On July 19, 2021, the major superiors of religious congregations present in Latin America and the Caribbean met. The meetings was convened by Luis Maza, General Counsellor for the Americas, with the presence of Míċéal O'Neill, prior general. Marlene Frinhani, Irmãs Carmelitas da Divina Providência (Carmelite Sisters of Divine Providence), explained the theme of the meeting: "Something New is Emerging. "
Also participating were the major superiors with sisters in Brazil, Peru, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Trinidad, and Venezuela. They represented, the Corpus Christi Carmelites, the Divine Providência, the Hermanas Carmelitas del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, Hermanas de la Virgen María del Monte Carmelo, Irmãs Missionárias Carmelitas de Jesus, Istituto di Nostra Signora del Carmelo, Suore Carmelitane Missionarie di S. Teresa del Bambino Gesù, Hermanas Carmelitas de Madre Candelaria. Also participating were members of the Carmelite Family Secretariat for the Americas.
The prior general, Míċéal O'Neill, introduced the meeting, "Something New is Emerging," pointing out the new directions in the Church. He noted that the Church asks for forgiveness for not listening. He went on to quote Pope Francis that we are contemplatives with mercy. Another point highlighted by the prior general is how to be faithful who listen to the Word of God and reflect on the impact that COVID-19 has brought to the world— "people who can do nothing without God and without their brother and sister." He concluded his remarks with a question: so, what are we going to do?
Afterwards, there was a moment to share what the Spirit inspired through the words of the Prior General, echoing the invitation to open our eyes, ears, and hearts to this emerging change. On the other hand, the need to continue to walk together as Carmelite Family in unity and with the hope that arises when you are confronted with the most difficult realities was confirmed.
Marlene Frinhani presented her remarks "Signs of a New Time," using two metaphors. The first metaphor was of old hands handing over a plant to the new hands receiving it. It reflects the experience of walking into the new. The second metaphor was of the smoke that warns of someplace being on fire. Marlene also pointed out that we are slow sometimes to perceive the signs revealing changes that are emerging, and she invited us to recognize some of the signs of change in our personal circumstances.
Marlene also expressed that darkness, when we are far from God, prevents us from seeing the light. She invited us to listen, observe, and perceive God's presence in our midst, in economic disparities, technological progress, inequalities in living conditions and in the lethal power of the pandemic and its variants. How does the Carmelite Family stand in response to these warning signs? What are we going to do? We are invited to walk with the people amidst their anxieties and hopes, open to the search for truth and the practice of universal fraternity, as Pope Francis recommends in the documents Fratelli Tutti and Patris Corde.
The online meeting concluded with an invitation to participate in FOCAM in August and a presentation of the JUCAR-AMERICA project. There is the hope of meeting again to share the experiences as the Carmelite family.