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89° Capitulum Generale Ordinis Carmelitarum Discalceatorum
Avila
28th April ­ 18th May 2003

Information * N. 11 
2003.05.06

 

 

 

News Issue No. 11 -6 May 2003 

For two days now we have been treated to a constant and chilly rainfall in Avila, bringing welcome wetness to the surrounding fields but unwelcome sore throats and colds to the Chapter members. (No one knows why our hostesses have not turned on the central heating, either.)  Father Nicolas Garcia, the Definitor for Latin American from Mexico presided at the Eucharist.  Discerning the will of God in this particular moment of the Order’s history is our task, he said, and to pursue it fearlessly and without paralysis by trusting in God’s goodness which will never let us down. 

The gift of two books opened the morning’s plenary session: Il Governo Monastico or  Monastic Governance of Father John of Jesus and Mary edited by Fr. Giovanni Strina of the Genoa Province; and a commemorative volume that marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Burgos Province.  (No. 134 on the list of religious of that province at the back of this informative volume is occupied by Father Otilio Rodriguez, who influenced so many English-speaking Carmelites by his years of service spent in Washington, DC and then afterwards when he returned for summer vacation from the Teresianum in Rome.) 

The main focus of the morning’s session was a colorful power point presentation of the theme “En Route:

Returning to Essentials,” given by Claretian Father Jose Cristo Rey Garcia Paredes.  He heads an influential center for study of Consecrated Life in Madrid.  He treated the theme through three images:

The Way, Return and Essentials. Aware that we have no permanent home on this earth, he challenged the group to “go out” (beginning of the spiritual life for Saint John of the Cross) away from what is familiar to us, from all that is secure and sure, from all that involves nostalgia.  We ought to adapt ourselves readily to a changing world in order to bring authentic Christian and Carmelite experience to it. 

Thereafter, with time for a coffee-break, work in language groups took place for ninety minutes.  Some description of the obstacles that keep us from “going out” or moving ahead without fear in a necessary reformulation of our rich spiritual tradition was asked of the groups.  In the afternoon plenary session results of the group discussions were read to the whole assembly.  The reporter for the Far East group was Sr. Jennifer of Australia, thus distinguishing herself as the first Discalced Carmelite Nun to take the floor at a General Chapter.   

Back went the members to their small groups to read together the last draft of the Working Document of the Chapter in case they would have corrections or suggestions to make.  Evening Prayer and silent prayer in chapel ended what has been a long and laborious day. 

And happy to say, the heat came on 9:30pm, even though some veterans of the St. Teresa/St. John of the Cross annual course were claiming institutions like this abandon heating their buildings every year by 15 April.  We hope we are forgiven for what might appear as softness of character (!).

 
    
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