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.”