From Damien Peile Following last month’s news, I am keen to hear of more groups connected to Carmelite communities in addition to the ones I mentioned in the September news – Lectio Divina and Carmelite Learning Circle in Middle Park.
Two gatherings to highlight this month are:
- The Carmelite Sisters Kew groups, and
- The Meditation group in Middle Park
Sr Miriam from Kew Carmel mentioned some or their community activities:
- A prayer group who come on a Wednesday for prayer and study of the Carmelite tradition
- A group of icon painters that comes for a day’s painting every month
- Schools & other groups that come to the monastery to learn something of monastic life or visit for a talk and to see the church.
As Sr Miriam noted – ‘hopefully they go away with some kind of inspiration or, at least, something to think about’.
Peter Thomas facilitates the Meditation Group that meets weekly in the Middle Park. This group was started 15 years ago by Peter. As Peter stated: ‘Meditation does not attract huge numbers however cumulatively over the years there would be hundreds of people who have and are attending. A regular weekly session would be about 10 persons which on the occasion of an Introductory Program can swell to 15+ persons.
Groups like these create a sense of belonging within the Carmelite Family and have power to renew one’s spirit.
Send me your news about what is happening in your area so I can highlight in next month’s news!
Carmelite Librarian Suggested Reading – Philip Harvey, Carmelite Librarian
Mirabai Starr’s website says that she “teaches about the interconnected wisdom of the mystics of all spiritual paths, contemplative life, and the transformational power of longing.” That’s one thing. She teaches; she also translates. Her versions of St John of the Cross’s ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ (2002) and St Teresa of Avila’s ‘Interior Castle’ (2003) brought to popular attention a writer whose English is refreshing and direct. Thomas Moore has described her style as fluid and inviting. If you wish to connect with these great works then Mirabai Starr is a good starting place.
More recently she has produced an excellent translation of the ‘Showings’ of Julian of Norwich, a version used in the Carmelite Library’s last spiritual reading group on that medieval English mystic. And returning to Teresa, Starr has produced ‘Saint Teresa of Avila, passionate mystic’ (ISBN 978-1-62203-070-5), a collection of prayers and other writings, recommended to anyone wanting to go quickly into the liveliness of Teresa’s teaching. For example: “The important thing is not to think much, but to love much, and so to do whatever best awakens us to love.”
Monthly Musing Our Future
A member of the Friday Lectio Divina community is heading off to Rome for the 4th World Congress of Benedictine Oblates. He mentioned that the Abbot Primate has flagged his intention to direct the International Confederation of Benedictines to the effect that the future of the Benedictine charism lies now in the hands of Lay Benedictines. This reminded me of the former Carmelite Prior General, Fr Joseph Chalmers observation that the future of our Order will mostly come from Lay members who must make known what they are looking for and how the Order as a whole can help. I will look forward to hearing about Congress outcomes and deliberations.