In this Edition:
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Fatima, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary
- Website News
- Community News
Dear Friends of Carmel,
It was our strong desire to send a newsletter for the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, but events were Providentially arranged to prevent this. It didn’t take Carmelites long to understand that Our Divine Lord Himself was arranging things to permit us, instead, to prepare in a more intense, interior way for this Feast of His holy Mother. So we seized the opportunity to draw near to the Queen of Heaven learning all we could at her feet.
The founding Mothers of our Carmel chose the name of our Monastery, Carmelite Monastery of the Sacred Hearts, largely because of their devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. Of course, they passed on this devotion to the younger Sisters and so it has carried on and deepened through the years, thanks to prayer and enlightened instruction of our priests, as well as extensive reading. It has been accurately observed that, since Our Lady of Mt. Carmel appeared at the very end of the Miracle of the Sun that October of 1917, there is a profound connection between these two titles of the one and same, ever-solicitous Mother of God. In both, her concern is for her children, for their souls and their peace.
At Fatima, Our Lady promised that if her requests were fulfilled, God would grant the world a time of peace. God is faithful to His promises. But are we not all witnesses daily to the sad evidence all around us that this longed for peace has not been granted? Who can deny that we live in a war-torn world, that families also are torn apart, and that few souls have true peace with God and with themselves? It seems rather that the world is in an agony of error and suffering. There can be little doubt that the solemn requests of Our Lady at Fatima have not been fulfilled, and so heaven must wait to spread upon us its true and lasting peace.
What do Carmelites do when faced with this heartbreaking reality? We hasten to offer the greatest prayer of all, the prayer of Jesus Christ on Calvary, renewed in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. So as a gift to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel for her feast, we had a novena of Masses offered that ALL her requests at Fatima would be fulfilled. To accompany the Masses, we made the constant theme of our prayers and sacrifices each day the remembrance of our Blessed Mother’s instructions and requests. Don’t think that this would be dull and uninteresting, depressing and hopeless! What could be of more interest and secure spiritual benefit than to study and pray about what Heaven commands? Besides the requests for the consecration of Russia and faithful commitment to the traditional devotions of the Rosary and the Scapular, the main world and life changing purpose of Our Lady’s coming to Fatima was this: “Jesus wants to establish the Devotion to My Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by Myself to adorn His throne.”
This year’s Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel has inspired us to renew our Community and personal consecration to this great Heart of our Mother. This renewed dedication, we know, must be an ever more steadfast confidence in her merciful intercession and a more faithful imitation of her Heart, as the traditional Carmelite prayer says: “From henceforth, I shall strive to live in the sweet companionship of thy Spirit, to offer all to Jesus through thee and to make my life the mirror of thy humility, charity, patience, meekness and prayerfulness…”
Let this honor and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary be the defining quality and inward spirit of all the children of God and His Holy Mother!
Our faithful Web Administrators continue to work out the “bugs” for the new website system. Although computer technology is needed just for using a new kitchen stove (!), the skill required to work through snags for a new website is beyond our capabilities, so we gratefully and patiently wait for the fundamental work to be completed. We hope soon to be able to contribute our own work with design and content. We appreciate your praying with us and commending this special project to St. Joseph!
We are very pleased to add to our book offerings Carmelite Devotions and Prayers for the Special Feasts of the Liturgical Year. It is a collection of prayers, novenas, etc. in honor of Carmelite Feasts and Saints. And being compiled from Carmelite sources, the true contemplative spirit is found in these devotions. This book has long been out of print, and we inherited two well-worn copies from our founding Carmelite Mothers. So it was with joy that we heard from a friend in Australia that the book was beautifully reprinted and bound in a sturdy paperback. We use this book throughout the year, not only as a community, but also for individual Sister’s devotions.
Well, of course, the main news this summer has been the severe forest fires in our area. Thanks be to God, we have been able to assure everyone that, being about 13 miles from the fires, we never had to evacuate and were safe from harm. However, as so many in Colorado Springs, we were sad to witness the fire storming violently down into the lower foothills to the west of us. Over our monastery wall, we could see across the city to those foothills, and the afternoon and evening of June 26th will remain for all of us a nightmarish memory. Remarkably, that day was recorded as the hottest day in this city: 101°. As you see in our letter, we are sharing a few of our own photos from the monastery and give you this link that friends sent to us, which gives a bit of a photo history of that sad day in our city. We so appreciate the many emails and calls to the monastery, expressing concern for our health and safety. From Hawaii to New York and beyond (even from Japan!), anxious messages came, along with promises of sacrifices and prayers for our welfare. We send our thanks again and ask your good prayers to continue for those who lost their homes and their lives in the terrible Waldo Canyon Fire. And thank God with us for the wonderful, brave firefighters, who saved so many homes and now have this fire in containment.
The very happy news we can report is the birth of a special baby—who now has 13 Carmelite Aunts! It’s a story, of course! And to appreciate this story, one must appreciate the special family tie shared among ALL the Sisters’ families. This is a bond that sometimes takes years to discover and appreciate, but as the years pass, in one way or another, the families of the Sisters meet—and very often share a lasting friendship in our holy Faith, having its common ground in Carmel. The happy “Baby Story” is simply told. Because one Sister’s sister (a nurse) knew that another Sister’s married sister was looking into adoption, she called the Carmel during the winter to let us know that a young expectant mother desired to find a stable, Catholic home for her baby, to be born in July. Would the Carmelites please pass on this information? After “passing on this information”, the Sisters prayed. For those of you who know the complicated process of adoption, along with its sometimes heartbreaking ups and downs, you will know that prayers are essential! Once we accomplished the initial “connecting” of the two sisters-of-the-Sisters, they communicated about how to arrange basic details to begin the process. The adopting couple’s gratitude to God for this gift, which wondrously passed through Carmelite prayers and hearts, has been immeasurable! Little Augustyn Joseph was born July 8th and baptized on – – – July 16th, of course! Our prayers continue for the selfless young parents, who chose to give their child a steady beginning in a loving Catholic home.
Otherwise, life in Carmel continues in its daily round of prayer and work. We recently delved into two big cleaning projects—washing all the windows of the monastery, inside and out, and (oh, what fun) scrubbing the grout on our kitchen tile floor. But it seems good to close our letter with a funny garden story, since quite a few of you ask about our gardening. In late winter, our main gardening Sister, after careful research on just how to go about it, gave our two small apple trees a severe pruning. Well, she took the heat, we can tell you! Teasing on all sides—and even a little scolding and dismayed, “What have you done now??” The trees really no longer even looked like trees—just 5’ slender stumps! She didn’t seem to mind all the teasing and just kept saying, “You’ll see, you’ll see…Remember the Gospel, about our heavenly Father as the vine-dresser, cleansing the branches so they would bear more fruit!” Well, sure enough—in spring, blossoms covered the trees, and then the fruit: several dozens of apples, Granny Smith and Fuji, nestled in the now fluffy branches of these two trees, after years of little or no fruit at all.
As always, we pray God’s blessings upon you and yours—and entrust you all to the love and protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who says to us all, “I will never leave you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”
In the Sacred Hearts,
Your Carmelite Sisters