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Chiquitunga

The Discalced Carmelite Nuns - 1990 & 1991 Constitutions

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Chiquitunga
I just wanted to be sure to give a link here to the other thread, The Order of Mt. Carmel, as it has some posts I didn't re-post in this one - in case anyone is searching for Carmelites on the web, and comes here.
 

Here's the list again with a few links: (the first 3 have the full Divine Office in Latin)

Alexandria, SD
Brooklyn, NY
Buffalo, NY
Dallas, TX
Des Plaines, IL
Erie, PA
Flemington, NJ
Iron Mountain, MI
Jefferson City, MO
Kensington, CA
Lake Elmo, MN
Louisville, KY
Mobile, AL
Pittsford, NY (Schenectady, NY recently joined them)
Traverse City, MI
Valparaiso, NE (Indult Latin Mass & Office)


Reposting this from Order of Mt. Carmel thread:

I visited/corresponded with 5 of the Carmels on this list. First, Des Plaines, which is right near me, which is great - highly recommended. They do not come from the list of all the foundations from Mexico, but from foundations from Europe - so they have different customs and are a little more simple than the Spanish custom Carmels.
(I like both traditions)

The next was Iron Mountain, MI - foundation from Grand Rapids in 1951 - Spanish traditions - wonderful community!!! just about full now.

The next, Buffalo, NY - incredible, Latin chant, very traditional. Then Schenectady, NY - came also from Grand Rapids Mexican Carmel later than Buffalo, wonderful community (now has merged with another Carmel in Pittsford, NY)

Finally Lake Elmo, MN, which I didn't visit, but spoke a few times with Mother Rose there. They are supposed to be an exceptionally great community also. I believe it was Mother Miriam who also recommended this place. They have a lot of land and are in a very very quiet area. They also have an amesome Carmelite order right near them, the Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who come for the Sacraments and give them spiritual direction and retreats.

They have a very very plain monastery, which Mother Rose particulary thought it was important that I know, as some may find it depressing there, she said, after a time. They are from the European foundations with the simple customs like Des Plaines. She sent me pictures in the mail. Their chapel has cement walls, and truly is incredibly plain. But this for them is a sign of their poverty, and also their simplicity in all things including the material.

Mother Rose asked me if I really liked the monastic feel of Buffalo, which greatly contrasts their monastery - and I definitely did. It is beautiful. So she recommended I go there then. But something really great about Lake Elmo is that they are definitely in a silent area and have a good amount of land which they own around them - which helps protect the silence.

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Chiquitunga
I thought I would post St. Maravillas' picture here. Formerly known as Madre Maravillas, she is the Spanish Discalced Carmelite who worked hard to see the old Constitutions of the OCD nuns kept, approved in 1990. Here is a portrait of her as a young Carmelite.

image003.jpg

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Chiquitunga
Another way to find great Carmels, besides looking only at ones with the 1990 Constituations, would be the ones in [url="http://www.flemingtoncarmel.org/StJoseph.htm"]St. Joseph's Association[/url] (1990 & 1991's, living out a traditional interpretation of the Rule)

also the Carmel in Des Plaines IL (1990) told me Terre Haute (1991) is very good

I visited the Carmel in St. Louis, MO. It is a beautiful old monastery. They are part of St. Teresa's Association (1991's) which does have meetings outside the monastery every 3 years or so. I believe only a couple of the nuns from each monastery goes each time. But still they were a great community - different than the 1990 Carmels in certain things though.

The adoration is really a unique thing about their Carmel. I'm pretty sure it was the bishop of St. Louis who asked them if they would slightly change their way of life to fit in adoration thoroughout the day, where the public could also come and adore on the other side of the cloister. It is an incredibly beautiful old chapel.

Other differences ... They are allowed to watch some religious programs or tapes on TV, while the 1990s definitely are not. In Buffalo, the only time they could ever watch a tiny bit of TV would be for something like the installation of a new Holy Father. But for anything else, it is strictly prohibited.
I really like the strict fidelity to a traditional interpretation of the Rule of the 1990 Carmels (and some of the 1991s), but some of the others can be great too.

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Chiquitunga
But again, guys, please forgive me, I don't mean to say anything negative about these sisters. I visited the Carmel in St. Louis that is under the 1991's in St. Teresa's Association who occasionally go out for meetings (2 or 3 at a time though, I believe) and those sisters were really nice and in the full habit. But again, I just think it's important for those discerning Carmel to be aware of this, as I had no idea until one of the Reverend Mothers explained it to me. But again, she did say that many of the 1991's are still great.

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Marieteresa
Interesting topic, I could be wrong about this but I have talked to a couple of Mother Superiors at various Carmelite monasteries who where actually against associations. One of the main objections was that they don't get alot accomplished at the association meetings and also the time, energy and money to travel to the various monasteries for a meeting. Don't get me wrong associations can be helpful at times but one must look at the other side as well.

Also I know a few people mentioned a couple of monasteries which are actually good but there were 2 mentioned that if one where looking for a more traditional place not to look there. One is considered a "rich monastery" and the second one is doing something that isn't the "norm". I have heard this from several Mother Superiors so my sources are credible. Just my ten cents

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alicemary
you brought up a interesting side topic, are some communities a little too rich living? I am often distressed at how fine some monastreries are. I am not sure how that can possibly be keeping with the vow of poverty.
Now, I believe the convent should be warm, and have some creature comforts, but some are rather opulent.
Very interesting to me, what are your thoughts?
AliceMary

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Totus Tuus
[quote name='Marieteresa' post='1178738' date='Jan 28 2007, 03:51 PM']
Interesting topic, I could be wrong about this but I have talked to a couple of Mother Superiors at various Carmelite monasteries who where actually against associations. One of the main objections was that they don't get alot accomplished at the association meetings and also the time, energy and money to travel to the various monasteries for a meeting. Don't get me wrong associations can be helpful at times but one must look at the other side as well.
[/quote]

There are similar reasons for which OLAM is not part of the PCPA association. I have heard, marieteresa, the same complaints about Carmelite associations. They don't seem to always be beneficial, although I am sure there are good situations in which they are :)

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Sr Mary Catharine OP
Just to weigh in on the whole association/meeting thing. First, the Holy See encourages federations/associations (same thing, different name). Recently 9 of our Dominican monasteries in the US were approved as the Association of the monasteries of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers in the USA. Originally, all our monasteries were connected under a losely formed "conference" but with [b]Verbi Sponsa[/b] we had to change what we had been doing for over 25 years.

Our experience has been that meetings among the monasteries have been extremely beneficial but again it could be the structure and content of our meetings. We have a novice mistress meeting yearly and the temp professed have a "theological formation program for 4 years for 2 weeks. Every 4 years we have a general assembly and every 4 years the prioresses meet.

Each meeting is structure around theological lectures on a specific theme and the sharings are based on these lectures. All are taped and brought home to the monasteries who listen and have chapter discussions on them. These meetings have helped the monasteries come together to have a coherent vision of formation rich in the Dominican tradition. For example, the next assembly in 2008 will be on our life of Liturgical prayer.

Poor Clares I know have told me that they have too many meetings and not much gets accomplished. We're always amazed at how much DOES get accomplished at our meetings and how it strengthens the bonds between our monasteries. We are truly Sisters!

Although Dominican monasteries can seem different in regard to externals (mainly the veil; we all wear the habit) we are united in our vision and understanding of what the vocation of the Dominican contemplative is in the Order and the Church. We are united under ONE constitution and a theology that is true to the Church.

Perhaps meetings have had such a positive effect on our monasteries is because the basic rule we live is that of St. Augustine which tells us to live in "one mind and heart in God". That is the basis for our coming together: to grow in our love of God and be united in Him.

Alice, you would be happy to see that our monastery is not opulent! It is small, very simple and nothing fancy! Only our choir is really beautiful!

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Marieteresa
Thanks Sr. Mary Catherine for weighing in on the matter....I have a question though. Is it expensive to send so many sisters to the various meetings? Also how do the smaller communities deal with the loss of manpower (sorry nunpower) when the professed have to attend meetings and what not.

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alicemary
Thank you Sr. Catherine. Your Chapel and Choir are indeed simple in design, and in my opnion simply beautiful. Dominicans just seem to do it right! But then, I am very much prejudiced in this!

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Sr Mary Catharine OP
[quote name='Marieteresa' post='1178799' date='Jan 28 2007, 06:39 PM']
Thanks Sr. Mary Catherine for weighing in on the matter....I have a question though. Is it expensive to send so many sisters to the various meetings? Also how do the smaller communities deal with the loss of manpower (sorry nunpower) when the professed have to attend meetings and what not.
[/quote]

Well, it is an expense but for Dominicans the most important expenses are for our theological, spiritual and intellectual formation.
The Assembly is only every 4 years and usually only 2 nuns go. The prioress meeting only the prioress goes (and that every 4 years), the novice mistress, only the novice mistress.

Because most of the monasteries are on the east coast most of the nuns drive to the meeting and often go first to another monastery to go together. Or they might fly to one monastery and drive the rest of the way with that monastery. The monasteries are pretty creative about it and getting good deals. Sometimes it means a flight at an inconvenient time or with extra stops but it's OK.

When a Sisters is absent she puts up a sheet with her charges and within 5 minutes everyone has taken one of them for her. It is a sacrifice but it's only for a short time and we realize that we will all benefit from the meeting.

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she_who_is_not
[quote name='Sr. Mary Catharine' post='1178878' date='Jan 28 2007, 08:35 PM']

When a Sisters is absent she puts up a sheet with her charges and within 5 minutes everyone has taken one of them for her. It is a sacrifice but it's only for a short time and we realize that we will all benefit from the meeting.
[/quote]

That is so sweet. I guess a monastery really is a "school of love" :love:

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alicemary
"When a Sisters is absent she puts up a sheet with her charges and within 5 minutes everyone has taken one of them for her. It is a sacrifice but it's only for a short time and we realize that we will all benefit from the meeting."






How I wish we had the same attitude at my job. What a better world it would be if we all would help each other out.

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Totus Tuus
[quote name=''Sr. Mary Catharine' ']


Poor Clares I know have told me that they have too many meetings and not much gets accomplished. We're always amazed at how much DOES get accomplished at our meetings and how it strengthens the bonds between our monasteries. We are truly Sisters! [/quote]

I almost mentioned this in my post! I was going to say that the Dominicans seem to have [i]exteremely[/i] beneficial federation meetings ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ And you're right, Poor Clares do have a tendency not to hone their attention in on really pertinent subjects at their federation meetings... which is why some communities have opted out of the federation.

Hopefully in coming years this will not be the case :)

[quote]We are united under ONE constitution and a theology that is true to the Church. [/quote]

I had a feeling it was the fact that Dominican contemplatives never split into branches which helps you to keep the same focus. Obviously God has other plans for different Orders (splitting into branches), but this probably does make a difference in simplifying the vision of the contemplative branch of the Order. Edited by Totus Tuus

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Chiquitunga

Interesting topic, I could be wrong about this but I have talked to a couple of Mother Superiors at various Carmelite monasteries who where actually against associations. One of the main objections was that they don't get alot accomplished at the association meetings and also the time, energy and money to travel to the various monasteries for a meeting. Don't get me wrong associations can be helpful at times but one must look at the other side as well.

Yep, this is what this thread is all about. Pretty much all the Carmels I visited were against the associations/federations, except for the St. Joseph's Association, which does not have meetings. But yeah, that's the main issue that the split was really about. Because from the beginning St. Teresa wanted her Carmels to have strict enclosure. They worked very hard to have the old constitutions kept, especially many of the Spanish Carmels with St. Maravillas, and the Holy Father approved them in 1990.

But still, many under the 1991 Constitutions have also decided to not join a federation/association, like Ada Parnell, MI, which is supposed to be a great Carmel! But I'd say the main difference between the 2 are that the 1990's answer directly to the Holy Father, and the 1991's to the Father General of the Discalced Carmelite Order. And one of the main issues the 1990's had was the insecurity of being under the OCD Friars, as many had become liberal, and because their wanting them to form federations and have meetings.

But I think it's great the contemplative Dominicans greatly benefit from federation meetings, don't get me wrong. That's amesome how they are all under ONE Constitution, and are very united in a common goal. Each order is different really.

I absolutely love the Srs of Bethlehem, who are incredibly orthodox and faithfully living the contemplative vocation, and they do have general chapter meetings, with some of the Superiors I believe and the Mother Prioress, who will meet at one of the monasteries I believe. And then they have the annual retreat at Les Montsvoirons for discerners and the sisters, of which one or two from each monastery is invited to attend each year (though it's up to them if they want to go). But for the OCD nuns, many really opposed going out for meetings, because it wasn't what St. Teresa intended for her Carmels, and the Holy Father recognized this and approved their old constitutions.
 

Also I know a few people mentioned a couple of monasteries which are actually good but there were 2 mentioned that if one where looking for a more traditional place not to look there. One is considered a "rich monastery" and the second one is doing something that isn't the "norm". I have heard this from several Mother Superiors so my sources are credible. Just my ten cents

Yes, I have heard this too. I think one of these would be the Carmelites in St. Louis, as their bishop asked them to put daily adoration in their schedule, which actually isn't part of the charism of the Discalced Carmelites. I certainly don't really think this change to the traditional Carmelite horarium is really a bad thing, personally - I mean it's adoration of Blessed Sacrament. But actually, this Carmel is not as traditional in a few other ways also, though they wear the full habit. But really, I don't know for certain, as I've never lived as a Carmelite nun there. But in little things that I mentioned before, and I think they do not observe the silence as strictly. I remember the Novice Mistress telling me that if they are both working in the kitchen for instance, they will talk, whereas a Carmel like Buffalo is much different. I'd say it's best to ask other good Carmels first about this, and then make a visit yourself, if any one believes God may be calling them to this Carmel.

I'm not sure which Carmel is considered a rich Carmel though. Hopefully, it isn't one that is under the 1990's .. but I don't know. Maybe was it possibly the Des Plaines Carmel .. I have visited there several times, and it is very plain and stark. But I know a very very rich lady did enter there as a widow, so maybe this is why they are considered rich, I don't know. But all the Carmels I visited always had good things to say about Des Plaines, that they are really living the charism well. When I talked on the phone with Mother Rose in Lake Elmo, and she was telling me that their Carmel is very plain, she said we are very similar to Des Plaines, in being plain - so I'm not sure it would be Des Plaines ...

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