Dear friends, here we are once again to invite you to live this Advent in a spirit of communion through an online retreat prepared especially for you by the Discalced Carmelite friars.
If you are already registered and have received the meditations from one of the previous retreats, you do not need to register again and it is not too late to register even though Advent has begun.
However, don’t hesitate to extend an invitation to your friends and acquaintances so that they can register using the form on the websitewww.retreat-online.karmel.at
We suggest that you download the A4 poster and distribute it to your Christian community, parish, ecclesial movement, association, or prayer group. You also can promote this initiative through social media.
Inviting others to pray through the retreat is an excellent way to evangelize and witness to your faith.
This Advent we will be guided by the writings of Father François de Sainte-Marie, a Discalced Carmelite friar from the Paris province who consecrated his brief life (1910-1961) to pass on the treasures of the Carmelite heritage. His best-known project was the publication of the autograph manuscripts of Thérèse of Lisieux, under the title Autobiographical Manuscripts, which today is published under the title Story of a Soul. It brings to light his knowledge of the doctrine of little Thérèse, his scientific mind, and at the same time a great human sensitivity.
At the end of November, you will receive the first introductory text of this Advent retreat. Then you will receive the meditations for each of the 4 weeks of Advent, with the following themes:
– 1st Sunday:Return to the Gospel
– 2nd Sunday:Outstanding educator
– 3rd Sunday:Delight of the little ones
– 4th Sunday:Abyss of grace
– Christmas:“True Marian devotion”
The content will be available so that you may organize your moments of meditation during the week. The texts were prepared by Discalced Carmelite friars from Avon, France, and the translation into English was prepared by Secular Carmelites from North America.
The online retreat is free of charge. You can register or unsubscribe at any time.
If you have any difficulty in receiving the meditations, please send an email to: email@example.com
With this invitation to the online retreat, we extend our sincere wishes for a blessed Advent!
Carmelite Quoteson behalf of —
fr. Roberto Maria OCD and the Discalced Carmelites in Austria
Pray a lot, my dear little girl, for the success of the pilgrimage to Chartres in which I will be participating. It will bring together many pilgrims from all over our beautiful France to the feet of the Blessed Mother to receive the graces our country needs so much in order to prove itself worthy of its past.
Saint Louis Martin Letter to Pauline Martin (excerpt), May 1873
The official website of the Cathedral of Chartres provides background on the pilgrimages of which Saint Louis Martin writes. Learn more here(in French).
As prayer is one of the chief objects of the Order of Carmel, the Sisters are constantly called upon from far and near to give the assistance of their prayers in all kinds of spiritual and temporal necessities. The following incident will serve to show with what faith and confidence the people recur to the Community:
In the latter part of the year 1882, small-pox broke out in the city of Baltimore and it was feared that it would become an epidemic. Many persons requested the prayers of the Sisters to avert the calamity, and they chanted daily, in community, the hymn to Our Lady, for help in time of pestilence: “Stella coeli extirpavity” [sic].
In January of 1883, a secular newspaper published the following item: “The Mayor received yesterday a card, signed, ‘Our City,’ requesting the prayers of the good Carmelite Nuns for the small-pox sufferers.” On hearing of this petition, the Sisters redoubled their supplications and daily went in procession through the cloisters, carrying a statue of Our Lady and chanting the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, with appropriate versicles and prayers. Thus they continued to implore the mercy of God until the faith of the good citizens of Baltimore was rewarded and all danger was at an end.
Charles Currier Carmel in America: a centennial history of the Discalced Carmelites in the United States (p. 354)
Stélla caéli extirpávit Quae lactávit Dóminum Mórtis péstem quam plantávit Prímus párens hóminum. Ipsa stélla nunc dignétur Sídera compéscere, Quórum bélla plébem caédunt Dírae mórtis úlcere.
O gloriósa stélla máris A péste succúre nóbis: Audi nos, nam te fílius Níhil négans honórat. Sálva nos, Jésu!
Pro quíbus vírgo máter te órat.
The star of heaven, she who suckled the Lord, has uprooted the scourge of death which the first parent of mankind planted. That very star is now worthy to encompass the world, whose wars cut down the people with the sore of dreaded death.
O glorious star of the sea, save us from the scourge: Hear us, for the son, denying nothing, honors you. Save us, Jesus!
During the month of May, the refugees assembled for the daily prayers in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The scholarly journal Teresianum in 1990 published an account by noted Discalced Carmelite historian Father Elias Friedman, O.C.D. concerning the Discalced Carmelite friars’ charitable efforts to shelter refugees at Stella Maris monastery during the armed conflict in Haifa in the year 1948.
A bit of background: Fr. Elias reminds his readers that at the end of 1947 when the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution “recommending the partition of Palestine into an Arab state, a Jewish state and a corpus separatum for Jerusalem,” Jews and Arabs in the region “jostled for position in view of the approaching termination of the British Mandate.” Bloody violence ensued.
Photos from the LIFE magazine archives illustrate Fr. Elias Friedman’s documentation. Father Elias carefully noted that in 1944 the population of Haifa was 128,000, with a fair balance of Jews, Christians, and Muslims (52% Jewish); the Discalced Carmelite Fathers’ parish in the city of Haifa, Saint Joseph Church, had a membership of roughly 4000 families. After the violence broke out in 1948, “of a total population of 98,284, Jews numbered 94,718.” Saint Joseph’s parish experienced a dramatic drop in membership: in 1948, there were only about 500 families that remained. When Fr. Elias published his article in 1990, he noted that the membership had “risen slowly, so that at the time of writing, the number of parishioners stands at +/-1,500.” Haifa’s Christian population suffered immensely in 1948.
Beginning in January 1948, Catholics in Haifa began to seek secure shelter at the Monastery of the Carmelite Fathers, now known as Stella Maris, on the promontory of Mount Carmel at Haifa.
Four religious from the Christian Brothers school were the first Catholics who came to the friars asking for a place to stay. “Soon they were followed by Arab families, desperately in search of shelter.” At one point, the number of refugees at the Carmelite monastery across from the lighthouse reached a total of 521.
Father Clemente Casinelli, O.C.D. transferred to Haifa from the friars’ monastery at El-Muhraqa — the place of Elijah’s sacrifice — in April 1948 and assumed the office of Procurator. When he arrived, he 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.”
The refugees were very resourceful and contributed to one another’s well-being given the circumstances. Fr. Clemente took charge of the refugee program. He was an Italian Discalced Carmelite friar who had spent six years in a British prison camp in Lebanon during World War II for no other reason than his nationality; his own harsh experiences there gave him a unique sense of initiative and compassion.
Fr. Elias notes that “the refugees assisted regularly at Sunday Mass.” A local family who were benefactors to the friars and their refugees “set a good example by first putting their contributions into the plate and taking it around the congregation at the Offertory.”
“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.”
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.
Simon, an Englishman, died at Bordeaux in the mid-thirteenth century. He has been venerated in the Carmelite Order for his personal holiness and his devotion to Our Lady. A liturgical celebration in his honor was observed locally in the fifteenth century, and later extended to the whole Order.
From the Common of Holy Men (Religious)
OFFICE OF READINGS
The Second Reading
From the Flaming Arrow by Nicholas of France, Prior General (Chapter 6)
I will lead her into the desert, and there I will speak to her heart
Was it not our Lord and Savior Who led us into the desert, as a mark of His favor, so that there He might speak to our hearts with special intimacy? It is not in public, not in the market place, not amid noise and bustle that He shows Himself to His friends for their consolation and reveals His secret mysteries to them, but behind closed doors.
To the solitude of the mountain did Abraham, unswerving in faith and discerning the issue from afar in hope, ascend at the Lord’s command, ready for obedience’s sake to sacrifice Isaac his son; under which mystery the passion of Christ–the true Isaac–lies hidden. To the solitude of the mountain was it too that Abraham’s nephew, Lot, was told to flee for his life in haste from Sodom.
In the solitude of Mount Sinai was the Law given to Moses, and there was he so clothed with light that when he came down from the mountain no one could look upon the brightness of his face.
In the solitude of Mary’s chamber, as she conversed with Gabriel, was the Word of the Father most high in very truth made flesh.
In the solitude of Mount Tabor it undoubtedly was, when it was His will to be transfigured, that God made man revealed His glory to His chosen intimates of the Old and New Testaments. To a mountain solitude did our Savior ascend alone in order to pray. In the solitude of the desert did He fast forty days and forty nights together, and there did He will to be tempted by the devil, so as to show us the most fitting place for prayer, penance, and victory over temptation.
Top the solitude of mountain or desert it was, then, that our Savior retired when He would pray; though we read that He came down from the mountain when He would preach to the people or manifest His works. He who planted our fathers in the solitude of the mountain thus gave Himself to them and their successors as a model, and desired them to write down His deeds, which are never empty of mystical meaning, as an example.
It was this rule of our Savior, as rule of utmost holiness, that some of our predecessors followed of old. They tarried long in the solitude of the desert conscious of their own imperfection. Sometimes however–though rarely–they came down from their desert, anxious, so as not to fail in what they regarded as their duty, to be of service to their neighbors, and sowed broadcast of the grain, threshed out in preaching, that they had so sweetly reaped in solitude with the sickle of contemplation.
R/. O that I had wings like a dove, to fly away and be at rest; —so I would escape far away, and take refuge in the desert (alleluia).
V/. The world and its cravings pass away, but those who do God’s will stand firm for ever. —So I would escape far away, and take refuge in the desert (alleluia).
Canticle of Zechariah
Ant.The Lord is all that I have; the Lord is good to the soul that seeks Him (alleluia).
You called St. Simon Stock to serve you
in the brotherhood of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Through his prayers
help us like him to live in your presence
and to work for man’s salvation.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Canticle of Mary
Ant. Where brethren are united in praising God, there the Lord will bestow His blessing (alleluia).
After Jesus Christ, doubtless at the distance that there is between the Infinite and the finite, there is one who was also the great praise of glory of the Holy Trinity. She responded fully to the divine election of which the Apostle speaks: she was always “pure, immaculate, and without reproach” in the eyes of the thrice-holy God.
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Last Retreat, Fifteenth Day
MESSAGE FOR THE CENTENARY OF THE PROCESSION OF OUR LADY OF CARMEL Haifa, 5 May 2019
Fr. Saverio Cannistrà of the Sacred Heart, O.C.D. Discalced Carmelite Superior General
This year we celebrate the centenary of the procession of Our Lady of Carmel in Haifa. The first procession was held on April 27, 1919, Sunday in albis, and was organized to solemnly bring back to the sanctuary of Stella Maris the statue of Our Lady of Carmel, that in 1914 at the beginning of the First World War, had been transferred to the parish church in the city. The Vicar Father of Mount Carmel at that time, the Englishman P. Francis Lamb (1867-1950), writes in his memoirs that there was an extraordinary participation of the people and that the English authorities were struck by this manifestation of faith and devotion for the Mother of God in the Latin Catholic community of Haifa. It was linked to the end of the Great War and the desire to thank the Lord and Our Lady for the return of peace. The procession was repeated in the following years until it became the most important in the Holy Land after that of Palm Sunday in Jerusalem.
Here in Haifa, devotion to Mary is like a centuries-old tree with large branches and deep roots […]
I would like to respond by living on earth as the Blessed Virgin did
At the moment I am reading some very beautiful pages in our blessed Father Saint John of the Cross on the transformation of the soul in the three Divine Persons. Monsieur l’Abbé, to what an abyss of glory we are called! Oh! I understand the silence, the recollection of the saints who could no longer leave their contemplation; thus God could lead them to the divine summits where union is made perfect between Him and the soul who has become His bride, in the mystical sense of the word. Our blessed Father says that then the Holy Spirit raises it to so wonderful a height that He makes it capable of producing in God the same spiration of love that the Father produces in the Son and the Son in the Father, the spiration that is the Holy Spirit Himself!
To think that God calls us by our vocation to live in this holy light! What an adorable mystery of charity! I would like to respond to it by living on earth as the Blessed Virgin did, “keeping all these things in my heart,” burying myself, so to speak, in the depths of my soul to lose myself in the Trinity who dwells in it in order to transform me into itself. Then my motto, “my luminous ideal,” as you said, will be accomplished: it will really be Elizabeth of the Trinity! . . .
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Letter 185 to Abbé Chevignard 28 November 1903
93. There are three principal devotions to Mary: the scapular, pictures, the rosary.
A)The scapular is the livery of Mary. A soul who wears it and who, of course, makes every effort to work out his own salvation cannot be cast into hell, it is impossible. Never take off your scapular.
B)Pictures. We love to have pictures of our loved ones in our homes, a portrait of those whom we love. Why not have one everywhere of our heavenly Mother?
C)The rosary. It is the chain that unites us to Mary. Through the practice of this pious recitation, we accumulate a number of graces and Mary takes us by the hand, Mary directs our frail skiff on the fury of the waves and, with her as our guide, we are sure of our eternal salvation; she cannot let us perish, that is impossible!…
From the diary of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
On 23 March 1899 in every parish in St. Elizabeth’s hometown of Dijon, France, there was a great celebration in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary as part of a city-wide preached retreat. [Source: De Meester]
See this image and more in A K M Adam’s photo album, Holy Cards on Flickr
This translation from the diary of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity is the blogger's own work and may not be reproduced without permission.
It behooveth thee to grant a favor and confirmation to my holy and devout Order of Carmel
For centuries the faithful who held a pious devotion to the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel believed in an apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Pope John XXII in Avignon. Based on that supposed apparition, the sovereign pontiff issued a Papal Bull, Sacratissimo uti culmine, dated 3 March 1322 from Avignon; it is in the text of the Bull that the pope mentions the apparition. The historical difficulty with this document lies in the fact that the Bull is mentioned nowhere prior to 1752, according to Joseph Hilgers.
A modern-day spiritual descendant of St. Simon Stock, former Carmelite prior general Father Joseph Chalmers, O.Carm. writes, “In any case, the symbolism of the scapular as a sign of consecration to Mary, the Mother of Carmel, was and remains very important.” Citing the Carmelite friar, Mathias of St. John, Father Chalmers adds one important qualifier: “It would be far better to have holiness under a worldly habit than a worldly heart under a holy habit.” He concludes, “wearing the scapular is intended to be an outward reminder of what should be going on within.”
The recently deceased Discalced Carmelite scholar Father Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. discusses the historical problems head-on in his article, Brown Scapular: a Silent Devotion. He reviews the scapular as the habit of the Carmelites from their humble beginnings in the Holy Land to their spread through western Europe. In particular, Father Kieran describes the painstaking research undertaken by the Discalced Carmelites in defense of Carmelite Marian devotion following the Second Vatican Council, and how their careful documentation led to the restoration of the feast day of Saint Simon Stock to the Church’s liturgical calendar in 1979 (God reward you, Father Nilo).
But more important, Father Kieran explains with great precision where the Church stands today in regard to the Brown Scapular devotion: “No mention is made of the vision of St. Simon Stock or of that of Pope John XXII in relation to the Sabbatine privilege, which promises that one will be released from Purgatory on the first Saturday after death.”
Fr. Kavanaugh continues: “Nonetheless, the Carmelites have also been authorized to freely preach to the faithful that they can piously believe in the powerful intercession, merits, and suffrages of the Blessed Virgin, that she will help them even after their death, especially on Saturday, which is the day of the week particularly dedicated to Mary, if they have died in the grace of God and devoutly worn the scapular. But no mention is made of the “first” Saturday after their death.”
One particular reflection that this great Discalced Carmelite scholar offers is rather consoling: “If some day an historian were to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that there are no grounds to the Marian apparition to St. Simon Stock or the scapular promise, the scapular devotion would still maintain its value. The Church’s esteem of it as a sacramental, her appreciation of its meaning and of the good that has come about through its pious use on the part of the faithful is all that is needed.” Thank you, Father Kieran.
Perhaps Saint John Paul II summarized the Church’s teaching and the Carmelite scapular catechesis best in his 2001 Message to the Carmelite Family. The saint wrote, “the scapular is essentially a habit.”
For our readers who are history buffs, we have researched the Bull Sacratissimo uti culmine and found the text in Satolli’s Dictionnaire de Droit Canonique, which we present to you sans scrupule. An English translation is found here.
SACRATISSIMO UTI CULMINE
JOANNES EPISCOPUS SERVUS SERVORUM DEI, Universis et singulis Christifidelibus, tam praesentibus quam futuris, praesentes literas inspecturis, salutem et apostolicam benedictionem.
Sacratissimo uti culmine Paradisi angelorum tam suavis et dulcis reperitur melodia, modulamine visionis, dum paterno Jesus Numini circumspicitur adumatus, dicendo: Domine, Ego et Pater unum sumus, et qui videt me, videt et Patrem meum, et angelorum chorus non desinit dicere: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus; ita Synodus non cessat laudes effundere celsæ Virgini, dicendo Virgo, Virgo, Virgo, sis speculum nostrum pariter et exemplum. Quoniam munere munitur gratiarum, sicut sancta cantat Ecclesia: Gratia plena et Mater misericordiae. Sic ille mons reputatur de Carmelo Ordine cantibus extollendo, et hanc gratiarum Genitricem commendando et dicendo: Salve Regina, Mater misericordiæ et spes nostra.
Sic mihi flexis genibus supplicanti Virgo visa fuit Carmelita, sequentem effata sermonem: 0 Joannes, o Joannes, vicarie mei dilecti Filii, veluti a tuo te eripiam adversario, te Papam facio solemni dono Vicarium, meis coadjuvantibus supplicationibus, a dulcissimo meo Filio petens, quod gratiose obtinui, ita gratiam et amplam meo sancto ac devoto Carmelitarum Ordini confirmationem debeas praeconcedere, per Eliam et Eliseum in Monte Carmeli inchoato. Quod unusquisque professionem faciens, Regulam a meo servo Alberto, patriarcha, ordinatam observabit et inviolatam obtinebit, et per meum dilectum filium Innocentium approbatam, ut veri mei Filii Vicarius debeas in terris assentire, quod in cœlis meus statuit et ordinavit Filius; quod qui in sancta perseverabit obedientia, paupertate et castitate, vel qui sanctum intrabit Ordinem, salvabitur; et si alii, devotionis causa, in sanctam ingrediantur Religionem, sancti Habitus signum ferentes, appellantes se Confratres et Consorores mei Ordinis prænominati, liberentur et absolvantur a tertia eorum peccatorum portione, a die quo præfatum Ordinem intrabunt, castitatem, si vidua est, promittendo; virginitatis, si est virgo, fidem præstando; si est conjugata, inviolati conservationem matrimonii adhibendo, ut sancta mater imperat Ecclesia. Fratres proféssi dicti Ordinis supplicio solvantur et culpa, et die quo ab isto se culo recedunt, properato gradu accelerant purgatorium, ego Mater gratiose descendam sabbato post eorum obitum, et quot inveniam in purgatorio liberabo, et eos in Montem sanctum vitæ æternæ reducam. Verum quod ipsi Confratres et Consorores te neantur Horas dicere Canonicales, ut opus fuerit, secundum Regulam datam ab Alberto; illi, qui ignari sunt, debeant vitam jejunam ducere diebus quos sacra jubet Ecclesia, nisi, necessitatis causa, alicui essent traditi impedimento ; mercurio ac sabbato debeant se a carnibus abstinere, præterquam in mei Filii Nativitate. Et hoc dicto, evanuit ista sancta visio.
Istam ergo sanctam Indulgentiam accepto, roboro et in terris confirmo, sicut, propter merita Virginis Matris, gratiose Jesus-Christus concessit in coelis. Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostræ Indulgentiæ, seu statuti, et ordinationis irritare, vel ei ausu temerario contraire. Si quis autem hoc attentare præsumpserit, indignationem Omnipotentis Dei, et Beatorum apostolorum Petri et Pauli se noverit incursurum.
Datum Avenione, tertia die Martii, Pontificatus nostri anno sexto