Carmelite Events

Carmel Manor Mass and Dedication

Friday, May 12, 2017 | Comments (0) | Permalink

Mother Mark, members of the General Council and other Carmelite Sisters attended the blessing of Carmel Manor's  new East Wing, the newly renovated St Joseph's Terrace and the outdoor memory garden.  The memory garden was donated by the Verst family.  Most Rev. Roger Foys of the Archdiocese of Covington, KY was the main celebrant.  Carmel Manor in Fort Thomas, Kentucky is one of the Homes sponsored by the Carmelite Sisters.


More Photos by Clicking the link below:

https://goo.gl/photos/QJpDJPtAA3sVSBjK8


 

 



Mother Angeline Ministers of Care at Yonkers

Thursday, May 04, 2017 | Comments (0) | Permalink

by Michael Guglielmo

April 29 saw the gathering of 35 parish volunteers from several churches in the Central Yonkers Cluster at St. Ann’s School Hall to learn more about Pastoral Ministry from the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. This event was sponsored by the Lower Westchester Advocates for Life, who hope to make an impact on the social isolation felt by many senior citizens and disabled persons in their community. The training from the Carmelite Sisters, using the Mother Angeline Ministries of Care program, brought the participants a long way toward achieving this goal. The Sisters were represented by Superior General Mother M. Mark Louis Randall, Sr. M. Peter Lillian, Director of the Avila Institute of Gerontology and Sr. Michelle Anne Reho.

Next steps include identifying leadership for additional training and securing support from local pastors. For more information on these important ministries, please see:

The Avila Institute on Mother Angeline Ministers of Care.

Photos courtesy of Michael Guglielmo

 



 


 



A Visit to Armagh and Clonoe Ireland

Wednesday, May 03, 2017 | Comments (0) | Permalink

On their visit to Dublin, Ireland for the Board of Directors' meeting, Mother Mark, Sr. Maria Therese and Sister Cyril went to see Father Benny . Father is a close friend of the congregation and an avid proponent of Venerable Mary Angeline's Cause for Canonization.  They went to see the magnificent cathedral on the hill in Armagh. The sacristan was kind enough to give them an impromptu tour of the cathedral.  They also proceeded to Clonoe in time to attend noon Mass at St Brigid's in Brocagh with parishioners.  Some of these parishioners are members of the Irish branch of the Mother Angeline Society.  During this visit, Mother Mark was given a certificate of membership and pin. After Mass, the Sisters visited St Brigid's School, where Venerable Mary Angeline attended,  and gave those present Mother Angeline's photo.  The children rendered a song and two played the violin.  Father Benny took the Sisters for a drive to Lough Neah which was near the house where Mother Angeline spent her early years. Overall, it was a very full day!

In awe of the great Armagh CathedralArmagh Cathedral
Mother Mark at St. Brigid School
Presented with a certificate and pinVenerable Mary Angeline Teresa
Lough Neah
Sr. Cyril at St. Brigid School


 



100th Fatima Centenary

Saturday, February 04, 2017 | Comments (0) | Permalink

by Sister Helena of Mary, O.Carm.

The year 2017 marks the 100th year of Mary’s apparitions to the three children at Fatima, Portugal.  In order to celebrate with dignity this centennial, Pope Francis has mandated a Jubilee Year, with the inherent plenary indulgence, from November 27, 2016 to November 26, 2017.

You can read more about it HERE.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middletown, New York  held an Enthronement Ceremony of a special statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on February 4, 2017.  There was Mass celebrated by Fr. Francis Amodio, O.Carm., Scriptural Rosary participated by both Lay Carmelites, Carmelites in initial formation and the public at large.  Our novice Sister Philomena and I attended.  Below is a short history of the Statue of Mount Carmel installed at the Shrine as found in the booklet circulated at the event:

 

"In the final Fatima vision on October 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Lucia Dos Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, clothed as Our Lady of Mount Carmel and holding the Brown Scapular in her hands.

Lucia joined the Discalced Carmelite nuns in 1947.  Father Donald O’Callaghan, O.Carm. and Father Albert Ward, O.Carm. visited Sister Lucia at her convent in Coimbra, Portugal to speak with her about how Mary appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the last vision.

With the help of Father Louis Gonzaga Oliveira, O.Carm., Father O’Callaghan commissioned the famous sculptor, Jose Ferreira Thedim to create a statue based on Sister Lucia’s interpretation of the vision.  The statue embodies the vision exactly as described by Sister Lucia.  Our Lady is holding the Brown Scapular in her hand.  The presence of Jesus as a child in this vision is also significant because he seems to be waiting and anxious to receive into his small arms all who will take the scapular.

The statue of the final vision was blessed on September 13, 1949 by the Bishop of Fatima before being shipped to New York.  It was displayed at Our Lady of the Scapular Carmelite Parish in Manhattan and blessed by Francis Cardinal Spellman on July 16, 1950.

The Carmelites left Our Lady of the Scapular-St. Stephen’s in 2007 but the statue remained in Manhattan.  In November 2014, Father Mario Esposito, O.Carm. asked that the statue be returned to the Carmelites of the Saint Elias Province and in July 2015 it was brought back to Middletown, New York.

Father Michael Kissane, O.Carm. directed that the statue be cleaned and restored to its former beauty.Plans are currently underway to have it permanently installed at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middletown, New York."

 


 

 

 

 

 



The 44th March for Life

Saturday, January 28, 2017 | Comments (0) | Permalink

by Sister Helena of Mary, O.Carm.

On January 27, 2017, Sister Philomena and I joined the hundreds of thousands of participants at the 44 th March for Life gathered in Washington DC.  It was a remarkable event, awe-inspiring, as people of all ages, religious and political backgrounds, gathered to show their united and overwhelming support to defend Life.

Even though this event was initially organized to end abortion legalized by the Roe vs. Wade court decision in 1973, the sweeping tide of the culture of death manifested in laws allowing for physician-assisted suicide and the widespread acceptance of the euthanasia mentality in our society, brought together people advocating for the elderly, the handicapped, the marginalized and the infirm.

We joined Rev. Robert Bubel and his parishioners at Saint Mary St. Peter Parish in Kingston, NY and left the parking lot at 5:10 am. We picked up a group of young people and the St. Augustine parishioners with their pastor half an hour later.The bus was 55 marchers full!The weather was exceptionally sunny compared to the previous years (there was a blizzard last year) , the strong wind gusts made it uncomfortably cold.  Even though as in every rally security was tight, it was exceptionally so this year because of the presence of VP Mike Pence who was one of the invited speakers.The mood was very joyful, with religious sisters, brothers, friars and clergy heavily notable in the crowd.  Sister Philomena and I held up our poster, which garnered some attention, with two groups asking permission if they could take a photo of us and the poster, for television! God only knows where it would show up! Keep your eyes open! We ended the day with a Mass offered at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel of the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

We returned after 1:00 am, wearied in body but buoyed up in spirit. It was great to be able to witness at the March for our elderly residents.  It was wonderful to be  part of something big- something bigger than we are.  We hope to be able to do this again next year!

 

 

 


Saint John of the Cross, Carmelite

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 | Comments (0) | Permalink

by Sr. Helena of Mary, O.Carm.

   

photo: Google

Feast Day: December 14th

Carmelite, Mystic, Doctor of the Church

The Carmelite Order celebrates the feast of Saint John of the Cross on December 14th. Saint John is first of my favorite male Saints, with St. Francis De Sales, as my second. Humanly speaking, his life was a story of poverty and sufferings but spiritually, it was a story of love between a creature and the Creator. To know Saint John we need to know some basic facts about him.

Juan de Yepes was born June 24, 1542 in Fontiveros, Spain. He had two brothers, Francisco and Luis. Luis died as a small child after his father's death. His father, Gonzalo De Yepes, belonged to a noble family of silk merchants. His mother, Catalina Alvarez, was an orphan girl who was raised by a local family and earned her living as a weaver. The two met when Gonzalo was on a business trip. Gonzalo fell in love with this attractive young woman and the two married "out of love" without the blessing of the Yepes family. Gonzalo was disinherited and the couple raised their family in hard work and financial straits but full of love and dedication. When Gonzalo died, Catalina was left to care for the boys. Life proved to be very difficult for her and the small family of three lived in abject poverty. Catalina assumed the heavy responsibility of feeding and raising her children. She was forced to move from place to place to look for a good paying job that would help her to meet even the bare necessities of life. This childhood experience of self-sacrificing love will form John and he would develop this subject and used it as a structure in his explanation of the Divine love of God and the standard of what our own response to God's love should be. His sayings of: "Where there is no love, put love and you will find love," "Love is repaid by love alone," "In the evening of life you will be examined in love," "When you experience something unpleasant, look at Jesus Crucified and be silent," are all sentiments formed by his own experience of self-emptying love.

Catalina was described as a very devout Christian woman who brought up her sons "with the greatest Christian spirit, and encouraged them to be devoted to the Mother of God." Years later, Saint John would recount a story of his childhood. He had fallen into a pond and a very beautiful lady appeared and stretched her hand to him in the motion of helping him. Young Juan refused to extend his hand to her because he did not want to get her dirty. A workman with a pole eventually fished him out of the pond and rescued him. Saint John often said that it was for this reason that he was very devoted and fond of Our Lady.
 
We cannot speak of Saint John without mentioning Saint Teresa of Avila. The two met when St. John went back to Medina del Campo to celebrate his First Mass after ordination. He had entered the Carmelites but felt unhappy thinking he was called to a more austere life of the Carthusians. St. Teresa had founded a reformed Carmelite community of nuns in the same town and was beginning a process of finding men to join her reform for the friars. This was to be a providential meeting. They met and talked and St. John confided to her his plans. St. Teresa for her part convinced John to join her reform and assured him that whatever he was looking for with the Carthusians, he would find in the Reformed Carmel. John agreed provided that he did not have to wait long.  John and Teresa suffered much for the reform of Carmel. It resulted in St. John being held prisoner for 9 months in a Toledo cell by his fellow Carmelite brothers. True to the practice of the times, he received the beatings and penalty imposed on a "renegade " religious. He was in a solitary confinement, deprived of any kind of mental or physical activity, in the cold and dark prison cell with a very small window to allow a little bit of light to enter. When the time ordained by God came, he escaped and made his way to a monastery of Reformed Carmelite Nuns in Toledo. They barely recognized him for they found him emaciated, confused and looking barely alive.
 
St. John's experience in imprisonment brought with it a purification of the purest quality. It would bring out the sparkle already in the diamond that was St. John. It produced the most beautiful poetry Spain  ever had, the 'Spiritual Canticle." John of the Cross would serve the Discalced Order in a spiritual way. He is considered to be the co-founder of the Order along with Saint Teresa of Avila. He died in Ubeda December 14, 1591 from a blood poisoning originating from a gangrenous ulcerated leg sore. He was beatified by Pope Clement January 25, 1675. His canonization occurred 50 years later on December 27, 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. He was declared a Doctor of the Universal Church by Pope Pius XI August 24, 1926.
 
Personally, I love Saint John because he is a true voice of Truth. He is dependable because he doesn't water down the demands of the Gospel. He points to what is true and necessary and does not mince words to soften the blow. He challenges but at the same time he comforts with his words of love and understanding. He demands but at the same time understands the frailty of human nature. He holds up an ideal but makes room for human weakness. He feeds us with the solid meat of the spiritual. He is austere but at the same time poetic and eloquent. He speaks of mortification and detachment but always in the context of loving. He reminds us that we are special and loved by God. He reminds that we have been bought by the blood and death of Jesus and that nothing - no suffering, no trial, no persecution- can ever make us repay what He did out of love. Except to love Him back.

Saint John wrote his major works of The Dark Night, Ascent of Mount Carmel, Spiritual Canticle and Living Flame of Love. He also wrote some prose, prayers and Counsels. We have some surviving letters he wrote.   Saint John of the Cross is known as the Doctor of the Dark Night. That is an inaccurate description. His dark night was only a means to the greater end of transforming union in love. He is a Doctor of Love. Only if we see him in this light, will we cease to be afraid of him and his doctrine.

What is St. John's relevance in our modern day and age?  I believe first and foremost that he, like John the Baptist", is the voice that cries in the wilderness, "make straight the way of the Lord!" His voice bears the impact of conscience.  Our lives can become filled with so many needs, longings and wants, ambitions and plans.  We find our plates full , and yet, still go away hungry and thirsty.  We find ourselves in a world of options and freedoms, and yet, find ourselves enslaved and limited.   We find ourselves soaring so high in our spiritual adventure, and suddenly, find ourselves on a rapid descent and sometimes ending with a fatal crash on the ground of life.  What does John of the Cross say to all these?  "On the way to the mountain, nothing, nothing, nothing. And at the top of the mountain, still nothing."  (Ascent of Mount Carmel).  God is much greater than all the goods of this earth.  Much greater than the loftiest of our spiritual experiences.  Much greater than our mind can conceive.  He teaches us that the ascent to union with God is accomplished in darkness and nakedness.  He teaches that God is not found AFTER the darkness passes, but that God is IN the darkness, and to embrace this darkness is the surest way to find God.  Faith, Hope and Love, the three things that last.  In the end, these are the surest guides we can depend on. We are living in these times of faith-crisis.  We look for signs and miracles.  We exalt grand spiritual experiences and gravitate to what our intellect can understand.  We are confronted by worldly idols and created some ourselves.  We put out our hands and frantically grab whatever makes us happy, only to be disappointed because they all make us feel empty.  In short, we look for God in all the wrong places.  St. John invites us to journey WITHIN.

 

Saint John of the Cross, pray for us!

Remembering Our Deceased Sisters

Friday, October 28, 2016 | Comments (0) | Permalink

As the month of November approaches, a special prayer service in remembrance of our deceased Sisters was held at Saint Teresa’s Motherhouse Chapel on October 28, 2016. It was attended by the Congregation’s Administrators and Prioresses who were at the Motherhouse for their meetings. The Avila Sisters also participated.  The names of the deceased were read.  "Heart Cards" bearing their names were placed on a beautiful trellis.  The participants then processed to pick a card and to pray for the deceased Sister whose name was on the card.  The prayer service brought back long gone faces of happy memories.

May the souls of our deceased Sisters rest in peace! May they receive the reward promised by Jesus to those who loved Him.

“I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.” (John 11:25)

 



 

 



Reception of the Carmelite Novice

Sunday, February 14, 2016 | Comments (3) | Permalink

On February 14, 2016 at 9:30 am, on the First Sunday of Lent, the Carmelite Sisters received a new novice, Sr. Mary Philomena Anne of Divine Mercy, O.Carm.  The Reception Ceremony was held in private at St. Teresa’s Chapel located at St. Teresa’s Motherhouse in Germantown, New York.  Father Paul Denault, O.Carm. was the celebrant.  The Reception Ceremony is held after the Postulant completes her eight months of living the life of the Congregation.  She is then received into the Congregation as a Novice and given the Carmelite habit, her religious name and the Rule and Constitutions of the Congregation.

We join Sr. Philomena Anne in this happy occasion and pray that her journey in Carmel will be blessed and bear abundant fruits for the glory of God!

 

CLICK PHOTOS

 

The Carmelite HabitOur Lady of Mount CarmelSr. Melissa at Prayer
The Reception Ceremony bookletFr. Paul Denault welcomes the Postulant
Fr. Paul blesses the new NoviceAvila Sisters congratulate Sr. Philomena Anne
Sr. Philomena Anne with Mother Mark, Fr. Paul and Council
Postulant Director Sr. Lois Ann with NoviceSr. Philomena Anne with some members of Formation teamSr. Lois Ann, Sr. Philomena Anne and Sr. Helena of Mary
Novices with their FormatorsSr. Pia Ignatius (senior novice) and Sr. Philomena AnneOur New Novice Sr. Philomena Anne
Sr. Philomena spent postulancy with Sr. Michelle MooreSr. Brigid and Sr. Michelle spent mission with Sr. PhilomenaSr. Philomena Anne with Sr. Helena of Mary (Novice Director)
Refectory Set-upReception Cake
Sr. Philomena Anne cuts her cake

All Carmelite Saints

Thursday, November 12, 2015 | Comments (0) | Permalink

by Sister Helena of Mary, O.Carm.

  

Photo: carmelitesofboston.org website

The Carmelite Order celebrates the feast of all its Saints on November 14th. This is a solemn commemoration and tribute given to the men and women who climbed the Mount of Carmel to seek the face of God and allowed themselves to be transformed by the Presence they found there. There were many of these Saints, although we only hear of the famous ones like Saint John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Blessed ELizabeth of the Trinity and others. Equally great in the Order are, St. Peter Thomas, St. Andrew Corsini, St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, St. Raphael Kalinowski, St. Teresa of St. Augustine and the Martyrs of Compiegne, St. John Soreth, St. Elisha, St. Albert of Trapani, Blessed Titus Brandsma, St Margaret Redi and many more! These are huge personalities in Carmel and we treasure them with their lives and examples of true love of God.

It is amazing the differences in personalities, social and educational backgrounds of these Saints. But despite the differences, they shared common traits that bound them to each other and to the great Order of Carmel. They all shared a deep love of the Order and the Church, love for Mary, Mother and Queen of Carmel and deep appreciation of the centrality of the cross as an expression of love and instrument of saving souls. The Carmelite spirituality is an affective spirituality. It is a spirituality that does everything to awaken love in the soul, a spirituality that uses love as instrument to attain to union with God, and a spirituality that makes love its end. St. John of the Cross is known for his "dark night" but he is called in Carmel as the Mystical Doctor of love. His poems are expressions of a soul enamored, of a lover seeking his beloved. St. Teresa of Avila was pierced by an angel's dart and the pain was an "effusion of love" that sealed the spiritual marriage between her and Jesus. St. Therese exclaimed "I have found my vocation. In the heart of my mother, the Church, I will be LOVE." Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity wrote to her friends wanting to know what she did in Carmel, "In Carmel, there are only two things to do, to pray and to love." This centrality of love is preeminent in the writings of our saints. Love for them is not just a word, or an effervescence of momentary emotion, but something that embraces sufferings and forgets self.

Our Saints show us the promise given to the simple of heart. They embody the beatitudes spoken by Jesus. We love them because they achieved what we long to be . Their lives show us that it is possible to experience God even on this earth, in the here and now. They make a hidden life beautiful. They prove to us that Mary is our Mother and as such she is always with us and that Carmel is a land flowing with milk and honey.

"I have brought you to Carmel to eat of its fruits."- Prophet Jeremiah

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

Monday, November 02, 2015 | Comments (1) | Permalink

 

by Sister Helena of Mary, O.Carm.

The Carmelite Order celebrates the memorial of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity on November 8th. Elizabeth was a beautiful soul who tasted the delights of contemplating God in the depths of her soul and invites us to do the same.

She was born on July 18, 1880 in a military camp of Avor in the district of Farges-en-Septaine, France to a military family. Her father, Joseph Catez, was a captain of the 8th Squadron of the Equipment and Maintenance Corps. Her mother, Marie Rolland, was the daughter of a retired Commandant. The couple was blessed with two lovely daughters, Elizabeth and Marguerite. The family moved to Dijon in 1882. As a child, Elizabeth was described to possess a terrible temper. She was inclined to bouts of tantrums and her early photos show her flashing eyes. It was said that a Canon close to the family exclaimed after being a witness to these outburst, “this child will either grow up to be a devil or an angel.” She is described to be quick-tempered and unable to manage her anger well. This character flaw will be foremost in Elizabeth’s mind as she strove to grow deeper in the spiritual life.

But despite this weakness, Elizabeth also was gifted with good natural qualities. She was naturally affectionate and did not think twice to show it. When one reads her letters to friends, her warmth and affectionate nature come through. She was loved wherever she went and was popular among her friends. She loved to travel and loved beautiful, fashionable clothes. She was an accomplished pianist and her soul was sensitive to everything beautiful and harmonious. It was this artistic soul that will open up for her the discovery of a Presence within her.

When her father died, Mme. Catez, Elizabeth and Marguerite moved to a smaller house not far from a Carmelite monastery in Dijon, France. In fact, it was so near to the house that Elizabeth could see the belfry of the chapel from her bedroom window. A great spiritual transformation occurred in Elizabeth during her First Communion in April of 1891. Her writings talk about her account of “being fed by Jesus.” This experience was the turning point in her life. From that moment onward, Elizabeth began a journey of self-discovery, self-mastery and self-conquest. She also discovered her vocation to Carmel.

It is wonderful to read Blessed Elizabeth’s writings because they are full of love and expressions of great longings. Her description and re-discovery of the mystery of the Divine Indwelling in her soul is so vivid that one cannot help but be immersed in what she is describing. Her writings are lofty and mystical and she spoke in the language of the mystics. She truly lived out her personal mission of being the apostle of Divine Indwelling in Carmel. Her appeal is different from St. Therese and yet Elizabeth read Therese's "Story of a Soul" while a Postulant in her Dijon Carmel. In a photo taken of her at this time with the Community, she can be seen holding this book next to Mother Germaine, her Prioress. There is a certain euphoria and excitement surrounding St. Therese but Blessed Elizabeth manifests a more subdued, serious and austere aura about her. She was very heavily influenced by the writings of Saint Paul and most, if not all of her writings, are meditations and reflections on the works of this great apostle to the gentiles. It was in one of St. Paul's letters that she discovered her personal mission in Carmel: to be "laudem gloriae", to be God's Praise of Glory. Being a praise of glory for Elizabeth meant becoming "another humanity in which Christ can renew the whole of His mystery." She expounds on St. Paul's cry of "filling up in my body what is still lacking in the sufferings of Christ." All these sentiments were not driven only by a pure sense of asceticism but more so because she understood that love is proven by the crucible of the Cross. " A Carmelite is a soul who has gazed on Christ Crucified, who has seen Him offering Himself to His Father as a victim for souls; and entering into herself under this great vision of Christ's charity, she has understood the passion of His soul and desired to give herself as He did!"

Elizabeth of the Trinity teaches me that God dwells in silence. The Rule of Carmel teaches that "your strength will lie in silence and hope." When asked by her Prioress what her favorite point of the Rule was, she referred to the practice of silence as indicated in the holy Rule. It is in silence that we must seek Him and we have to acquire that virtue of silence in order to allow God to communicate Himself to us. Being silent is not just the absence of words. Being silent more so means being abandoned, docile, submissive to the Spirit so He can accomplish his works in us. Being silent means having a “single eye” to view all things.  A silent and peaceful soul is one who is convinced that nothing happens by accident, no second causes, that God ordains all, and that everything is  grace. A noisy soul is one that constantly swims upstream, who constantly sees the danger behind every sacrifice, who measures every step so she doesn’t fall. It reminds me of the song The Rose -“it’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance, it’s the dream afraid of waking that never takes a chance, it’s the one who won’t be taken who cannot seem to give, and the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live."

Elizabeth died of Addison’s disease on November 9, 1906. She was beatified by Saint Pope John Paul II on November 25, 1984. Her dying words were “I am going to Light, to Love, to Life.”  In her own words:

“Let us live with God as with a Friend. Let us make our faith a living thing, so as to remain in communion with Him through everything. That is how saints are made. We carry our heaven within us, since He who completely satisfies every longing of the glorified souls in the light of the Beatific Vision, is giving Himself to us in faith and mystery. It is the same thing. It seems to me I have found my heaven on earth, since heaven is God and God is in my soul. The day I understood that, everything became clear to me, and I wish I could whisper this secret to those I love in order that they also might cling closely to God through everything."

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, pray for us!

READ MORE ABOUT BLESSED ELIZABETH