Tag Archives: Discalced Carmelites

Dallas Carmel – New IRL Affiliate Community!

dallas monasThe Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Dallas, Texas, are one of the newest IRL Affiliate Communities. Their monastery, the Monastery of the Infant Jesus of Prague and of St. Joseph,  was founded in 1928 by ten refugee nuns who arrived from Mexico due to the revolution and religious persecution. They arrived from the Carmel in Tulancingo, Hidalgo, Mexico, which was founded in 1907.

The Dallas Carmelites are a cloistered contemplative community, totally dedicated to Christ in a community atmosphere of unity and constant prayer. Their daily ocd dallaslife is centered around the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Jesus—daily Mass, from which they receive the grace to live up to their calling. The hours pass in an alternating rhythm between prayer and manual labor. Simplicity of life, the silence and solitude of a hermit, the support of a loving community, all help to keep their goal in focus: “to be alone with Him alone.” They follow the 1990 Constitutions for Discalced Carmelite Nuns which requires that they celebrate the entire Divine Office every day in choir.

The Servant of God Rev. John A. Hardon, S.J., was the spiritual director of the current Prioress, Sr. Juanita Marie of Jesus Crucified. She spoke to him on the phone just thirty minutes before his death. She now seeks to lead the community with members that are a “living witness of a life consecrated to Christ that serves the Church through the hidden fruitfulness of Faith and self-sacrificing Love.”

Daily Mass at 7:00 am every day is open to the public. The Confraternity of the Holy Face meets every third Sunday at 3:30 pm and is also open to the public.


Carmelites – Doubly Blessed

Malaya Twins This vocation story is interesting because of the generosity of the family in offering two daughters to God, in this case twins, who made their solemn profession as Discalced Carmelites on February 14th, 2015.

The twins, Sr. Mary Sheila and Sr. Shirley Therese, age 25, became Carmelites in Sarawak, Malayasia. Twins are common in the family and these twins are one of four sets in the clan! Their mother Juliana, had a difficult first pregnancy with them and prayed that God would spare at least one of them. He doubly answered her prayers by preserving the life of both. When Sr. Shirley was diagnosed with leukemia at age 10, Juliana prayed again for the life of her daughter, promising if she were healed that she would offer this child to God. She was double blessed again, because both children accepted the call from God to enter religious life.

Rather than viewing this as a double loss, their father, Stephen said, “It’s not a sacrifice by the family. It’s a gain for the whole Roman Catholic community and we are all right with that.” The twins’ mother was instrumental in bringing a Sunday school to the parish and said that the twins at an early age showed a devotion to God, preferring saints’ stories to other books.  A friend said, “Juliana is a very hard-working Catholic and we can all see she has brought up her seven children very well. The twins are the eldest, followed by five other children who are all very obedient and God-fearing. She has set a very high standard for other Catholic women to follow.”

Their monastery in Mir, Sarawak, was founded in 1985 and houses ten nuns. The twins are the first members of the indigenous tribe of the Kenyahs to become Discalced Carmelites.

The brochure from the monastery states: “The Carmelite Monastery is an open witness to the reality of the presence and the existence of God, which in today’s broken world, is often denied. It is a reminder to the world of the validity of Gospel values.”

“In the hidden garden, the needs, joys, wounds and sorrows of the world are carried before the throne of God hourly every day, especially in the Sacred Liturgy.”

To read more, visit the Borneo Post (now that’s a great newspaper name!)


The Worldwide Carmelite Virtual Choir

st teresa choirOn March 28, 2015, the Carmelite family will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, foundress of the Discalced Carmelite Order and first woman Doctor of the Church.

In anticipation of this momentous event, Carmelite nuns and friars from around the world participated in a virtual choir, visually and musically demonstrating the familial ties that bind the Carmelites across the globe, all due to this Spanish nun who initiated a reform of the Carmelites in the 16th century.

Thanks to the wonders of computer technology, individual Carmelites in monasteries across the oceans, above and below the equator, did recordings in the comfort of their own monastery and submitted it on the virtual choir website where it was synchronized with many other voices from around the Carmelite worldwide community and compiled into a single choir.

Sr. Teresita Flynn of the Carmel, California, monastery was one of the singers. “I became so excited by the idea that nuns from all different countries were going to participate in this project to honor St. Teresa,” she said. “We actually didn’t have the equipment to make the recording, and I was very lucky that they prolonged the deadline, and also that someone donated a laptop so we could do it. I did it at about 5 minutes to midnight on the day of the deadline.”

The two songs were premiered at a August 2014 celebration of the life and legacy of St. Teresa of Avila in San Jose, California. Called “The Creative Spiritual Genius of St. Teresa of Avila Today,” it featured presentations by each branch of the Discalced Carmelite Order (Nuns, Friars, Seculars, Affiliates), a banquet, a special Eucharistic celebration, a concert and the two virtual choirs comprised of members of the Discalced Carmelite Order from around the world.

The three day celebration in San Jose, called “The Creative Spiritual Genius of St. Teresa of Avila Today,”  will feature presentations by each branch of the Discalced Carmelite Order (Nuns, Friars, Seculars, Affiliates), a banquet, a special Eucharistic celebration, a concert and the two virtual choirs comprised of members of the Discalced Carmelite Order from around the world. – See more at: http://vocationblog.com/#sthash.r5q5GglB.dpuf

The two songs, composed by Sister Claire Sokol, OCD, are Nada Te Turbe, a Spanish piece sung by Discalced Carmelite nuns, and Salve Regina, sung by nuns, friars and seculars. It can be viewed on YouTube. They are accompanied by the Teresian Orchestra of the Cathedral of St. James in Seattle, Washington. Listening to the angelic voices, one would think that they all were in one room, it is that perfect. Amazing. The PBS station KNPB is producing a documentary on the whole endeavor.

The phrase “Nada te turbe” was found in St. Teresa’s breviary after her death. It means “Let nothing disturb you.”

Let nothing disturb you; Let nothing frighten you. All things are passing. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God. God alone suffices.



The Prayers Continue in Oakland

Welcoming Mass 2012
Welcoming Mass 2012

The Discalced Carmelites of the Oakland diocese have a new home! After coming to the diocese in 2012, the Carmelites of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph have been living in temporary quarters at St. Monica’s Parish in Canyon, CA. Now, thanks to a generous benefactor, the twelve Carmelites will have a permanent home (see complete story).

This is not just any home! It is a Spanish-style, 60-room mansion that was built in 1925. From the west side of the home, there are panoramic views of San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. In the late 1940’s, it became the home of the Carmelite community of Berkeley who sadly had to disband because of low numbers. Of the four remaining nuns, two went into a nursing facility and two others moved in with another Carmelite community. The house was for sale and was sought after for a variety of uses. Happily, it will remain a place of prayer.

As I have mentioned before, this monastery is a foundation from the Carmel in Valpraiso, Nebraska. The Nebraska Carmel was founded in 2001 and this will be their 2nd foundation, the other being Elysburg, Pennsylvania (2009). The Tridentine masses are typically celebrated at the Carmel and the Liturgy of the Hours is also in Latin. I also read that they use the Rite of the Holy Sepulchre or “Carmelite” Rite, the first Discalced Carmel to do so since 1588.

St. Teresa of Avila, foundress of the Discalced Carmelites, pray for them.



The Carmelite Family Grows

alex sdIn their Christmas 2013 newsletter, the Discalced Carmelites of Alexandria, South Dakota, mention that they are beginning a new foundation in Hague, North Dakota, at the invitation of Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck. Forty acres of land including a farmhouse, outbuildings and a pond make up the property that was purchased by the Diocese. After suitable repairs are completed, the Carmel of the Holy Face will come into existence. They were blessed to receive donations from another Carmel of an altar, tabernacle, grating for the Choir, choir benches, Carmelite statues and books, and much more.

The Monastery of Our Mother of Mercy and St. Joseph in Alexandria was founded 17 years ago as a foundation from Buffalo, NY. It has been led with motherly wisdom by Mother Marie Therese of the Child Jesus during all those years. She has taught “us little ones to follow Jesus and Mary and to treasure and persevere in Our Carmelite vocations.”

The Carmelite Monastery in Alexandria has at least 19 members, including one novice, one postulant and five who made their first profession. They obviously are doing well enough to expand and bring blessings upon another Diocese!

The new foundation has not been without its challenges. Yet they quote St. Raymond of Penyafort who said, “May you never be numbered among those whose house is peaceful, quiet and free from care….Your purity of life must be made purer still, by frequent buffetings, until you attain perfect sincerity of heart.”

They also quote Tertullian who explains that while the old way of prayer “was able to rescue from fire and beasts and hunger even before it reached its perfection,” Christian prayer “gives the armor of patience to those who suffer, who feel pain, who are distressed. It strengthens the power of grace, so that faith may know what it is gaining from the Lord, and understand what it is suffering for the name of God.”

How happy it is to dwell in His house, in imitation of and with Mary in
Nazareth, as well as at the foot of the Cross, comforting Him through our
sacrifices, collecting and disseminating by prayer the grace won by Him through
the shedding of His Blood – under her gaze, to leave all to find All and to
spend one’s life in His Presence!



Happy Feast of St. Teresa of Avila

Today is one of the great feast days on the Church calendar!

St. Teresa of Avila by Sr. Marie-Celeste, OCD
St. Teresa of Avila by Sr. Marie-Celeste, OCD

God’s blessings to all of the Teresian Carmelites around the world as they remember their foundress St. Teresa of Avila.

In 2015, the Discalced Carmelites around the world will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of Saint Teresa who was born in 1515 in Avila, Spain. As is wonderfully typical, they are not just awaiting the big day, they are prayerfully preparing for the momentous day well in advance.

In August of 2014, various Carmelites from around the country and the world are coming together to sponsor a three-day seminar in San Jose, California, called: The Creative Spiritual Genius of Saint Teresa of Avila Today. There will be prayer, talks, solemn liturgies, music, a banquet, etc. all to thank God for this magnificent Doctor of the Church (the first woman to be declared so) and for the gifts of her charism active in the world today.

It’s not too soon to sign up! Visit www.stj500westernus.com for more information.

And to order copies of the picture of St. Teresa (pictured right) and other works of art by Sr. Marie-Celeste, OCD,  visit the Carmel of Reno’s website.


Infant of Prague Returns

When we hear the term “Infant of Prague,” we think of the small statue that adorns many churches and outside shrines. We may not realize that there is a Prague (captital of the  Czech Republic) and there is a statue of the Infant Jesus in the church of Our Lady of Victories in the capital of that country. After you read this story, you will never look at the statue in the same way again.

The Infant Jesus of Prague statue came originally from Spain and was sent to Bohemia (The Czech Republic) as a wedding gift in 1556. The statue was then given to the Discalced Carmelites attached to the church of Our Lady of Victory in 1628. During the Thirty Years War, the statue suffered along with the people and was discovered by a priest, Father Cyril, abandoned in a corner with both hands broken off. It seemed to Father Cyril that Jesus was saying to him:

Have mercy on Me and I will have mercy on you.
Give Me hands and I will give you peace.
The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you.

Father Cyril restored the hands and from then on, the city and the people seemed to be blessed and miraculous healings were attributed to devotion to the Infant Jesus. Many saints have had a love for the Divine Child as an expression of their profound reverence for Jesus in His Incarnation. St. Anthony of Padua comes to mind as well as St. Therese of the Child Jesus and St. Francis of Assisi.

Twenty years ago, after the fall of Communism in then Czechoslovakia, Father Anastasio Roggero, a Discalced Carmelite from Italy, was asked by Archbishop Vlk to take over the ruin of the church housing the Infant Jesus of Prague statue. The family who held the key to the unused Church used the sacristy as a room to hang their laundry. There was rubble everywhere and the miraculous status (can you imagine!) was in a side altar, abandoned and forgotten.

Today, four Carmelite Fathers that guard the Church welcome over 1,000,000 visitors a year to the shrine. Their most famous recent pilgrim was Pope Benedict XVI who visited in 2009. He “canonically crowned” the statue with a new crown that presently adorns the statue. (See YouTude video of the crowning). A Canonical Crowning is the highest honor a pontiff can convey on a statue of Jesus or Mary. It is one of two statues of Jesus in the world to receive such an honor. The President of Aid to the Church in Need, Father Joaquín Alliende, said at the time, “The gesture of the Holy Father is an expression of a profound truth. Even as a Child, Christ is already a King. The Child Jesus is the only King who can bring peace to the world.”

Read the whole story on the Aid to the Church in Need Website.


Leaving the World for the Sake of the World

Like unseen leaven in the world, cloistered contemplative Carmelites strive to foster a life of deep prayer and communion with God thus drawing all people closer to God.  As St. John of the Cross said: “The least action done out of pure love is worth more than all of the good works of the Church put together.” Fortunate is the country and diocese that has Carmelites praying for them!

The Founding Carmelites

It was 50 years ago today, May 27, 1963, that the Discalced Carmelites of St. Agatha, Ontario, moved into their new, permanent monastery, the Carmel of St. Joseph, from their smaller quarters in Kitchener, Ontario. Ten years earlier, they had arrived in Canada at the urgent invitation of the bishop to found the first English-speaking Carmel in Canada. As their numbers grew, the monastery was enlarged and as it continued to grow, a new foundation also under the guardianship of St. Joseph was established in British Columbia in 1991.

It seems amazing that there were no English-speaking Carmels in Canada until the 1950’s. The original sisters, three professed sisters and one novice, came from Cleveland Heights, OH, in 1952 from the Carmel of the Holy Family, a community who had recently sent 6 sisters to the Carmel in Kenya. The Carmel in Ohio traces its roots back to the first Carmel established in the United States in Port Tobacco, MD, in 1790.

One of the sisters in St. Agatha wrote that she was attracted to the Carmelite vocation after reading “The Story of a Soul” by St. Therese of Lisieux. She said, “During my 4 years at university, I have seen the tragedy of many who lived a lifestyle in the darkness of sin and refusal to love God, or even accept Him in their lives. I knew that those are the people who are in most need of prayer. I felt the urge to do something for them.” This woman is now following Christ’s example of prayer and sacrifice for the salvation of souls, for the Church and for all God’s people.

May those who “leave the world, leading a life of prayer and solitude, for the sake of the world” continue to intercede for the people of Canada.

Shining A Light in the Darkness

The pro-life movement will have one less person on the front lines when Kathleen Gilbert, LifeSiteNews Bureau Chief, enters the Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Buffalo, New York, on October 14th. Kathleen joined LifeSiteNews just before President Obama was elected to office and she hopes “God willing, I’m going out with him too.”

Kathleen is devoted to giving the unborn a voice in the world. She says, “There are many businesses in our world that exploit others. The business of killing has the advantage that the victims always keep quiet. That’s why the holocaust happened, why the unborn in America suffer another 9/11 every single day, and why Planned Parenthood’s business is booming: the dead don’t speak.” She tried to shine a light where others wanted it dark. And she hopes to keep the mission to protect life going, albeit, she will be doing it in a different way.

The monastery she is entering has an amazing history. In 1914, as as Mother Elias and a companion faced a firing squad in Mexico, Mother prayed: “Little Therese, if you are a saint, as some people say you are, then deliver us, and I promise to found a Monastery in your honor.” The shots rang out, the nuns sank to the ground and when they regained consciousness, their clothes were bloodied but they were unhurt. In 1925, on the day of the canonization of St. Therese, the Little Flower, the Carmelite chapel in Buffalo, NY, was dedicated, the first in the world to have the Little Flower as its titular Saint.

As the nuns state, “Our Rule and Constitutions represent the authentic charism of our Holy Mother Saint Teresa of Avila, who desired that her daughters apply themselves zealously to prayer and manual labor for the benefit of the Church and especially for priests. We humbly and gratefully wear the full Habit of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, observe strict Papal enclosure in order to safeguard the sacredness of the cloister, and cherish many traditional monastic customs such as the use of Latin and Gregorian Chant.”

May God bless Kathleen and all the Carmelites of Buffalo.