission. Fr. Redemptus died as the result of injuries suffered in a car accident on August 5.

During Fr. John’s tenure as Prior General, much emphasis was placed on the idea of the Carmelite Family, an acknowledgement of the common roots of the various branches, affiliated Congregations and Institutes, the Third Order, the enclosed nuns and the friars.

In accordance with the provisions of #308 of the Carmelite Constitutions, the Prior General, with the consent of his Council, appointed Ms. Anita Renehan, a member of the Third Order from Australia, as Secretary of the Lay Carmelites.

In this capacity, she will be responsible for implementing the decisions of the International Lay Carmelite Commission and promoting communications between the various lay groups as well as with the Order as a whole.

Ms. Renehan made final profession in 1958 at Middle Park Lay Carmelite Community in Melbourne, Australia. She transferred to the Donvale community when it began in 1965. She has been very involved in various aspects of the Lay Carmelites, including as a member of the Australian Lay Carmelite National Council since it began in 1978. She was the first National Secretary and for the past 13 years has served as the National Formation Director, working with distant members through a correspondence formation program.

She attended the Carmelite Family Congress in Aylesford, England in 1991 and the Lay Carmelite Congress in Sassone in 2001. She was appointed to the International Commission for Lay Carmelites following the 2001 General Chapter.

Ms. Renehan keeps busy with her five adult children and nine grandchildren.

More information on Anita and the work of the Lay Carmelite Secretariat will be in the Isidore Bakanja Bulletin in the first issue of CITOC of 2004.

Josef Jancar, the Procurator General of the Order and currently General Delegate for the Lay Carmelites, was nominated by the Prior General to be the General Delegate for the Donum Dei. The Delegate represents the Prior General in his responsibility of seeking the well-being of the Donum Dei Missionary Family and to support and encourage its growth. He also replaces Redemptus Valabek.

These appointments take effect immediately and remain until the next General Chapter in September 2007.

More information, including the goals and work of the various Commissions, can be reviewed at the website carmelites.info/generalcouncil.




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