As I continue having conversations with various people I am often asked ‘what is the role you are doing’”? A fair question and I’m thinking about this a lot too.
As the role evolves my answer changes a bit but generally it’s something like ‘at the moment I’m identifying existing networks in the Province where people have the opportunity to find nourishment and support in their connection with the Carmelites. In time we hope to formalise these networks and key people linked to them.’
Thank you to those who are having these conversations and helping me formulate some thoughts. In particular this month – Denis Andrew, Paul Gurr, Adrian Jones, John Finn and Neal Crossan.
What has become clearer to me is the need to do more data gathering about what opportunities already exist for those in the Carmelite family to come together and then we can identify potential gaps and the people who may best be placed to help facilitate this across the province.
For example at Whitefriars College where I had a recent meeting they have an enrichment program to ensure that staff are given opportunities to become familiar with the various aspects and elements of Carmelite history, identity and spirituality. So far the roll out has included:
- Staff new to the College
- Current staff
- Middle leaders
- Senior leaders
Groups identified for future opportunities are:
- The Principal
- Parents and friends
- The Whitefriars Board
- Broader staff groupings
- The Alumni at Whitefriars
An idea we raised was in 2018 the Carmelite Centre could run two Saturday Retreats at Whitefriars and perhaps involve the Carmelite Sisters in facilitating. We will certainly keep these ideas afloat at the Carmelite Centre. I think the Carmelite Centre has the potential to be an important vehicle to provide formation opportunities within the Carmelite family.
The process at Whitefriars can be applied I think to all ministries in some shape or form.
There is no doubt people are impacted by their connection to the Carmelites and I am reminded of the stories shared at our Provincial Assembly in 2015 like thoughts shared by Nick Soraghan who said that ‘Carmel’ is found in people and he talked about his experience with Fr Noel and his influence. Nick said he also learned to see the benefit of ‘God’s time’ through his association with the Carmelites and the importance of reaching out to others through service.
It struck me on reading through these stories how powerful and sustaining this impact can be. Let’s never lose sight of that!