no. 4 october - december 2003
Joseph Chalmers, O. Carm., the Prior General, preaches during a Eucharist in honor of St. Thérèse of Lisieux at Aylesford, England on October 5, 2003. The mass was also to pray for those who have donated funds for the worldwide mission of the Carmelites through the Society of the Little Flower in Britain and Ireland. (Photo courtesy of Aylesford)
Carmelites Hold Seminar on Rule of Carmel in Australia
Mt. Carmel Retreat Center, Varroville, NSA (Australia) was filled to capacity with Carmelites and Discalced Carmelites July 7-15. The meeting was part of a seminar and workshop on the Rule, which is shared by both Orders.
Fr Greg Burke, a Discalced Carmelite and the Varroville community’s retreat director, remarked that the different traditions have sometimes been marked by misunderstandings and divisions. "So it was wonderful then to see the spirit of joy and peace that united all (at our gathering)," said Fr. Burke.
Carmelites Paul Chandler from Melbourne (Australia) and Patrick McMahon from Washington (USA) and Praeses of the Institutum Carmelitanum in Rome, led the participants in an exploration of the spiritual and historical significance of the Rule.
The gathering was followed by a retreat on the Rule for Carmelite laity and secular order members. Fr Greg said that it would be the first of many meetings and congresses for Carmelite religious and laity to further develop unity through friendships and collaboration.
Gathering of Students in Spain
The meeting of the young Carmelite candidates of the Iberian region was held September 23-25, 2003, in Salamanca, Spain, in the residence of the Castillian Province. The theme of the gathering was "Prophetism"
Some 27 religious attended from the various provinces in Spain, the General Comissariat of Portugal, the Italian Province, the General Delegation of France, and the Upper German Province. During the same period, the formators met to discuss their own formation projects.
Working with the group was Salvador Villota Herrero (Arag), David Oliver Felipo (Arag) and Sr. Magdalena Sánchez (HCSCJ).
The group visited Alba de Tormes and celebrated Lectio Divina with the enclosed nuns in Piedrahita (Avila).
Northern European Students Meet in Boxmeer
A meeting of the simply professed in the Northern European Region took place in Boxmeer, The Netherlands on July 21-25, 2003. The meeting was facilitated by Falco Thuis, O. Carm. Some 20 students participated.
For Thomas Feiten, O. Carm., a student of the Upper German Province, the gathering proved to be a good experience in many ways. "On the one hand, it was an enriching experience for me after four years of living in the Order. It was good to reflect on the experience of living the vows with others in initial formation."
One of the purposes in having such formation programs on a regional level is so that students are exposed to the internationality of the Order. "The gathering in Boxmeer was very interesting because we shared experiences with Carmelites from other cultures and other experiences of Church. It allowed me to get to know other young Carmelites and to spend time with them," reflected Thomas.
This was the first meeting of the simply professed of the region and was proposed last September at the annual meeting of the formators in the Northern European Region in Munster, Germany.
First Ever Assembly for Formators in Brazil
The first Assembly of Carmelite Formators of Brazil was held July 7-12, 2003, in the monastery in São Paulo. It included the participation of Carmelites from Argentina and Venezuela.
The meeting was centered on the theme "Who We Must Stand With: Fraternal and Prophetic Prayer in the Midst of the People." Some 20 formators and Carlos Mesters, O. Carm., General Councilor for Latin America, participated. The methodology was "to see, to decide, to act" within the church of Latin American, as a way of getting closer to the reality of the formation processes that are being developed in Latin America.
The section on "Deciding," included Edenio Do Valle, a member of the Dei Verbiti congregation. He presented some reflections from a psychological point of view of things that must be kept in mind during the formation process.
It was an very beneficial session, as it provided the opportunity to share some of the dreams, challenges, and fears that the formators face daily in working with the youth. At the same time, the participation of the Carmelites from Argentina and Venezuela provided a wider perspective of the formation process in Latin America.
International Carmelite Formator's Conference - July 8-11, 2003
Some 45 Carmelites, entrusted with the ministry of Carmelite formation, met at Aylesford Priory in Kent, England, for a two-week intensive program exploring the present situation and challenges of formation in the Order.
The Conference provided a forum for vocation directors and directors of initial formation to explore the theme of formation for community life, in which they were aided by expert speakers who presented current approaches to spirituality and human development. Expert Carmelite speakers from different countries came to parts of the conference to share the richness of their experience and learning.
Facilitated by Teresa Clements, DMJ, the program was developed by Alexander Vella, O. Carm. (Mel), Christian Körner, O. Carm. (GerS) and Charlò Camilleri, O. Carm. (Mel). Among the speakers was Kees Waaijman, O. Carm., a universally acclaimed expert on the Carmelite Rule from the Titus Brandsma Institute in Nijmegan, Netherlands, Quinn Connors, O. Carm. a psychotherapist from St. Luke’s Institute in Washington DC, led a process of reflection on ‘Forming for Chastity in Community Life’, Alexander Vella, O. Carm., prior provincial of the Maltese province and chief redactor of the Order’s formation document Ratio Institutionis Vitae Carmelitanae, Simone Gamberoni, prior of the formation community at San Martino, Rome, delivered a paper on ‘The Community As the Place Where People Grow’, Tjeu Timmermans, O. Carm., prior provincial of the Dutch province, spoke on ‘A Community in Mission’, and Desiderio Garcia Martinez, O. Carm. from Spain explored ‘The Role of the Community in the Process of Transformation’.
As well as sharing a strong sense of the internationality and multicultural dimensions of the Carmelite Order, the participants were pleased to have had the opportunity of visiting Aylesford Priory, many for the first time.
For more information: carmelites.info/formation
Reliquary of St. Thérèse of of the Child Jesus in Spain