General Chapter: Carmelite Family Day - Monday, September 16, 2013


The day began with members of the Carmelite Family joining the Chapter for our presentations, reflections and discussions.  The Eucharist was presided by Most Reverend Saverio Cannistrà, OCD, Preposit General of the Discalced Carmelites.

After Mass, Fr. Saverio addressed the assembly by challenging us to experience all of the beauty and richness of the Carmelite Family, by searching for mission in the heart of our identity.  We need to always look beyond our frontiers and boundaries and present the Gospel with Carmelite hearts and eyes.   Our mission cannot be timid or fearful, bur requires courage and making space for the Lord to work through us.

The Chapter then heard four voices of the Carmelite family.   Sylvia Lucas, a lay Carmelite from Great Britain, challenged the Chapter to be present to lay people while continuing to trust and support them with the Carmelite values of listening, stillness, justice, gentleness, and prayer.  A cloistered nun, Sr. Marie Elena Tolentino, O.Carm., from the Philippines, described the monasteries dedicated to contemplation as places and means by which people open themselves completely to grace, to the actions of the Holy Spirit to change our hearts.   An active religious sister from Spain, Sr. Maria del Carmen Aparicio, HHVMMC, described her own vocational story and offered windows of hope, including all to be carriers of the Word, like Mary, accepting it, giving it life and allowing ourselves to be transformed by it.  Finally two members of the Carmelite Committee for European Youth, Victor M. Navarro from Spain, and Luca Sciarelli, O.Carm., from Italy, described the “Awakening” Project, based on 1 Kings 19:7-8, in which the angel of the Lord wakes up Elijah.  They also challenged the Chapter to value young people by sharing the gift of our spirituality in their own language and communicating happiness and joy in our own vocations.  The Chapter then had a question and answer period to discuss these four presentations.

The evening was highlighted with cultural presentations, with singing and dancing with the Carmelite Family!