Thursday, September 24, 2009


Embracing His Gospel: Carmelite Community in Faith, Hope and Love

Final Message


The 16th Council of Provinces took place at Il Carmine, San Felice del Benaco, from September 3rd to 12th 2009. The theme of the meeting was Embracing his Gospel: Carmelite community in faith, hope and love. The Prior General and members of the General Council gathered with the Priors Provincial, Commissaries General, Commissaries Provincial and Delegates General from all continents, reminding us once again of the continuing growth of the Carmelite presence throughout the world. It was a positive experience of fraternity as we reflected together on the challenges and opportunities of community in Carmel today.

Centrality of Community

The Prior General spoke of community as central to our lives as Carmelites. Community is a place where an environment of encounter and growth builds relationships of trust. This trust flows from sharing prayer, fraternal gatherings and working together in the service of the People of God. We are helped to become experts of reconciliation, recognising that all need healing and forgiveness. Our way of life demands constant conversion and perseverance in the values of our Carmelite charism. Carmelite community is challenged especially by the spirit of individualism which comes from certain forms of secularism in our society today.

Community is a counter witness to the tyranny of normality that our contemporary society promotes. Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche, told us that we live in a world where the weak are rejected from a place of fear and insecurity within us. Yet the mystery remains that we are healed by those we reject (cfr. 1 Cor 12 :22 ). Healing can only take place when we are prepared to enter into relationship with the other. listening tenderly to their cry and pain. Community is the place where we experience and are invited to receive love and to share the gift of love with one another and with those we are called to serve.

Our communities become signs of hope to the world when those who are weak have a place there, and all are seen as beloved of God. Jean Vanier challenged us to work at forming communities that are genuinely places of belonging, giving each one the space to listen and to be listened to with understanding and truth. The anguish that we carry from our broken humanity can only be healed when we discover our communities as places of fraternity, trust and forgiveness.

Only the one who is loved can generate love

Fr. Danilo Castello, MCCJ, told us that living love in community requires attitudes of respect, adaptation, forgiveness, acceptance, hospitality, dialogue, and risk-taking. God's way of loving unconditionally becomes the measure of our human love. Happiness is not found in simply observing laws and regulations but in our relationships with one another as brothers and sisters. We discover that we are made for intimacy and transparency. The eyes through which we see one another become those of the Gospel of Compassion.

Archbishop Jean Louis Brugues, O.P., Secretary of the Congregation of Catholic Education, spoke of the future of religious life being grounded in the experience of the transcendent. For us Carmelites this means being open to the transforming love of God, the heart of our charism.

Formation within Community

The General Formation Commission presented nine criteria regarding formation and community. These points taken from the RIVC provided those present with an occasion to speak about the importance of community as a major formative element in the ministry of formation (RIVC 55 & 37). All were encouraged to continue in a spirit of cooperation regionally and internationally within the Order especially in the areas of Formation and Vocation Ministry.
In addition participants heard reports from the General Council and from the Order's Commissions on their work of building up the spirit of community and cooperation throughout the Order.


We Carmelites acknowledge the thirst in our contemporary society and Church for a healthy spirituality of incarnation and transcendence. We recognise in the recent canonisation of St. Nuno of St. Mary a man who embodied the transformative love of God through his genuine love for the poor. He was freed from any ambition for power over others and came to experience the suffering Christ in the weak and rejected of his society. His life reminds us that God sees and loves all humanity with an unconditional love.

Our genuine search for relationships both within and beyond our Carmelite communities must be built upon the Gospel virtues of faith, hope and love. It is when these virtues find an incarnational expression in our relationships with one another and with those we are called to serve that we live our Carmelite vocation to embrace the Gospel.

We ask Elijah, our Father, and Mary, our Mother and Sister, to guide and strengthen us as we continue our journey of faith, hope and love as brothers and sisters in Carmel.

San Felice del Benaco, 12th September 2009

Canonical Visit to Sta. Cruz, Laguna

On September 12, the National Council composed of Fr. Noel Rosas, Sis. Sally Castro, Sis. Cynthia Penalosa, Bro. Ruel Santos, and Sis. Mila Exconde went to the capital of the province Laguna to visit the local community there. Despite the rains in the morning, the visit pushed through.

The visit was held at the St. Joseph's chapel, Sta. Cruz, Laguna. When the group arrived, a sumptuous merienda was given and the visitation was held afterwards. The visit ended half past noon wherein questions centered on communications and formation were discussed at the open forum.

After lunch, reception, profession, and admission rites for novices, professed members, and aspirants were held at the chapel.

Sis. Sally giving some opening remarks

(L-R): Sis. Mila, Fr. Noel, Sis. Sally, and Sis. Cynthia

The members of the Sta. Cruz Community

Sis. Mercy, formation director, giving her report on formation.

Sis. Dory Articon, prioress, giving her report

Rite of admission for aspirants

The newly Final Professed members of the TOC of Sta. Cruz, Laguna

The new novice of TOC Sta. Cruz, Laguna

The newly received aspirants

Holy Family TOC Chapter of the Immaculate Conception Seminary

The ICS Seminarians who are also members of the Carmelite Third Order in one of their monthly activities at the seminary.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Canonical Visit to Bulacan

On the feast of the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, the representatives of the National Council went to Guiguinto, Bulacan for the canonical/fraternal visit to the seven communities there including the TOC community at the Immaculate Conception Seminary. The visit was held at the Carmelite Formation House of the monastery. The visit started with a concelebrated mass wherein Sis. Diana Satiago, TOC undergo the rite of Final Profession. Also, all professed members of the TOC renewed their profession and the decree of canonical foundation for the TOC community of St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi was read.

After the Mass, an agape was served and after that each communities reported about their status and their activities. All in all the visit was a succesful one. It ended at around 3 pm and Fr. Noel had a short audience with the nuns afterwards.

The Mass for the Final Profession and Canonical Establishment

Relic of St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi together the canonical decree coming from Rome

Final Profession of Sis. Diana Santiago

Fr. Noel confirming the document of final profession

Fr. Dindo Santiago, SVD , son of Sis. Diana

(L-R) Sis. Sally Castro (National Coordinator), Sis. Cecile Atienza (Local Prioress),
Fr. Dindo Santiago, SVD (son of Sis. Diana), Sis. Diana Santiago, Fr. Noel Rosas, OCarm (Provincial Delegate)

Bulacan members

Sem. Simon Ramos, prior of the TOC at the seminary

Sis. Linda Garcia, 1st Councilor of Sts. Elijah and Elisha Community (Baliuag)

Sis. Violeta Cruz, prioress of Regina Decor Carmeli Community (Sta. Maria)

Sis. Ysabelita Tiongson, Director of Formation of St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi Community (Alido)

Sis. Priscilla Jose, prioress of St. Therese of the Child Jesus (Hagonoy)

Sis. Fe Mesina, prioress of St. John the Baptist Community (Calumpit)

Sis. Cecile Atienza, prioress of Holy Family Community (Guiguinto)
*not in the picture: Sis. Baby Antonio, prioress of Immaculate Conception Community (Malolos)

Luzon Regional Leadership Training Seminar

From August 8 - 9, Lay Carmelites from all over Luzon converged at the Notre Dame de Vie Retreat House for the Annual Regional Leadership Training Seminar for Priors, Prioresses, and Formators. TOCs from Cabanatuan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Sikatuna, Project 7, Kamias, Cubao, Tondo, and Bicol attended the said event. The seminar was facilitated by Fr. Noel Rosas, O.Carm. (Provincial Delegate) and Bro. Ruel Santos, TOCarm (National Formator).

Fr. Noel tackled the "Spirituality of Leadership in Carmel" particularly centered on the leadership of Nicholas Doria of the Teresian Reform and of Philip Thibault of the Reform of Touraine. He also gave a talk on the "Rule of St. Albert Ch. 22 and 23" in reference to the Lay Carmelites.

Bro. Ruel gave a talk about "The Vocation of a Prophet" based on the Scripture readings of the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time. He stressed that ALL lay Carmelites are called to be leaders and formators. Formation is not dependent upon one person only. Formation is a collaborative responsibilty of all members of the community. He also gave a talk on the role of the prior based on Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Albert.

In the entire duration of the seminar, the relics of St. Albert of Trapani and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross were exposed at the chapel of the retreat house since the feastdays of the tow saints were August 07 and August 09 respectively. Veneration of the relics were done during free times. On August 09, students of the Mother of Life joined in the closing mass and after the mass venerated the relics of the two saints.

Ms. Vicky giving orientation on the house rules

The participants in one of the activities

Fr. Noel giving the talk about Nicholas Doria and Philip Thibault

Fr. Noel giving the same talk

Partipants from Bicol, Sikatuna, Baliuag, Cabanatuan, Hagonoy, and Tondo

Fr. Noel giving the talk on Rule of St. Albert Ch. 22 and 23

Participants in group sharing

Sis. Elvie from Pampanga giving her report

Bro. Gerald sharing the report of his group

Participants from Sikatuna, Malilipot, and Guinobatan

Participants from Sikatuna

Participants from Cubao

Participants from Bulacan, Pampanga, and Proj. 7