Spring / Summer 2017

Spring / Summer 2017


In September and October two women came for several weeks live-in with us to discern the possibility of a vocation. This is hard work for them and for us! Vocations cannot be made in Santa’s Workshop, so no matter how good we or they may be, or how hard we or they try, only God can give a vocation. So , we wait and see and pray, which are good things to do in the Advent season.


It is unique in several ways. Unique because it is being opened not by the Pope, but by a Bishop! Were you aware this could happen? Recent times have not seen this, but a “Bishop can open a jubilee year on the occasion of a particular feast in his diocese”. And so, this is just what Bishop Jacques Habert of Seez in France is doing! Another uniqueness of this jubilee is the occasion it is celebrating: the anniversary of a marriage! Is your suspense building up about what this is all about?Well, it is the 160th wedding anniversary of St. Therese’s parents, Zelie and Louis Martin. It is being called A JUBILEE IN ALENCON as that is where the Martins met and married and where their children were born. Saints Zelie and Louis are wonderful examples for couples and families. They were also the first married couple to be canonized together. It is hoped that the Jubilee will make them better known and bring pilgrims to Alencon where they lived. There will be special graces linked to the jubilee which begins on July 7-8, 2018 and closes on July 13-14, 2019.


Seems we just cannot put “The End” on our raccoon problem! They just seem to keep coming and coming and sometimes we catch two at a time! We must be getting close to 40in the number we have fed with marshmallows. Is there an overpopulation bureau out there for raccoons which can help?


We have brand new tables for our refectory that now match our cabinets which were installed several years ago. They are beautiful and made on site by our handyman, David. We are delighted with them and so are our knees which suffered some abuse from our old tables!The second addition also is a table, a gift to us from a very dear benefactor, Lee.This gift is an antique and is in our recreation room where we needed a table as well.It went into service the day it arrived!


Each of our monasteries is autonomous. What does that mean? It means each one is like a province, or a state having all it needs to live its life with some independence. This is a blessing, but like all earthly things, it also has its limitations. To give an example, it was extremely difficult after Vatican II to get all the necessary information for renewal from monasteries all over the world because there was no central authority to do this. So, questionnaires were sent to each Carmel and, unfortunately, the questions required essay–like answers! Many Carmelites joke among ourselves saying that some cellar in Rome is filled with these questionnaire answers that were probably never read! It really was an impossible task. Pope Francis wants all contemplative communities to join a Federation of some sort which would help with this autonomous situation. The one we belong to has started ‘sisterly visits’ to provide active, mutual support to the identified needs of our communities’. Two Carmelites, representing the leadership team came to us in August. We shared and looked at strengths and weaknessesand possibilities for ourselves and for the Association. The meeting was encouraging, fruitful and blessed. And like all Carmelite gatherings, we also had fun!


November is the month of the Holy Souls, a reminder of death and dying. We are more comfortable with life than with death, but it is something none of us escapes and is part and parcel of our faith. For those of us who are fearful of it, there is a book written by a Carmelite nun who dedicated a book she wrote to her non-Catholic parents who were very fearful of dying. The award winning book is entitled:THE FORBIDDEN DOOR.Mother Mary Joseph, ocd is the author whose pen name was Jeanne K. Norweb. She actually wrote a trilogy of books in which traveling the Blue Road to heaven is the recurrent symbol. Mother Joseph has actually travelled that blue road herself now, having died this year. She was a member of the Flemington Carmel in New Jersey. Her trilogy is still available.


Our Carmel is dedicated to Mary and Joseph. And so, on January 23 we celebrate a feast that unites the two of them in one feast. That feast is known as THE ESPOUSALS OF MARY AND JOSEPH. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have this feast added to the universal calendar so all the Church could celebrate this important event in salvation history?


The day was cloudy…the chapel was not totally, but amply filled for our public lecture this year. Our Carmelite Father Raymond Bueno came all the way from the state of Washington to speak to us about our St. Elizabeth of the Trinity and THE VIRTUE OF SILENCE IN THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. Father has an impressive list of degrees but his love for Elizabeth was his best qualification as she was the one who drew him to Carmel. He pointed out three aspects of silence in her life: external, internal and divine. They are also possible in our own lives and would be great assets for us to have in our noisy world.


In no way can we compare the storms we have had with those in other parts of our world and country, but we have had some damage from those that happened here. One storm caused some mysterious leaks. Leaks can require some heavy detective work, looking for clues and hoping for solutions.We do hope solutions are found!Some trees also had limbs torn from them, and others have succumbed somewhat to age and need taking down or pruning. It’s all part of caring for the earth in our little corner of it.


Whatever the time of year, it is always advent. Need proof? It is simple: we are always waiting for Jesus to come again in glory. The end of the world is not about destruction but transformation!We need to look forward to this, not in terror but with joy as the early christians did.So, with all our hearts let us cry, sing and shout: MARANATHA, i.e.,COME, LORD JESUS, COME!FOR CHILDREN & ADULTS It is often said, “Christmas is for children.” That is true, but it is even more so for adults. Children help spread the aspect of wonder and inject us with some of it as we get ready for this incredible feast. But only an adult can enter into the real meaning of Christmas(and never exhaust it) which is why we need to celebrate it every year. As Christmas approaches, we might think of Our Lord asking us: “Do you know what I have done for you?” There is a song by Willard Jabuschthat also gives us food for thought:”If you but knew the gift of God, what God has done for His people, if you but felt his burning love, you would never lose hope.”It is so easy for us to take things for granted, to fall into boredom, to get into ruts–even with the most sublime things, like Christmas. May the Lord deliver us from such a calamity! May He open our eyes, our ears and our hearts to the mystery of the Word made flesh as never before, and fill us with awesome wonder, joy and adoration. Merry Christmas!