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Carmelite Customs

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graciandelamadrededios

I tried posting a photo but an error appeared:

 

You are not allowed to use that image extension on this community.

How can I resolve this?

 

Gracian

 

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Chiquitunga

Here is a beautiful custom to share. I read this today from the book, "Following the Path of Divine Love." (Spanish Carmelite customs; I don't know if they is done in other Carmels with Mexican or French customs.)

 

"When a nun is dying, it is the custom in Carmel to remove everything from her cell except an image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This will remind the ill Sister that the Mother of God is there to help and protect her and to fulfill the saying of the ancient monks: "from the cell to heaven!" - an expression of the firm hope that fills her soul at the end of life."

 

So beautiful... :pray: Thank you for sharing that!!! :heart:

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Chiquitunga

I tried posting a photo but an error appeared:

 

You are not allowed to use that image extension on this community.

How can I resolve this?

 

Gracian

 

Sometimes that happens... the image is not in the correct format or something. When that happens I usually either try to find the same picture somewhere else online, using Google image search, or simply save the image on my computer and upload it again at http://tinypic.com/ to get another image link. Hope either of these work for you  :like:

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graciandelamadrededios

Thanks, Chiqui!

 

I am now able to post the photos I wanted to share!

 

God Bless you!

 

Gracian

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inperpetuity

 

 

Speaking of diets, the JMJ Carmels (Valparaiso, Elysburg & Canyon) actually do not allow caffeinated drinks at all. Their coffee and tea is all decaf. They made this decision because some of the Sisters in Valparaiso were having trouble sleeping. I have never heard of this at any other Carmel however. Usually a cup of caffeinated coffee can be taken at breakfast and/or dinner (the mid-day larger meal)

Although they are not Ocd's, the Carmelite hermits in Brazil also abstain from caffeine and sugar as well.  I am highly sensitive to caffeine and do not sleep well if I drink it, like if I have a coke even if it's early in the day.

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graciandelamadrededios

Ceremonial of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns before Vatican II

 

THE CEREMONIES OBSERVED DURING MEALS

 

423. A large wooden Cross, with a discipline of rods attached to the foot, should be hung in the middles of the wall of the upper end of the Refectory, back of the table of the Prioress.  The table of the Prioress and Sub-prioress is place before this Cross; the Prioress sits at the right, the Sub-prioress at the left; a skull, on a wooden tray, is place in the middle of the table at the edge.  Tables for the other Nuns are arranged on each side of the Refectory.  A place for the Infirm is reserved at the last table, or near the lower end of the Refectory; it should be separated from the other tables, or the other places, by a small wooden partition, making it like a distinct little refectory and preventing the community from seeing what is served to the sick.

 

424. Two clean boards, constructed in such a manner that they may be used to distribute the portions, are placed near the serving window of the kitchen, together with baskets or places to contain the bread and crumbs gathered from the tables, and a towel for the Servers to use when needed to wipe their hands, which towel the Refectorian should frequently change.

 

425. The tables are not be covered with cloths, but each Nuns is to have at her place a napkin of ordinary dimensions, an earthen cup, a knife, spoon and fork, of wood or iron, all according to custom.  The Refectorian places at the proper time a salt cellar and pitcher of water between every two; if the Prioress judges proper, she also gives each a vessel of wine or beer, according to the custom of the country.  She places sufficient bread under each napkin.  In a word, there is to be at each place whatever is customary.

 

426. When the Community goes to sit down, the one who is to serve the meal goes to the middle of the Refectory and after the Reader has said In nomine Domini nostri Jesu Christi.  Amen, she makes a profound inclination to the Cross and prepares to begin the serving.  In order not to be inconvenienced by the scapular she turns it up and attaches it to the girdle.  When the Nuns have unfolded their napkins at the second signal, she serves the first portion, beginning with the Presider and continuing down her side; then she passes to the opposite side, unless a Nun is performing the mortification of eating on the floor, for in that case she gives her the last portion remaining on the first board.  In serving she makes simply an inclination of the head to the Presider, but each one, on serving her portion, makes a semi-inclination to the Server.

 

427.  The Server carries the different portions successively, and as she brings new dishes she removes, if necessary, the empty ones, so as not to encumber the tables.  She should give nothing special to anyone, except by order of the Prioress, but watch carefully that nothing is wanting to any Nuns.  In crossing the Refectory, she makes, without stopping, an inclination of the head to the Cross.  If the beverage has not been distributed beforehand, she serves it according to need.

 

428.  All should observe strict silence in the Refectory; the Presider herself should do so and not speak a word without absolute necessity.  For this reason, the Presider is accustomed to make use certain signs; namely; two stokes of the knife on the table to indicate the beginning of the reading; the same sign repeated after one or two sentences, to denote the beginning of the meal; again, the same signal given towards the end of the meal, that one or two Nuns may promptly collect the bread and gather the crumbs; and finally, once again, to indicate the end of the meal.  Two strokes are likewise given by the Presider to notify the Community to rise if the Prioress should enter or leave the Refectory while they are at table, or again, when the Prioress returns to her place after having performed a mortification.  When the Presider wishes to call the Server, she knocks twice with her knife on the table, but so rapidly as to leave scarcely an interval between.

 

429.  When a Nun enters late, and in general, when any Nun kneels before going to her place, while the Community is already at table, the Presider gives one stroke on the table with her knife as a sign for her to kiss the floor and go to her place.  This signal is also given for a Nun to rise from the prostration after acknowledging her faults or being reproved in the Refectory.  To call the attention of the Reader to correct a fault in the reading, the Presider strikes the knife once on the cup; to indicate the end of the mortification to a Nun who has her arms extended in the form of the cross, or to one who performs an extraordinary mortification, three or four strokes are likewise given on the cup.

 

430.  When any one has finished her meal, she arranges her napkin in proper order.  If then, through charity, she wishes to replace one of the officials still occupied, she rises and, having made a profound inclination to the Cross, goes and kneels before the Presider.  The later makes know to her by a sign which office she is to fulfill, pointing to the dish, the pulpit or the kitchen; the Nun kisses the scapular and having again made the inclination to the Cross, goes to do as directed.  Before kneeling to the Presider, as also after rising, she makes a profound inclination, if it is the Prioress, or a semi-inclination, if it is another Nun.

 

431.  When the Presider gives the first signal at the end of the meal, two Nuns take the baskets or places and making together the profound inclination in the middle, go the place of the Presider, and, making a profound inclination before and after if she is the Prioress, or a semi-inclination if another Nun, once collects the bread with a knife or pallet, the other gathers the crumbs into the basket by means of a little brush.  Having finished on one side, they pass to the other, making together the inclination in the middle.  Finally, they return to the middle, make the profound inclination, and bring the baskets back to their place.  Meanwhile, a Nun goes to ring the domestic bell, giving six continuous strokes, so that those who are not at the first table may arrive for the second.  They ring in the same manner at night after supper or collation, so that all may be present for the faults.

 

432.  The Nuns should conduct themselves with great modesty in the Refectory, keeping the eyes lowered and, when not eating, the hands under the scapular.  They unfold the napkin at the second signal and kiss the bread.  Religious temperance requires that they eat without haste or avidity.  The point of the knife should not be used in eating, and in drinking the cup is to be held with both hands.  No one should ask, even by sign, for anything that is wanting to her, except water, for which she may ask by pointing the pitcher.  When something is wanting to one of the Nuns, the one next to her who notices it may make it known to the Server by a sign.  When the portions are presented, on one is to make a choice but take the one nearest her, contenting herself with what God sends and accepting the mortification if the portion is less good.

 

433.  If a Nun breaks an object in the Refectory, she prostrates immediately in acknowledgment of her fault and only rises when the signal is given; she then goes to receive a penance from the Presider, whose scapular she kisses.

 

 

 

 

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graciandelamadrededios

Very interesting! I had never heard of the Mantuan Reform! See, I'm really no expert on Carmel. A short article on Blessed Baptist of Mantua, http://www.carmelites.net/news/the-glueckert-filesblessed-baptist-mantua-1447-1516/  Do you know though, were there Nuns under the Mantuan Reform? It's seems it was just Friars.

 

Hi Chiqui,

 

I finally got my copies of "The Carmelites" A History of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by Joachim Smet, O. Carm.

 

It has four volumes, however, volume three has two parts, so there are five books with 400 pages or so on each book. 

 

I am browsing the first and second volume; the first volume has information about the Mantuan Reform and there were Carmelite Nuns under their care, the second volume is almost entirely devoted to the Reform initiated by St. Teresa which is really interesting.  The details are amazing!

 

Mantuan Reform was not exclusive to Friars, it has been extended to the monasteries of Nuns as well.

 

I recommend these books to all Carmelite "at-heart"

 

 

Gracian

Edited by graciandelamadrededios

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Chiquitunga

Hi Chiqui,

 

I finally got my copies of "The Carmelites" A History of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by Joachim Smet, O. Carm.

 

It has four volumes, however, volume three has two parts, so there are five books with 400 pages or so on each book. 

 

I am browsing the first and second volume; the first volume has information about the Mantuan Reform and there were Carmelite Nuns under their care, the second volume is almost entirely devoted to the Reform initiated by St. Teresa which is really interesting.  The details are amazing!

 

Mantuan Reform was not exclusive to Friars, it has been extended to the monasteries of Nuns as well.

 

I recommend these books to all Carmelite "at-heart"

 

 

Gracian

 

 

That's great! Will have to check that book out! Thank you!

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graciandelamadrededios

That's great! Will have to check that book out! Thank you!

 

It is a great source of anything Carmel.  It also tells several reforms initiated by Carmelites even before the Discalced reform.

 

One interesting detail is that the original mantle of the Carmelites is not all white but stripe - white and black.  

 

This stripe represent the scorched mantle of St. Elijah when he was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot.  I hope I got this part of information correct.

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Chiquitunga

One interesting detail is that the original mantle of the Carmelites is not all white but stripe - white and black.  

 

This stripe represent the scorched mantle of St. Elijah when he was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot.  I hope I got this part of information correct.

 

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing that! That must be what this striped sash Chiquitunga is wearing at her clothing represents. I have never seen a sash worn with the bridal dress like this before. Perhaps it's a unique custom of their Carmels or Carmels in Paraguay or Latin America in general.

 

chiquitunga.jpg

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graciandelamadrededios

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing that! That must be what this striped sash Chiquitunga is wearing at her clothing represents. I have never seen a sash worn with the bridal dress like this before. Perhaps it's a unique custom of their Carmels or Carmels in Paraguay or Latin America in general.

 

chiquitunga.jpg

 

 

Did you ask Paraguay Carmel?  My guess is its probably cultural than Carmelite Custom.

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Chiquitunga

Did you ask Paraguay Carmel?  My guess is its probably cultural than Carmelite Custom.

 

No, I didn't. Maybe it's cultural but it must represent St. Elias' cloak being scorched, as you describe the original Carmelite mantle above. 

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graciandelamadrededios

No, I didn't. Maybe it's cultural but it must represent St. Elias' cloak being scorched, as you describe the original Carmelite mantle above. 

 

We can only guess but I can ask them if you like.

 

I guess I still have the email address of Paraguay Carmel.

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AnneLine

Really interesting discussion.  I don't know about the custom with the girdle, Chiquitunga, but my suspicion is that it is local custom of some sort, because I have seen lots of 'bridal' photos for various Carmels, and none of them wore that... hadn't even noticed it till you pointed it out!

 

I do know about the stripped mantles -- it dates from when they were literally on Mt. Carmel.  There is the legend about the 'scorch marks' from Elijah's Chariot, but it also is thought to have come from the clothing of the early desert hermits (or what the first Carmelties thought that might be!).  

This is a pretty good historically accurate representation -- it is the commonly seen drawing of the presenting of the Rule of St. Albert to the first Carmelites.  Not sure how old the artwork is, but from the perspective alone, would have to be pre-Renaissance.  It is the one that they put in our OCDS Rule & Constitutions book as well... kind of the 'official photo' of the presentation, so to speak. ;)
 

 

albert3.jpg

 

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graciandelamadrededios

Thanks Anneline!

 

Here's more:

 

Here is what I read from the book "Journey to Carith: The Sources and Story of the Discalced Carmelites" by Peter-Thomas Rohrback, OCD:

 

"The mantle presents an even more picturesque history.  The original mantle was composed of seven wide vertical stripes, four white and three black.  The image these religious presented in their long striped mantles was so bizarre when they appeared in the West that the Europeans, in their medieval penchant for Latin sobriquets, called the Carmelites fratres barrati (the barred brothers) or fratres virgulati (the stripped brothers).  The unusual costume worn by Carmelites was one the contributing factors to their lack of acceptance in Europe, and thus the chapter of Montpellier in 1287 the color of the mantle was changed to a solid white wool.  Some of the medieval chroniclers of the Order claim that the reason for the striped cloak was to commemorate the marks produced by the flames of the fiery chariot when Elijah threw his mantle on Elisha, but his is a pietistic viewpoint.  The true significance of the stripes was that it constituted the typical mode of dress in the East, and as such was merely the custom of the country.  During the sixteenth century a number of Carmelites carried staffs in their hands, in imitation of the staffs carried by the ancient nabis, but the practice was soon abandoned."

 

 

Edited by graciandelamadrededios

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AnneLine

I was thinking of exactly that quote, Gratian, but was too lazy to walk across the room for my copy of Journey to Carith!  :paperbag:

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Chiquitunga

Really interesting! Thanks for sharing that picture, AnneLine! I have never seen it before nor any other with their mantles like that.

 

Perhaps it was a local custom in Chiqui's Carmel and/or for bridal dresses and it's not related to Elijah's mantle at all. Gracian, that would be wonderful if you could ask them since you've already been in contact with them (& they sent you all that stuff on Chiquitunga) but no rush or anything. :like:

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Chiquitunga

Thanks for sharing that Gracian! I have got to get a copy of that book! Okay, so Chiqui's little sash had 5 black stripes, though there's still chance there's some connection... Best to ask them directly :detective:

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AnneLine

Something else to keep in mind -- that's a B&W photo (or sepiatone, technically) of your namesake, Chiqui. 

 

So it could be ANY color other than white or black. 

 

Might be blue for our Lady?  Or gold?  Or something else?  

 

Would be interesting to know..

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