On this beautiful Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, it is wonderful to highlight the Golden Jubilee of a daughter of Carmel, Sr. Tanya of the Carmelite Monastery in Latrobe, PA.
Sr. Tanya (born Tatiana) knew from age six that she had a desire for God. Though she frequently went to daily Mass with her mother at a nearby Carmel, she first spent some time with the Maryknoll Sisters before coming to Carmel in 1962. The Carmel in Latrobe was founded from the Carmel in Loretto, PA, in 1961. Sr. Tanya was one of the first two women to enter the new Carmel.
Sr. Tanya is a talented artist who painted the images of the Way of the Cross that are hanging in the the Chapel. She is an avid gardener and has great devotion to Our Blessed Mother and skillfully makes Rosaries to sell in their store.
Her sisters say that her fidelity to God and to the Queen of Carmel is manifest in her generosity and self-giving love.
With a public celebration of the Eucharist in August followed by a reception, the sisters will thank God for His goodness to her and to their community. Later this year, the Carmelites will begin a year-long celebration preparing for the 500th birthday of St. Teresa of Avila, who reformed the Carmelite Order.
May Sr. Tanya have many more joyous and fruitful years ahead, all to the glory of God!
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.
A new Carmelite Community has been established in the Diocese of Oakland, CA, with the arrival of 5 nuns from the Carmel in Valparaiso, NE. It is fortunate timing because another Carmelite Monastery recently closed after more than 60 years of prayer in the diocese.
Generous benefactors donated the land for the new convent. Temporary lodging will house the nuns and the additional ones who will join them later. A building able to house 21 nuns, the maximum stipulated for a Carmel by St. Teresa of Avila, is planned.
The Valparaiso Carmel also founded a Carmel in Elysburg, PA in 2009. They are obviously bursting with vocations. According to one site on the internet, they actually had 38 nuns in residence in Valparaiso in July! They are a traditional order of Carmelite Nuns with Mass offered in the Tridentine Rite.
For a list of societies and religious orders for men and women using the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, click here.
The Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Goonellabah, Australia, have a rich treasure that has bestowed many blessings on their community. Go to their website to see what it is. You won’t be sorry! (By the way, Goonellabah is an aboriginal word meaning “red flame tree.”)
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Mt 6:21).