no. 4 october - december 2004
Meeting of the Mediterranean Region Provincials in Malta - The Provincials, Commissaries, and General Delegates of the Mediterranean region met in Malta August 27-28, 2004. The meeting dealt with the various ministries of the region and projects for the future. Mark Attard, General Delegate for Culture, gave a report on the state of Culture in the Order. (Photo courtesy of Rafael Leiva, O. Carm.)
During 2004, a number of "fraternal visits" have been made to monasteries of the Carmelite nuns in Italy and Spain. Not all have been able to be visited in the current year and so the visits will continue in the coming years.
Carlo Cicconetti, Vice General, has participated in the visits in Italy. The Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, has made the visits in Spain. In both countries they were accompanied by Rafael Leiva Sánchez, General Councilor and General Delegate to the Nuns.
This year, the Centre de Formation Internationale Notre Dame du Mont Carmel, the formation house of Missionary Family Donum Dei in Rome, welcomed 42 young women from 10 nations. The opening of the formation year was marked on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, October 7.
As in past years, the students began the year with a day of retreat. The theme chosen for this year was from the writings of Don Marmion "Christ, the Ideal of the Monk."
The formation program provides a sound basis for the future Travailleuses Missionnaires de l’Immaculée. With the help of Marie Clémentine Paré, the Responsible General, and Agnès Brethomé, the Vice Responsible General, and the local formation directors, the young women receive the necessary training for their spiritual and prayer life. They also receive lessons on the Father Founder and on Carmel.
Over the year, there are courses on scripture, liturgy, the history of the church, the history of post ancient Rome, philosophy, dogmatic theology, fundamental and special moral theology, spirituality, music, and the Italian language. They will also receive restaurant training with a course in service and food preparation.
For apostolic work, the students participate in the morning Mass at the nearby Carmelite basilica of San Martino ai Monti. The second Sunday of the month, they do charity work, ironing the clothes of the poor who frequent a parish’s outreach to the street people of the area. One Sunday a month, they visit the elderly and sick in a local hospice.
The students are happy for the opportunity to spend two years of formation in the heart of the Missionary Family Donum Dei and of the Church in Rome where they are prepared to make first promises and to accept the mission that will be asked of them at the end of formation.
"To Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we entrust their academic year of 2004-2005 and we are thankful for every grace bestowed on us," said Thérèse Kadeba, superior of the formation community in Rome.
(Above photo) Some of the formation students of Donum Dei gather on the steps of the Centre de Formation Internationale Notre Dame du Mont Carmel in Rome. Because of the large number of students this year, Donum Dei has rented the top floor of the adjacent Carmelite Curia. (CITOC photo)
From September 12 - 20, 2004, four pre-novices participated in spiritual exercises in the Carmelite Community of Onda (Spain). They were Victor Paul Farrugia and Daniel Galea from Malta and Pietro Lorusso and Giuseppe Angelino of the Neapolitan Province.
The retreat was directed by Juan Bautista Cordero Cruz, O. Carm., of the Dominican Republic and member of the Arago-Valentine Province, who was ordained priest in Santo Domingo on August 28th.
On Sunday, September 19, they celebrated the beginning of Carmelite life and with that began the year of novitiate which will take place in Salamanca under the direction of their Novice Director, Desiderio García Martínez, O. Carm.
International novitiates have been held in recent years in the United States, Perú, and Italy.
The second annual Mass of thanksgiving for the Benefactors of the Little Flower Society was celebrated at The Friars in Aylesford, Kent, England on Sunday the October 10, 2004 by the Prior General, Joseph Chalmers. Approximately 600 were present for the Mass. Earlier in the day, there was a Gathering Service of Hymns, prayers and a talk on St. Thérèse by the Prior General in the Relic Chapel with some 400 people in attendance.
The purpose of the day was to give thanks to St Thérèse, the patroness of the missions, and to our benefactors from the Little Flower Society who through their prayers and generosity have enabled the General Curia to distribute £250,000 in the last two years to assist in the growth of the Carmelites in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
All ten members of the Commission were present for the Meeting of the General Commission for Carmelite Laity held at the General Curia House, Rome, 3-7 May 2004.
Josef Jancar opened the meeting with a prayer and a minute’s silence, remembering Redemptus Valabek, O. Carm., and his contribution to the Commission and his dedicated work with Lay Carmelites over many years. Former Prior General John Malley O. Carm., was warmly welcomed onto the Commission.
The six-year plan for the Commission was reviewed and found to be progressing well. Preparations are well under way for the International Congress for Lay Carmelites at Casa Beato Nuno in Fatima, Portugal, September 2 - 9, 2006.
The purpose of holding an International Congress was discussed and it was generally thought that a Congress: (a) offers an experience of Carmelite family; (b) an opportunity to exchange ideas; (c) value in listening to the experiences of other Lay Carmelites living the active/contemplative life in Carmel.
Work continues on the new Ritual for Lay Carmelites and is expected to be ready for the International Congress at Fatima in 2006.
The International Secretariat is in the process of being established at the General Curia in Rome. Many provinces have responded to the request for details of Lay Carmelite communities and other lay groups associated with the Order. This information is being collated for an international directory of Carmelite laity.
More information can be found on the Commission’s website at carmelites.info/laycarmelites
A meeting of members of the Culture Commission took place on October 1, 2004 at CISA in Rome. Because of the short duration of the meeting, members who could not attend were asked to submit their comments about the discussions for incorporation into the minutes. Future meetings will be held in conjunction with the Administrative Board of the Institutum Carmelitanum, since several members serve on both.
A survey of the goals outlined in the General Council’s six year plan, "The Journey Continues," shows that the projects are underway and that good things are happening on many different levels which will raise the culture of the Order. Among these is the library project, a number of provinces sending members on for higher studies, SPINE/SPIRIN of the Titus Brandsma Institute, and the creation of new centers of Carmelite spirituality in various regions of the world.
However, there are other areas which need renewed attention. Among these is the project to build a database of members of the Order with post graduate academic degrees. While some provinces have responded, others have sent in either no information or outdated information. In general, it was felt that there is little awareness among the provincials and provinces of the need to dedicate personnel and resources towards the cultural aspect of Carmelite life.
The majority of the meeting was spent on developing strategies to promote higher studies in the Order and to build an appreciation among our members for our very rich tradition and patrimony. Some of these were further discussed during the meeting of the Institutum Carmelitanum since any project with such scopes would necessarily rely on the Institutum’s resources.
The final portion of the meeting was a discussion of possible structural changes needed in order to systematically raise the level of culture in the Order.
Complete minutes of the meeting are posted on the internet at: carmelites.info/culture
Information regarding recent meetings of the International Commissions for Formation, the Study of the Charism and Spirituality of the Order, and the Finances can be read online at the website for each commission. All international commissions can be accessed from the website of the General Council (carmelites.info/generalcouncil) or with the following links: