Two Carmelite Meetings in Latin America
Two meetings will be organized in the coming months for the
Carmelites in Latin America. Both of them will take place in
Lima, Peru. The first will be for all the Parish
Priests in Latin America, 1st-7th May.
This event is a follow up to the first International
Congress of all Carmelite Parish Priests, which took place
back in May 2001, in Colombia. The theme then was:
Witnesses to the experience of God. The Congress was
followed by a message from the Carmelite parishes (46
Acta OCD (2002) 129-146). In the next reunion in Lima
they want to explore this theme further within the context
of the present day situation for Carmel in Latin America.
From October 25-29 2006 there will also be in Lima a
Congress on the Carmelite Rule, in preparation for the 8th
centenary of the “way of life” that St. Albert, our
legislator, gave us in 1207. The two General Councils,
O.Carm and O.C.D., at their meeting in May 2005 approved the
new Statutes of this Association of Carmelites from Latin
America, which is the successor to the old Carmelite and
Discalced Carmelite Joint Commission in Latin America. This
new Association organizes a Congress of mutual interest in
Latin America every three years.
The entire Carmelite family in Latin America is invited to
this latest Congress: O.Carm & O.C.D: friars,
representatives from the Carmelite Institutes and the
Secular Order. More information can be obtained about the
content and preparation by looking up the following
http://groups.msn.com/ciclaocd. The Regional Vicariate
of “St. Martin de Porres” in Peru is part of the Navarre
Province; there are 9 priories and 19 convents of our
Fr. Nilo Geagea, Mariologist
Fr. Nilo died aged 98. The Blessed Virgin, whom he
greatly loved, came to meet him on January 11th
on Mt. Carmel, Haifa. Josef Taraya Geagea was born on
the 21st February 1908 in Becharre or Bicherri,
Tripoli (Lebanon). Nilo of St. Bernard was professed
as a Carmelite on the 21st February 1925 in
Brescia, Italy, and belonged to the Venetian Province.
In 1928 he began his studies in theology at the
International College, Rome. He was ordained Priest in
1932. In Lebanon he taught at the minor seminary and
college. In 1930 he was called to Rome to teach in the
theological faculty. He obtained a Doctorate in 1943 from
the Gregorianum University. In 1946 he completed another
Doctorate in Philosophy and again in 1948 in Italian
Literature. In 1951 he was nominated as a socius of the
International Pontifical Marian Academy.
In 1954 he returned to his native Lebanon, where he became
at various times: superior, master of novices, student
master and vicar provincial. From 1963 he assisted at the
Second Vatican Council as a theologian for Mgr. Tarcisio
Benedetti o.c.d., Bishop of Lodi. In 1981 he
transferred to the Roman Province and from that time resided
continuously on Mt. Carmel for 25 years until his death.
A well known Marilogist, Fr. Nilo wrote more than 100
articles on this theme. He was a tireless writer and
researcher. By his fraternal and intellectual service
we can define him as enlightened, tenacious and
marian. Enlightened, like
the clear light of the Orient: his mind was keen, and
refined, he saw things very clearly, and always respectful
in his interventions. Tenacious, like the great
cedars of his country, Lebanon, that so formed his strong
character, who carried on working
to the last on his old-style typewriter. Marian: like
the face of the Star of the Sea. When he spoke of the
Scapular his whole body used to shake. The Rosary in his
hands was a constant companion.
Among his more important books we can cite: 1. Mary in
the message of the Koran (translated from Italian into
English), 1984. 2.
Maria, Madre y Decoro del Carmelo
(1988). 3. Una devocion ecumenical. La Virgen
del Carmen (1990). 4.
Textos marianos (1996).
5. La espirituladad mariana
del Carmelo (1997). When he died he was in the
process of completing a book on the Scapular. Also of
interest was his research on Demonio y vida spiritual
(The Devil and the spiritual life), in St. John of the Cross
(Sanjuanistica, Roma 1943, 135-223). His
writings are noteworthy because of his knowledge of source
material, medieval Carmel literature, and by the way he
expounded his thoughts so very clearly and articulately.
On the 25th December 2005 Fr. Nilo celebrated his
80th anniversary of profession. Fr. General, Luis
Arostegui wrote congratulating him. Among other things he
said: “This auspicious event …is a reason to rejoice and
give thanks not only on a personal level, but also for
A Weeklong Conference on the Spirituality of Bl. Elizabeth
of the Trinity
In the centenary year of the death of our Carmelite sister
from Dijon (1906-2006) the prestigious Week of
Spirituality at the Teresianum College, Rome, in its
annual and uninterrupted 47th
edition, will be dedicated to recall her life and principle
teaching. The Week will take place from 5th to 9th
March. The general theme is: The spiritual path of Bl.
Elizabeth of the Trinity. The following are the speakers
and their themes: (all lectures in Italian)
1. Prof. Valerio Albisetti, Thirst for
Spirituality in Today’s World: 2. Jesus Castellano, ocd,
Open yourselves to God in
every way. 3. Conrad de Meester, ocd, Elizabeth
of the Trinity. A life of love to the glory of the Trinity
and the Church. 4. Virgilio
Pasquetto, Called to Contemplation by the
Scriptures. 5. Roberto Fornara, ocd, It is not
I who live… St. Paul, guide to spirituality. 6.
Maria Campatelli, On
the liturgy that influenced her. 7. Gabriele
Ferlisi, oad, St. Augustine. An
experience of spirituality.
8. Marisa Bisi, Teacher of spirituality. 9. Dr.
Luigi Accattoli, To
live the spiritual life in the world. 10. Antonio
Sicari, ocd, Contemplative experience and ecclesial
The conferences will be published in the Roman Province’s
spiritual Review Vita Spirituale. They will then form
part of the collection Fiamma Viva.
Award for a veteran missionary
Fr. Marcelino Claudio Forcellini, a member of the Roman
Province, was born in Paris on December 6th,
1930. But has the distinction of being the only member
of the Order to be a citizen of the tiny Republic of San
Marino. He was part of the first expedition by
Religious of the Roman Province to the Congo in 1968 and has
remained there every since. Today he is one of two
foreign Carmelite missionaries in the Congo. He founded the
priories of Kananga-Mt. Carmel, Kinshasa, Bukavu and
Lubumbashi. He was the first General Delegate, has
also been novice director. He has worked in the social
field to alleviate the situation of the poor. In
recent times he founded a school and factory in Lubumbashi.
Today he is the superior of Kananga-Mount Carmel.
He was given the Premio of San Marino 2005. It
is a prize that was instituted in 2005 with the aim of
publicly recognizing the citizens of San Marino who, for
their important initiatives and for the fame of their
achievements at the highest levels in their particular area
of competence, bring honour to the name of the Republic in
the world. The prize is to be conferred in March.
Two Commemorations for the Martyrs of Compiegne
We are preparing to celebrate the centenary of the
beatification of our sisters, the 16 Carmelites of Compiegne
(1906-27th May -2006). It was Pope Pius X
who elevated them to this honour. They were
guillotined in Paris on July 17th, 1794 during
the final period of the reign of terror of the French
Revolution. They have become ever more popular because
of the books that have been written about them by Gertrud
von le Fort, George Barnanos,
Carmelite Dialogues, which has been made
into a play, and a film and even an opera. In France, the
association of The Friends of the Blessed Carmelites of
Compiegne, work hard to keep alive their memory, with
publications, conferences, historical research, new books,
and pilgrimages to the place where they were first buried in
Paris. Destinee providentielle des Carmelites de
Compiegne dans la literature et
les arts, Carmel of Compiegne, 1994, is probably the
best modern book on the martyrs.
Next year will mark the 50th anniversary
(1957-2007) of the book, Dialogue with the Carmelites
by Poulenc (1889-1962). Events will be organized to
recall both these anniversaries.
We will not forget Iraq
We are used to hearing about Iraq in the news. But we
should not forget that three Carmelite friars live in
Baghdad, two Iraqis and one Spanish,
with six novices. They share the daily anxieties of
the population who desire nothing but peace. No one knows
what may happen tomorrow. All too frequent and too close are
the abductions and suicide bombers. Also living in
Baghdad is the Latin Archbishop, the Lebanese Carmelite,
Mgr. Jean Benjamin Sleiman, who
is at the same time President of Caritas in Iraq.
In a recent article in an Italian magazine he informed his
readers about the complicated situation they find themselves
in, and the daily, cruel violence. The people are tired.
They have become accustomed to the violence, so much so that
they cannot imagine what a normal life is like anymore. Mgr.
Sleiman estimates that there are in Iraq 700,000 to
1,000,000 Christians; Roman Catholics number 250,000.
He added that the invasion of Iraq has been a grave
political error. Europe and the United States appear to be
blinkered. In the Middle East the Christians are the
ones who are best disposed for peace, for reasons of their
culture, history and sense of reality. Without doubt,
the Christians in almost the whole of the Middle East are
been badly treated by the world powers.
On a positive note, and a reason to give us hope, during the
World Day of Youth in Cologne last August, 1,200 young
people came together in the Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad.
They were from different Christian Churches, but all were
united in prayer, at the Eucharist and in the agape.