When I was growing up, I remember Enver Hoxha claiming he had established the first completely atheistic country in the world – Albania. Nuns were driven out of their convents and priests were murdered. The homeland of Mother Teresa was devastated and impenetrable from all but those who pray.
Pope Benedict called Mother Teresa “this chosen daughter of Albania” who “proclaimed to all that God is love and that He loves every human being, especially those who are poor and neglected. In fact, love itself constitutes the true revolutionary power that changes the world and leads it forward towards fulfillment.”
Well, just recently, the Carmelites have established the first-ever Carmelite monastery in the country. A group of Croatian nuns from several communities have left home and homeland to bring the light of Christ to the Albanians in Nynshat. Monsignor Gjergj said that there was so much sin in the country and so many prayers are needed for healing and renewal. For years, the sacraments have been unavailable to the people or the people were not prepared to receive them.
The Carmelite vocation is to live a life of prayer and penance for the Church and for the sanctification of priests. Here, they also pray for the Albanian Church. Many people view the Church as simply a social service organization. He hopes the Carmelites will be a witness of the life to come that is prepared for by sacrifice and suffering and self-abandonment. Now a new springtime can begin.
Pope John Paul II visited Albania in 1993 and encouraged the people “to continue united and strong on the journey which leads to complete freedom.”
See this YouTube clip of the sisters inaugural time in their new homeland.