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NEWSLETTER    << N░  37 >>   2005.02.0015  
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At the venerable age of 97, on SUNDAY afternoon, February 13th, in Coimbra Carmel, our Carmelite Sister Lucia went to her eternal reward. She, together with her cousins, Jacinta and Francesco, was a witness to the numerous apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, beginning on May 13, 1917.  The other two visionaries died young, as the Blessed Virgin had predicted, and have since been declared Blessed by the Church.

Our Sister lived humbly and quietly in her community, combining a prayerful-contemplative life with an intense letter-writing ministry, with which she comforted distressed people, replied to VIP=s, encouraged her readers to believe and trust in God, always zealous in her devotion to Mary.  The Popes have always held her in great esteem.   The message that the Virgin had entrusted to the three shepherds touched upon present and future events.  Pope John Paul II was particularly fond of this simple Carmelite religious.  He met her on several occasions, expressing his clear devotion to our Lady of Fatima, returning there three times on pilgrimage. A year after the attempt to assassinate him in St Peter=s square, he offered the Blessed Virgin the bullet that almost killed him: it was placed in the crown of Mary=s statue.

The message of Fatima is simple and straightforward: prayer, penance, consecration to the immaculate heart of Mary. Strange phenomena accompanied the numerous visions, such as the last, called Athe dance of the sun@ before an awestruck and incredulous crowd.  But what has especially attracted the attention of the world was the so-called Athird secret of Fatima@, made public in 2000 on the occasion of the beatification of Francesco and Jacinta.  It has been confirmed that Sr. Lucia has had manifestations of our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

The death of Sr. Lucia has saddened especially the people of Portugal.  The Prime Minister has declared a national day of mourning and there will be no electioneering on that day for the forthcoming elections, on February 20.

Fr. General is not able to attend the funeral due to commitments elsewhere and has asked Fr. Luigi Gaetani, the Definitor responsible for Portugal to attend the solemn funeral in Coimbra cathedral. 

Fr. General has sent the following message to the Coimbra community: 

Mother Prioress and Community of Discalced Carmelite Nuns, Coimbra 

Dear Sisters, 

I am writing to you from Poland, where I am conducting a Visitation to our Cracow Province.  This evening, after a long journey, and having learnt of the death of our dear Irma Lucia, I reflected on her life and all that she has meant to us.  At this particular time we are brought back in time, almost of necessity, to the marvellous story of the three poor children whose innocent and pious hearts were changed in that place by the light of Mary, Mother of pity and mercy.

In October 2003 I was fortunate to celebrate the Eucharist with your community on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Sr. Lucia=s profession.  Because of that meeting I am able to give this personal testimony.  Together with the gratitude she showed for her vocation for which she had given thanks, what I appreciated particularly was her naturalness and simplicity.  Without doubt she lived a life of profound prayerful intercession and praise, carrying within her heart the intentions of the Fatima messages.  But all of this occurred with the utmost simplicity. To this naturalness and spontaneity belonged her sense of humour. At the Eucharistic celebration and afterwards in the festive encounter I could clearly see a happiness that was transparently innocent, trusting and warm.  I believe that St. Teresa of Jesus would be very happy with these qualities in our Sister. And, what is most important, without doubt these qualities reflect those of Mary of Nazareth, our Mother and Sister in faith and our interior model in her dedication to Jesus and to his Kingdom of justice and communion.

We are happy that Sr. Lucia has been our sister.  Very happy that she lived the message of Fatima in such an ordinary human way with simplicity and sincerity.  I would like now to assure you, together with this personal testimony, that the family of Carmel is very close to you at this time,  as well as to the Church and the people of Portugal.  We commend our Sister to the Lord and with confidence ask her to commend us before His throne of glory.   

PrzemyĐl, 14th February 2005 



Thomas Sleiman Bnham, born July 3, 1966 in Kermless (near Mossul) Iraq, was ordained a Priest in Baghdad Cathedral on January 6th by Archbishop Jean Sleiman OCD.  Baghdad is part of the Paris Province.  It is the first priestly ordination of the Latin (Roman Catholic) Church in this country (in the past there have been episcopal ordinations).  It was a beautiful celebration and made even more so by the presence of the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylonia, Emmanuel III Delly. 

Was conferred with the title
AEmeritus@ by the Pontifical Theological Academy 

Fr. Thomas Alvarez OCD, was conferred with the title AEMERITUS@ on January 27th 2005 in the Paul VI hall, at the Lateran Pontifical University.  This honour was given for his innumerable academic contributions, as a member of the aforementioned Academy; for his international pastoral and spiritual teaching ministry, at the service of the Gospel; for the daily living of the religious life; and for his spiritual direction.   His name has been included in one of the recent dictionaries of contemporary theologians, as the most erudite living scholar on the works of St. Teresa of Avila.

This official acknowledgement on the part of the Church took place during an academic session of the pontifical theological academy, presided by Cardinal Paul Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, who gave the opening address.  Several well known academics from the universities of Rome were present.  Fr. Jesus Castellano, ocd, gave an introduction to the life and the academic achievements of the new AEmeritus@.  The works of this ecclesial and Teresian theologian are well known and we can say with Saint Teresa Ahis words are a light for the Church@.

This honour was later celebrated in true festive style in the Generalate, the Teresianum College and in other affiliated institutes.  Congratulations Fr. Thomas!!!!!

N U N S 


Mel Gibson took his film The Passion of Christ to Sr. Lucia, one of the Fatima visionaries
(Coimbra, Jan 12, 2005)

Almost a year after the first worldwide showing of AThe Passion of Christ@, the Carmelite community of Sr. Lucia, (the sole surviving visionary of Fatima) was able to see the film in their own convent thanks to a project paid for by Mel Gibson.

The cloistered religious community had asked to see the film.  In view of the fact that the Sisters could not go to the cinema, and thanks to a young Portuguese woman who made contact with a friend in AIcon Productions@, who made the film, it was arranged to show it in the convent, this after 92 emails and many telephone calls. 

The logistics of the filming were complicated, as the Sisters had only a small tv and there was no video or DVD version available at that time.  Mel Gibson sent a screen, a team of cameramen and women, a spokesperson, and other technicians in order to adapt a large room into a cinema. 

In July 2004 when Mel Gibson arrived in Portugal to promote the film he was received, together with his wife for a private interview with Sr. Lucia.  The meeting was kept quiet as the director (Gibson) did not want to be accused of using the nuns to promote his film.

According to the aforementioned Review, Gibson had already visited Fatima in September 2003 where he asked the Blessed Virgin to help him with the film. 

Sister Celina, the Prioress, told the Review that Mel Gibson was very friendly and for an hour answered the sisters= questions about the film, including some from Sr. Lucia.


With the decree no. 7504/2005 of Feb.1, 2005,  the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life agreed to the request made by Georgetown convent:

$                   to remove no. 133 from their Constitutions approved in 1990 and to observe all the points regarding the Superior General, according to the Constitutions approved on September 17, 1991. 

$                   to pass from the jurisdiction of the Diocesan bishop to the Superior General of the Order.

Our sincere congratulations go the Georgetown community in asking for this union and communion with the Order and the Superior General, as our Holy Mother St. Teresa always desired.


The celebration of the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the convent of St. Joseph, Pointoise (the first >offspring= from the famous Faubourg Saint-Jacques convent in Paris) was celebrated in two ways.   First, there was an international conference, November 19-20, 2004: the talks will be made available later this year.  Then, two Eucharistic celebrations: one on the day itself, Jan 15, 2005, in thanksgiving for the Carmelite family and for the pastoral team of the place and the Priests from the Oratory, etc., and presided by Fr. Robert Paul ocd, General Definitor. The second, on January 16, presided by Mgr. Jean-Yves Riocreux, the local bishop: the mass was transmitted by the France-Culture radio.  Pointoise is the first convent of the Order in France dedicated to St. Joseph and the first church in France placed under the protection of his patronage.  The artwork of Pontoise Carmel was shown in a very impressive presentation at the local museum

( see the website at :  http://monsieursanchez.over‑‑54421.html   ), which was the old residence of the Bishop, who had received the first Carmelites from Paris, led by Anne of Jesus.  Anne of St. Bartholomew was the first prioress.  The relics of the famous Madame Acarie (Mary of the Incarnation ocd) are preserved there  (http://www.madame‑ )

The second part of the series on the history of Carmel of Pointoise is with the printers.
:// ).  



The OCDS community of Montpellier celebrated its 150th anniversary on the 23rd January 2005.  Since its establishment it has formed three other such groups.  There was a special eucharistic celebration to mark the historic event presided by the Avignon-Aquitaine Provincial.



The reputation of the Carmelite mystic Laurence of the Resurrection (Nicholas Herman)  continues to grow at this time.On the occasion of the third centenary of his death (1691-1991) the Belgian Carmelite, Conrad de Meester, published the critical edition of the writings of this blind cook from the Paris Priory.  The Ecrits et entretiens su la pratique de la presence de Dieu (The writings and conversations on the practise of the presence of God) were printed by the well known Cerf publications.  It has been translated into various languages.


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