Marie du jour 2021, 15 May: Elias Friedman, O.C.D.

During the armed conflict in Haifa in the year 1948, the Discalced Carmelite friars made considerable charitable efforts to provide shelter to refugees at Stella Maris monastery. The scholarly journal Teresianum in 1990 published an account by noted Discalced Carmelite historian Father Elias Friedman, O.C.D. concerning their heroism, which began in January 1948. St. Joseph Parish in Haifa counted a membership of roughly 4000 families before the violence began, but soon after only 500 families remained, Father Friedman reported.

Four Christian Brothers were the first refugees who sought the hospitality of the friars. Before long, the newly arrived Procurator, Clemente Casinelli, O.C.D. found “the first floor of the monastery to be filled with men, women, and children.  They were mostly Catholics, some three or four families were Greek-Orthodox, and one family was Muslim (the Sabas). The overflow spilled into the grounds of the monastery.” Undaunted by the need to care for over 500 neighbors, Father Clemente’s own life experiences as a World War II prisoner of war gave him a unique sense of initiative and compassion.

“During the month of May, the refugees assembled for the daily prayers in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at 7 o’clock each evening to recite the Rosary together and attend the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.”

NCMC Stella Maris closeup
The centerpiece of Stella Maris Church on the promontory of Mount Carmel is the miraculous statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen and Beauty of Carmel. The statue of the Virgin Mary and Infant Jesus enthroned, placed at the center of the main altar, standing on a pedestal carved from a cedar of Lebanon, is devoutly venerated by the local Christians. | Photo: Curia Generalizia Carmelitani Scalzi / Facebook

Click here to learn more about the great charity of the Discalced Carmelite friars in 1948

Friedman, Elias. “Internal Arab refugees at the monastery of the Carmelite Fathers, Mount Carmel, Haifa (Israel).” Teresianum: Ephemerides Carmeliticae, vol. 41, no. 1, 1990, pp. 261-274.

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