no. 4 october - december 2004
Celebrations Around the World
150th Anniversary of the Institute of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
The Institute of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the foundation of the Institute with celebrations in a number of locations where the Institute has foundations. The Institute is a contemplative and active religious congregation that was founded in Florence, Italy on October 15, 1854 by Mother Maria Teresa Scrilli.
Today, the work of Mother Scrilli is being continued in Italy, the United States of America, Canada, India, Poland, Philippines, the Czech Republic and Brazil.
Celebrations in Italy started on September 5 in Montevarchi (Arezzo) with the celebration of the Eucharist by the Bishop Emeritus of Grosseto, Bishop Giacomo Babini. On October 15, a Eucharist was celebrated in a Roman parish by Carmelite Bishop Lucio Renna, Bishop of Avezzano. This is the anniversary of the day the four original sisters first put on the habit. Celebrations in Florence took place on October 21-23 beginning with Eucharist in the Basilica of Santa Maria del Carmine.
A bilingual Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated on October 17 at a parish in Toronto, Canada. The Canadian foundation began in 1949 in Niagara Falls, Canada. For the past twenty-three years, the Institute has been working in the Archdiocese of Toronto serving the community through Day Care Centers, parish work and nursing.
In 1975, the Italian community in Toronto built a facility for their elderly citizens known as Villa Columbo. The sisters were invited to offer assistance to the residents and have been providing a climate of family, warmth and loving care. The residents are provided with assistance in their medical, spiritual and basic human needs.
The sisters also serve in the neighboring parishes through the liturgical ministries as Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers and leaders of song. Religious education for the youth is provided. Their ministry includes visiting homes, reciting the Rosary with families and sharing the Word of God through Bible Study.
In keeping with the educational charism of the Order in 1981, the Institute built a non-profit Day Care in Toronto. In 1994, the Institute was called upon by the community of Maple to build a Daycare Centre and a Community Centre for the elderly in this rapidly expanding area.
While the primary work around the world is educational, the sisters also minister in hospitals and homes for the elderly.
During the Extraordinary Chapter on September 2, 2004, the members of the Polish Province gathered in the courtyard of the monastery in Krakow for the Prior General to bless the bust of the former prior of the house, Blessed Hilary Januszewski. Blessed Hilary was arrested and eventually ended up at the Nazi concentration camp in Dachau, Germany with several other Carmelites, including Blessed Titus Brandsma. Hilary volunteered to work in the infamous "Hut 25" which housed the prisoners with typhus fever. He died after 21 days, a few days before the camp was liberated by American troops.(CITOC photo)
For the last few years, the Provincial Commissariat of Zimbabwe has been developing a plan of strategies for the next ten years of the Commissariat. As several provinces are undertaking a similar process, CITOC is happy to publish here a summary of the process which involved members of both the Commissariat and the Province. A shorter version of this article was published in the English, Italian, and Spanish printed versions of CITOC.
As we prepared for the Provincial Visit to Zimbabwe February 2003 and for the Irish Provincial Chapter 2003, Father Fintan Burke, Provincial, in a letter during December 2002 encouraged that: ‘dialogue should begin between the Provincial and Commissary Councils on the development of the Commissariat over the immediate and medium term future’. In the same letter, Father Fintan stated that ‘the members of the Commissariat start a dialogue on a strategy for the development of the Commissariat over the next ten years under the heading of: Formation, Personnel, Apostolates and Finances’. Concerning Formation, Father Fintan stated that: ‘the responsibility for initial formation, including Vocations Ministry, must pass more and more into the hands of appropriate and suitably qualified Zimbabwean Carmelites’ and that ‘an andquate number of Professed Carmelites at Kriste Mambo Formation Centre and Mount Carmel Student House Harare be appointed to ensure that the lifestyle, values and ethos of the Order be passed on to those in Formation’.
The Provincial Chapter of 2003 mandated a feasibility study on the boarding schools in the Diocese of Mutare in which we were involved. Again, Father Fintan in his letter to the members of the Province, "New life for our Communities and Mission", July 2003 stated: "The need for Communities (in Zimbabwe) with adequate numbers following a 'forward plan' which would allow us serve the needs of the local Church while respecting fully the values of our Charism."
It was felt that a vision of the Zimbabwean Commissariat must be based on the living out of the Carmelite Charism and on the life of the Church in Zimbabwe. How best can we serve the Church as Carmelites, as brothers living in community, a prayerful brotherhood at the service of the Church and the World. The value of Commissariat Meetings and Community Meetings was also stressed. Regular Community meetings are essential and key factors in our way of life. They are a forum for discussion, communication and planning.
Father Provincial and members of the Provincial Council came to Zimbabwe during January 2003. The brethren, together with the Provincial and members of the Provincial Council gathered in Mutare on the 28th and 29th of January 2003.
At our two day meeting, the brethren reflected, discussed and shared our vision for the Zimbabwean Commissariat. Many of the `issues` in Fintan`s letter, December 2002 were shared. Our involvement in the administration of boarding schools in the Diocese of Mutare received much attention as did the age profile of the brethren born outside Zimbabwe and adequate numbers in each of our communities.
Father Provincial and all the members of the Provincial Council returned to Zimbabwe during February 2004 and attended the AGM on the 16.02.04. We all recognized that we had reached a key moment in the growth of the Order in Zimbabwe. It was now time for consolidation and planning so that the Carmelite presence and its mission in the local church be strengthened. During the deliberations of the AGM 2004 and after much reflection and sharing, the members were asked this question: "Where would we like our communities, our resources and energies to be centred on (a) now and (b) in five to seven years?" Also, the members present were requested to set down the priorities for the next seven years and the following priorities emerged:
Shortly after the AGM 2004, the Provincial, Provincial Council Members and the Commissary Council Members reflected on the above priorities and in discussion, suggested implications which may follow from them. These implications were set down in ‘The Mount Carmel Document’. A "Working Party" was established to facilitate preparation for the EGM. During early March, all the brethren received "a joint letter" from the Provincial and Commissary Provincial together with a letter from the "Working Party," the minutes of the AGM 2004, the "Mount Carmel Document" and an outline of the process for reaching decisions, to facilitate their preparation as individuals and as communities. The brethren were then requested to study and respond to "The Mount Carmel Document" in preparation for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) which was held in Mutare on the 15th and 16th of April 2004. It was suggested that the brethren in the Commissariat indicate to the Commissary Council, through the `Working Party`, decisions that could be made. Father R. McAinsh, CSSR, Harare agreed to facilitate the EGM, April 2004. It was felt that this was a key moment in the development of the Commissariat and it called for a unified response as we moved into the future. The number of young Zimbabweans is encouraging but they must be helped to live in supportive communities, praying together and working creatively in the service of the Commissariat. Another significant fact was the age profile of the brothers born outside Zimbabwe. A significant number of the brothers born outside Zimbabwe will be in their seventies in a few years time.
The Agreed Policy Statement, EGM, 15th and 16th April 2004 consisted of the following:
The Policy Statement which we drew up at the EGM gave a clear direction to the Commissariat for the next five years. The meeting was historic with the participation of all the members of the Commissariat including those in initial formation. The involvement of so many together with the Provincial and members of his Council gave the Policy Statement a strong authority. We had reached an important stage in the development of the Order in Zimbabwe. On the days immediately following the EGM the two Councils had many meetings and teased out the immediate and longer term implications of the Policy Statement.
It emerged very clearly that the priority given to vocations and formation and the age profile of the members born outside Zimbabwe demanded that we end our pastoral commitment in two of our places within the next year. We were very conscious of the workload of many of the brothers, the age profile of those born outside Zimbabwe and the welfare of our younger Zimbabwean brothers as they emerge from formation. We were very conscious that our younger Zimbabwean brothers have a right to a proper form of community life with the fraternal life that flows from it.
After further consultation with the brethren the decision was made to end our ministry in two of our places. The Commissary Council also finalised new appointments of personnel conscious of the wish that there be at least three brothers in each community while respecting age, culture and compatibility.
A 'joint letter` from the Provincial and Commissary Provincial was sent to all the members of the Commissariat and to all the members of the Province on the 11.06.04 together with a list of Commissariat Communities with the new appointments. All of the brothers were gracious in their acceptance of the appointments and decisions. These decisions were the first major steps in the implementation of the Agreed Policy Statement. It was also stated that not all of the appointments and decisions could be realised with immediate effect, some would take time.
It is our fervent wish that we continue to address all the items in the Policy Statement. The Commissary Council during subsequent meetings agreed that they would continue to address certain items in the Policy Statement. The Vocations and Formation Commission would address other items. The Kriste Mambo High School Advisory Board would address other items. An ad-hoc Committee dealing with Carmelite Spirituality and On-going Formation was formed to address certain items. An ad-hoc Committed dealing with Statutes was formed and another ad-hoc Committee dealing with Communications was formed.
The conclusion of the Agreed Policy Statement reads: ‘We affirm our belief in our future as Carmelites in Zimbabwe and therefore we mandate the Commissary Provincial and Council to begin immediately to take the necessary decisions that will allow us to realise the commitments made by us in this statement. We further mandate that a review of this policy document be undertaken at the next AGM’.
As a sign of their acceptance, all the brothers who were present signed the Agreed Policy Statement.
John McGrath, O.Carm.
The Carmelite Institute (CI), with its office in Washington, DC, was founded in 1993 by the five Carmelite and Discalced Carmelite provincials of the United States and Canada, with the encouragement of the Generalates of both Orders. It serves the needs of the entire Carmelite family-OCD and OCARM, friars, nuns, affiliated religious, and laity-as well as all those interested in the study and practice of deeper spirituality.
The CI recently hosted a major conference on "Carmel as a Sign of Hope and Healing in Our Troubled World," held 21-25 July 2004 at the Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago. Over 200 participants attended.
Speakers reflected on the pressing issues of our time and the resources our great spiritual tradition offers in meeting these challenges.
Featured presenters, and their topics, included:
The program also included a presentation on "Carmel as a Global Community of Prayer and Service" by Carmelite panelists from around the world, as well as a piano recital by James Boyce, O.Carm., assistant professor of music at Fordham University in New York.
At the conclusion of the conference, the two Generals (Luis Aróstegui Gamboa, OCD and Joseph Chalmers, O. Carm.) signed a document on behalf the conference participants endorsing the eight United Nations "Millennium Development Goals", a document subsequently presented to the United Nations by our Carmelite and Discalced Carmelite representatives on 9 September 2004 (see photo).
The Carmelite Institute hopes to make the proceedings of the conference available in videotape, audiocassette, and printed form.
(Above at top) Bishop John Sleiman, OCD,Latin Archbishop of Baghdad (Photo courtesy of Joseph Kerzich, PCM Communications)
(Above) Some of the presenters for the Conference of the Carmelite Institute in Chicago (Photo courtesy of Joseph Kerzich, PCM Communications)
The Carmelite nuns’ Federation of Mater et Decor Carmeli in Andalucía, Spain, organized two weeks of on-going formation for the nuns of its various monasteries during the month of September 2004.
The first week, September 6-10, had the theme "Introduction to the Sacraments: Focused on the Eucharist." This was taught by Professor Fernando Millán Romeral.
The second week, September 13-19, was dedicated to the theme of "Fraternity of the Carmelite Nuns in Light of the RATIO." This was led by Desiderio García Martínez, O. Carm.
There was a very good participation by the monasteries with help from various nuns in each of the monastery. Both courses were of great interest to the participants.
These two weeks of on-going formation courses coincide with the beginning of the courses for the temporary professed members. After participating in these courses, they continue their own initial formation courses until the end of October.
The Prior Provincial of the Lower German Province, Pankraz Ribbert, receives the profession of simple vows of five novices at the parish in Efoulan during a visit to the Province’s mission (Photo courtesy of the Lower German Province)
Pancraz Ribbert, the Prior Provincial of Germany Inferioris and Matthias Brenken, O. Carm., were guests of the community of Efoulan in Cameroun November 2-9, 2004. They witnessed incredible poverty everywhere and spoke of the strong efforts of their Carmelite brothers to remain self sufficient, growing corn, tomatoes, potatoes and vegetables. These are used also as feed for the chickens and will be for the pigs they hope to have in the future.
On September 3, the two visitors were to visit the new formation house, situated on a hill away from the center of Yaoundé. The construction is progressing well but will not be finished in the time originally set. They were assured that the students will be able to move into the new house at Christmas time. The building will be quite beautiful, with a spacious chapel, some community rooms, and 30 bedrooms.
Afterwards, they visited the Donum Dei sisters at Mbalmayo. It is thanks to these women that many of our young Carmelites in Cameroon took their first steps in the Order. On the evening of September 3, they attended in the reception into the novitiate of 4 young men.
On Saturday, September 5, Pancraz received the simple profession of the five novices in the parish of Efoulan. The following day, they were invited to join in the celebration of the blessing of the new parish in Koumou, in the Diocese of Yaoundé. The parish is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
In the remaining days of their trip, they held meetings with the Vicar General of the Diocese of Yaoundé as well as with the solemnly professed Carmelites. They also met with those responsible for the construction of the formation house.
A number of changes have occurred in the makeup of the Order since the 2001 General Chapter.
On the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Provincial Commissariat of the Philippines became a General Commissariat.
On September 24, 2004, the General Council, at the request of the Australian Province, approved the change in its name to the Provincia BVM Auxilium Christianorum Australiae et Timoris Orientalis. This reflects the reality that the Province has included both Australia and Timor Leste since August 16, 2001.
Over the summer, the Donum Dei students left CISA to take up quarters in their new residence closer to their Curia near the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Two monasteries of enclosed nuns were founded, "Carmelo di Maria, Stella del Mare" in Tanay, Philippines and "Mater Carmeli" in Tarlac, Philippines. The monastery in Duisberg, Germany closed.
Three communities of hermits incorporated into the Order. Communities of male hermits are located in Christoval, USA and Lake Elmo, USA. A community of female hermits is located in Monteluro, Italy.
In December 2002, both Putri Karmel (Daughters of Carmel) and Carmelitae Sancti Eliae (Indo), were affiliated to the Order. Both were founded by Johannes Indrakusuma, O. Carm.
Here are some of the other changes that have occurred in the first half of this sexennium:
(Number refers to listing in 2001 Status Ordinis)
Aberystwyth (#1) to Llanelli, Wales (Brit)
German Student House from Münster (#6) to Mainz (GerI #5)
The Carmelite nuns of the monastery of Vetralla, Italy are preparing to make a new foundation in the Czech Republic. Currently there are four nuns prepared to make the foundation, two Italians and two Czechs.
The monastery will be in Reznovice (Brno) where the bishop has given a church, a house, and a garden..