It has been said that a change of geography is good to revive the spirit; more so when the change of geography involves the Carmelites.  Irene and I have not long returned from Chicago (hence July news a little late!) attending the symposium titled ‘Pope Francis Points the Way for Carmel’ sponsored by the Carmelite Institute of North America.  This was an opportunity to mix with members of the Carmelite Family (OCD, O Carm Friars and Sisters, lay Carmelites) from the American Province and to exchange ideas and thoughts on what it means to live the ‘Carmelite Way’.

In his opening address, Fr Fernando, Prior-General of the Carmelites shared important themes picked up in his meetings with Pope Francis and referred to four points he recommended for the ‘Carmelite Family’ or ‘Tribe’ as he called it:

  • Be faithful and loyal – especially in times of disappointment, frustration, hurt.  Living the Carmelite vocation is a call to live by primarily by faith and not feelings.
  • Be open to change and innovative ideas and calls for courage for Carmelites to continually reflect on such questions as: What are we doing here? How are we doing this? Why are we doing this?
  • Be generous with one another.  Quoting St John of the Cross, Fernando said – ‘Put love where there is no love and you will find love’.
  • Be people of joy and gratitude.

We received a special mention from Fernando being an Australian presence at the Symposium. For more reflections on our experience look out for the blog on the new Carmelite Centre website.

Suggested Reading: Carmelite Explorers

I came across this article recently and it reminded me of the richness of being part of the Carmelite Family.  There are likely several groups in our Province like what is described in the article and I’m still working on identifying these groups in the hope we can further create some links and connections between them.

Following a suggestion last month for readings or articles that might be circulated, Philip Harvey, the Carmelite Librarian in Middle Park has kindly agreed to prepare a list of recommended articles or readings each month. I will include them in future news.

Monthly Moment

On July 26th in 1942, 75 years ago, Dutch Carmelite priest Titus Brandsma died in the Dachau concentration camp. In 1985 he was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II. In 2004, a Carmelite priest was diagnosed with an advanced form of skin cancer. Members of his order in Boca Raton, Florida, as well as parishioners of St. Jude’s in that city, prayed for the intercession of Blessed Titus Brandsma for Father Michael Driscoll. After ten years of intermittent treatment and observation, Fr Driscoll was discharged by his doctors. He was clear of cancer cells.

We had the good fortune to meet with Fr Michael in Chicago and this was one of the highlights of our time there.