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89° Capitulum Generale Ordinis Carmelitarum Discalceatorum
Avila 28th April 18th May 2003
Information * N. 04
Members from Poland, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Germany prepared and led our liturgical celebrations today with traditional Latin hymns and songs (“Ubi Caritas et Amor” was one of them). Even though some of the younger chapter members were a bit “lost” as the singing proceeded, the beautiful Gregorian notes added much to our sense of prayer.
Fr. Jose Vicente Rodriguez, member of the local community of friars living at “La Santa,” treated us to a vibrant, and sometimes humorous, consideration of “The Main Outlines of St. John of the Cross’s Spirituality.” He underscored how important suffering was in the saint’s growth process by alluding to the hunger he suffered as a child, his work at the hospital in Medina del Campo, his imprisonment in Toledo, and finally the persecution that broke out near the end of his life. It all contributed to an ongoing maturing process and adherence to essentials by him. As conclusion to the main points (he developed some six out of the eleven he enunciated at the beginning of his talk) he presented John of the Cross as the model of all Carmelite friars. He also mentioned several interesting eyewitness accounts of the saint’s contemporaries as indicators of how he would have wished to see delegates to chapters perform their duty. Not being a General Chapter member himself this time around, this was one of the parts where Fr. Jose Vicente wove in some humorous remarks (and ever so gently, the joke was on us).
Next we made our way to the city of Segovia where Fr. (Definitor) Maximilian Herraiz presided the Eucharist, along with Frs. Ullrich Dobhand and Jacov Mamic representing the Central Europe work group. In his moving homily he stressed how St. John was perhaps the human being who loved God the most. He also urged the group to lay aside false stereotypes that describe St. John as a dour and hard person. Then he challenged us to work at transmitting an authentic image of St. John of the Cross: sensitive, generous, apostolic, likeable, lover of beauty, witness of the immense love God has for us.
After eating in the same monastery founded by Saint John at a table set, as a fraternal treat, by the Castilian Province, we had the chance to visit the house and the garden with its hermitages. Others availed themselves of the chance to walk up to the city above along the same path the saint took from the Fuencisla priory to visit the nuns. Delegates from three English-speaking Provinces (Holland, Oklahoma, and Washington) scaled the heights together and took in as many sights as they could before it was time to return to the bus for the trip back to Avila.
This ended our third day of sharing and visits to Teresian/Sanjuanist locales, and also the first phase of the General Chapter that proved to be a real “spiritual preparation” for the members. Tomorrow Fr. General and the General Treasurer will start off the second phase by submitting their end-of-the-sexennium reports.
Updated 30 apr 2003 - Page maintained by O.C.D. General House