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graciandelamadrededios

PAPER OF EXACTIONS

OF THE

Discalced Carmelite Nuns

OF THE ORDER OF

OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

taken from

the traditions of our Spanish Mothers and Foundresses

 

 

THE RECREATION.

 

The sisters must go to Recreation with as much punctuality as to any other Community hour, re­membering that God calls us thither as he does to Prayer in its time. They should be careful to take their work to the Community room in coming to the Examen. After Grace the sisters must go at once to Recreation, without stopping in any place or saying a single word. If anyone has failed in this point, she must go to prostrate herself (after saying her Ave Maria) near the Mother Prioress or Sub-prioress and confess her fault, should both be absent she does not prostrate.

 

On coming into Recreation each one kneels down and says an Ave Maria to offer herself to our Blessed Lady, and to obtain from her the grace not to say anything displeasing to her. No one should begin to speak until whoever is presiding has done so. The first word that is said must be of God, as for example: Vive Jesus, Thanks be to God, Blessed be God, or something similar. If the Mother Prioress is not there to preside, nor the Sub-prioress, the sisters should wait to be three before beginning to speak.

 

Care should be taken not to speak or laugh too loud nor to do anything contrary to that modesty which should always shine forth in every action of a Carmelite; but, if too much levity is to be avoided we must also take care not to be too serious, there­fore let there be no troublesome gravity during recreation which is given us to unbend and refresh the mind. Each one is free to converse about whatever may be recreating provided it be conformable to our holy state of life and that charity is not wounded. Gestures with the hands, contortions of the body must be avoided, in a word all giddy thoughtlessness unbecoming in Religious, yet without prejudice to true joy and holy gaiety.

 

We should be careful not to interrupt one-another in order to avoid confusion; each one out of humility and respect for her sisters should be more glad to listen than to speak. We should never assert and maintain our opinions and our way of thinking, nor give our advice unless it is asked or unless charity requires it; and, if so, only with great humility and reserve. We should never speak in recreation of the things of the world; nor, without permission, of what we may have heard in the parlor, since a Nun should wholly forget everything concerning the world which she has left for God.

 

We should not speak of the mortifications of the Refectory, nor of the other penitential exercises, nor whether little or much is given to eat, well or ill-prepared. No dreams should ever be related. Our Spanish Mothers assure that our Holy Mother St. Teresa forbids it absolutely. We should never allude to one another's natural defects. The sisters should take care not to contradict each other, nor to make any reproach to one another or the least observation however slight, were it only to say to a sister that she had not come when the bell rang, or that she had slept at Matins; one ought not to say so of oneself, as such things ought to be said rather with shame and sorrow than by way of recreation. Each one should strive to make herself agreeable to all. Ill temper, any appearance of contempt or of preference, childish caresses, words and ex­pressions of too great familiarity or savoring of the spirit of the world, all such things should be carefully banished from the conversation of the spouses of Jesus Christ. Nor ought we to allow ourselves to show what would be disagreeable or mortifying to us, as if anyone were to say : I could not do this—I could never bear that—such a thing is unendurable—or similar expressions most un­suitable to a religious soul who aims at a life of continual death to self and to her inclinations. If anyone, inadvertently or otherwise, were to forget herself at recreation, the others should try gently to change the subject, and to substitute another.

 

The sisters should carefully employ the time of recreation; on days when they do not work they should keep their hands under their Scapular, being seated in a religious way, not so close to each other as to appear crowded. On arriving at recreation each one should take her place in such wise as not to disturb the Sisters who are already seated.

 

 

No sister should ever ask at recreation what work the others are doing, what books they read, whence they came if they arrive late, where they are going if they leave the room. When a sister is absent, no one should enquire where she may be, nor whether she has been missing at any other Community hour. Neither is it allowed to speak with the officers about what concerns the offices, nor with the Turn-Sisters and Sacristans of anything that has to do with externs.

 

When, for some reason, two sisters spend the time of recreation elsewhere, they cannot recreate themselves together without leave. The novices, and indeed the sisters generally, should take care not to go to recreation unprovided with work, nor  uncertain as to how to do it; in case of difficulty they cannot beg any sister to show them, without first asking permission. When anything is shown at recreation, each one should be attentive to avoid all curiosity or immortified eagerness.

 

Two sisters having something to concert together, may not speak at recreation of what regards the offices under pretext of avoiding the breaking of the silence afterwards. When a sister is relating anything, those who are near should take care not to interrupt her, but at the same time each one should avoid being-irksome by holding long discourses, which prevent the others from speaking.

When the Mother Prioress comes in after recreation has begun, all the sisters rise and cease from speaking until she is seated, and they make an inclination to her as she passes. When she speaks of God at recreation all must listen, as also when she says anything to be heard by all, and should any sister continue speaking her neighbor should touch her and make her a sign.

We must never speak at recreation but with great respect and esteem for holy things, as also for Priests, Religious, Confessors, and Preachers, receiving in humility what they say of God, and passing over in silence whatever might happen to be defective in their discourses; it would be a sign of very little humility in a Religious to criticize any of these things; we ought rather to be disposed to draw from all things profit and edification.

 

We must never sing at recreation without leave. We should say nothing to a sister that we do not wish all to hear, and never whisper at recreation. Nor should we throw anything from one to the other, nor read to oneself any book, letter, or paper. Neither can we give or lend to each other or ask for anything without permission.

 

When there is a fire during recreation, we should go with simplicity to warm ourselves when we are cold without waiting to be invited to do so; on the other hand, we should not be too eager to go to the fire, but be submissive and pliable as a child, when we are told to do so; the most perfect is to do things in such wise as not to be noticed. We are allowed to take off our alpargates and to hold them to the fire, taking care neither to burn them nor our stockings. We should not stay near the fire longer than necessary, nor amuse ourselves there with useless talking.

 

We ought not to call a sister to give our place to her rather than to another; and no one who is by the fire during recreation can talk with the sisters who are there: the Mother Prioress alone can do so. We should neither work, nor read, nor sing while at the fire. If any sister is still cold when the bell rings for the end of recreation, she should ask permission to remain, and warm herself in silence.

At the first stroke of the bell for the end of the recreation, we must break off in the midst of what­ever we may be saying; it is not even allowed to finish a word half pronounced; we should likewise withdraw from the place where the recreation has been held; if any sister were obliged to remain there on account of her work, she should kiss her Scapular to have permission to do so and finish in silence.

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graciandelamadrededios

I would imagine that all these "Exactions" would be terribly difficult and they are impressive, until they became ingrained and 'automatic pilot' (unreflected).  It must have been very difficult at first.

 

I imagine so.....

 

Maybe, someone who had experienced learning the "Paper of Exaction" can share something here?

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graciandelamadrededios

PAPER OF EXACTIONS

OF THE

Discalced Carmelite Nuns

OF THE ORDER OF

OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

taken from

the traditions of our Spanish Mothers and Foundresses

 

ON SILENCE.

 

Those who embrace our way of life should fully understand that, as one of the primary obligations is to acquire an Eremitical spirit, so one of the principal objects of their solicitude should be to practice the virtues appertaining to this spirit; of these, silence is one of the first and most important, since the repressing of our conversation with creatures is one of the most powerful means which we can use to dispose ourselves for that inward communication with God in prayer which is, as it were, the soul and the very essence of this solitary life.

 

It is for this reason that our Holy Mother established in our order the use of a few signs that we might employ them instead of words for some little things which we have often to say to one another. But we must take care to remember: first, that it is not left to the choice of each one to invent signs as she thinks fit, but we must use those which are conformable to the established custom of the Monastery, and make them as distinctly as possible, so as not to give distractions to the Sisters to whom they are made.

 

Secondly, that none should be made un­necessarily, for the true spirit of silence is hardly less infringed by useless signs than by superfluous words. When it is necessary to speak, if two words suffice we must render this fidelity to God, not to say three; and should we find that we are listening to unnecessary words, the first who perceives it should humbly prostrate herself, the other prostrates herself also, and then they both rise together. The same is done if a Professed Nun when passing sees any sisters speaking in a place where silence is prescribed. We must have no fear in this of hurting true Charity nor of wounding the feelings of the sister who is thus admonished. Our first Spanish Mothers were most exact in the observation of this practice.

 

The places where silence is observed are: the Choir, the Ante-Choir or De Profundis, the Chapter room, the Cloisters, Dormitories, and Refectory; the Staircases, Hermitages, and all the Passages. Neither can any sister speak in the noviciate excepting the Mother Sub-prioress, the Mistress of Novices, and whoever the Mother Prioress may appoint to teach the novices to read or sing the Divine Office.

 

The sisters must understand that, with the exception of the hours of recreation, they cannot speak to one another unless it be for necessary things and even then in few words, as our holy Constitutions ordain. Therefore, when a sister is obliged, for the requirements of her Office, or for some other reason, to speak longer, she must ask leave. We should avoid as much as possible having to speak on coming out of Choir after the hours of the Divine Office.   When necessity obliges us to do so, we must wait until the sisters have withdrawn, and going aside into a room where we can shut the door, which we must be careful to do before saying the first word, we can then speak briefly and in a low tone of voice.  Generally speaking, whenever we have anything to say, it should be in a low tone of voice and apart from where the sisters have to pass, so that we may be seen and heard only by the sisters with whom we have to do, and that thus silence and solitude may be enjoyed through­out the Monastery.

 

When a sister has permission to say something to another, she should, before beginning to speak, let her know that she has this permission, which is done by kissing one's own Scapular. We should never call a sister from afar, this being contrary to silence and also to the respect which we owe to one another. It is likewise a custom in Religion never to speak or make signs through the windows, not even in times of general license.

 

Here it must be observed that during the hour of spiritual reading, silence should be kept with still greater exactitude; it is then only allowed to speak for such things as cannot be deferred until after three o'clock. Neither ought we to work, this time being given by our holy Mother, St. Teresa, for reading and prayer.

 

 

THE GREAT SILENCE.

 

The great silence is called by our holy Fathers the holy and sacred silence. All the Religious Orders have consecrated it to the communion of the soul with God; we must therefore during this time maintain so perfect a silence that one does not as it were perceive that there is any one in the house. We should make use of this exterior tranquility to enjoy and rest peacefully with the Spouse of our souls. The sisters cannot speak during the great silence excepting to the Mother Prioress, and the Novices to their Mistress; and even to them it must only be for some indispensable necessity; for should it be to ask leave for watching or other penances the observance of silence should be preferred to all private devotions. All signs which are not absolutely necessary should also be avoided; if something which cannot be delayed has to be said to a sister, it should be written. 

 

Although we ought, all through the day, to be careful to walk very quietly in the dormitories, in order not to interrupt the solitude of the sisters in their cells, yet we should take more special pains to do so during the Great Silence, that is to say, during the mid-day hour in Summer and' the hour after Compline; at these times we ought not to come and go in the Monastery unless it be for something very important and absolutely neces­sary; save such occasions, we have only permission to go from one place to another once during either of these hours; that is to say, to go where we may be heard by the sisters, as more especially in the dormitories and on the stairs; but in Summer we may walk in the garden.

 

Those who have devotion to spend these hours of silence in the Choir, in hermitages or other places of recollection, should be careful to make no noise, and not to take a light there after Compline. In shutting doors or windows, care must always be taken to do it very softly. We should not sweep, knock, or shake anything in such a way as to make a noise, in any part of the house whence we might be heard. Morning and evening, in getting up and going to bed, we must take care to do so very silently, going in and out of our cell so softly that we are not heard.

Edited by graciandelamadrededios
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graciandelamadrededios

PAPER OF EXACTIONS

OF THE

Discalced Carmelite Nuns

OF THE ORDER OF

OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

taken from

the traditions of our Spanish Mothers and Foundresses

 

 

On exactitude at community exercises.

 

We should go with the greatest exactitude to all Community hours, in honor of the humble subjection of the Only-begotten Son of God to the moments determined and ordained by His Father, for the time of His Incarnation, of His Birth, of His Life, and even of His Death, which made Him often say, as is recorded in the Gospel: "Father, the hour is come." In honor, therefore, of these sacred words and of this dependence of Jesus, all the sisters will be careful to go promptly to Community hours.
 

At the first signal calling them, they must leave at once every other occupation, to the extent of not even allowing themselves to finish a stitch of their work, only just taking time to leave in good order what they have in hand.

 

They should leave "the place where they happen to be with a tranquil, recollected, mortified spirit, and with a grave and modest step, their hands under their Scapular; showing by their behavior that they are in the presence of God and of His Angels, as living sacrifices immolated in the honor and for the service of Our Lord Jesus Christ and of His most holy Mother.

 

The sister whose week it is to ring the bell, should attach very great importance to being punctual to the moment; to ensure this she will take care to be near the bell four or five minutes beforehand, and at the last stroke of the clock but not before she will put the bell in motion, she will be exact in ringing each Community hour as it is marked, and whilst ringing she should pay attention to holding herself very upright and firm and pull the bell evenly, and avoid any unbecoming posture; she must be attentive to say the prayers marked for the bells slowly, and to offer them for the conversion of sinners.

 

THE BELLS

 

For the Conventual Mass, the bell is rung during a Miserere, and, after an interval of another Miserere, 60 strokes are tolled with the smaller bell.

 

For the Hours, Vespers and Matins, the great bell is also rung during a Miserere, then, after an interval of a. Miserere, 100 strokes are tolled with the little bell for the Hours, 60 strokes for Vespers and Matins,

 

On Feasts of 1st Class, and of 2nd Class having octave, two great peals are rung for the Conventual Mass, Vespers and Matins, leaving an interval of a Miserere between; after a second interval of a Miserere, 60 strokes as usual.

 

At Matins the great bell is rung again during the Te Deum.

 

For the evening hour of prayer, the bell is rung during a Miserere and a De Profundis, and for the morning hour after the Angelus twice the Miserere.

 

At mid-day and at six o'clock in the evening, not longer than a Pater Noster after the Angelus.

 

For the Adoration at three o'clock, 33 strokes.

 

For the end of recreation both morning and evening (the latter serving also for Compline), for the Examen after Matins, and again for the retreat, 30 strokes, as also for the Litanies at two o'clock in Lent.

 

To assemble the Community: when the Sacra­ments are to be administered to the sick, for a Sermon, to receive the blessing of a Bishop or of a Superior, and for all other exceptional occasions when the Community has to be assembled, 12 strokes are tolled twice, leaving an interval of an Ave Maria between each time. The Community then assembles in the Choir, or in whatever place the Mother Prioress may have indicated.

 

At one o'clock in summer for the end of the mid-day silence, the matraque is passed, by the sister in charge of the bell.

 

Call-bell.—The Call-bell is used for ringing the Chapter, the morning Examen, and for calling the sisters.

 

For the Chapter three double strokes are tolled three times, leaving between each three double strokes an interval of an Ave Maria.

 

For the Examen before dinner twice 12 strokes which serve also for the Refectory; the same in the evening for supper or collation.

 

In ringing the Call-bell for the sisters it must be done distinctly and there must be given time to arrive: it ought not to be done more than twice consecutively, and a little interval should be left before ringing a third time, the sisters must come promptly when they hear that they are called.

 

The Call-bell can only be rung for the Mother Prioress in very rare and pressing cases when it is not possible to find her.

 

The bell should not be rung for sisters when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, nor during Com­munity hours, or hours of silence.

 

For the reading of a quarter of an hour before evening prayer, 12 strokes are tolled.

 

The sisters who ring ought not to leave the bells between the peals, unless absolutely necessary.

 

The lay sisters ring the morning Angelus and hour of prayer; when the bell rings on exceptional occasions they must be exact in coming with the Community.       

 

Edited by graciandelamadrededios
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PAPER OF EXACTIONS

OF THE

Discalced Carmelite Nuns

OF THE ORDER OF

OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

taken from

the traditions of our Spanish Mothers and Foundresses

 

THE CHOIR AND THE DIVINE OFFICE.

 

We must assist at the Divine Office with a grave and religious bearing, with great mortification of the senses, and with the recollection and devotion due to the Presence of God. Out of reverence for His Divine Presence, the sisters should be most exact with regard to the prostrations, inclinations, and other Ceremonies of the Order, neglecting none, and being careful to make them with all the gravity and modesty required; they should therefore often read the Ceremonial of the Choir, in order to be well acquainted with what they have to do in this holy place.

 

We should deeply impress upon our mind and in our heart the love and esteem of everything relating to the Divine Office since after the adorable Sacrifice of the Mass it is the holiest and most sublime act of Religion. This thought should make the sisters most zealous in learning and in observing everything that is prescribed by the Ceremonial, leading them to neglect nothing which it is in their power to do, to fit themselves for the perfect observance of all that regards the Choir.

 

Each one should be careful to see and mark her office before going into Choir, so as to be very sure of all she has to do and to say there. If being in Choir a sister has any doubt respecting the Office or the Ceremonies, she should ask the Mother Sub-prioress, looking first towards the Mother Prioress, and kissing her Scapular for permission to do so. When the bell calls us to the Choir all should go there without any delay. They should lower their sleeves before entering the Choir or the Anti-Choir, and this must also be observed before entering the Oratory when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed there. Their sleeves must also be lowered   for   Processions,    and   when   going   to Confession.

 

Whilst we are waiting in the Anti-Choir between the ringing of the Bells, we must not read any book or paper, this time being given us for recollection, to raise our souls to God, and ask of Him the grace to sing His praises with deep reverence and with all the dispositions due to His Divine Majesty. Nor must we read any book or paper during the Office, Mass, Examen, and Processions, excepting the books containing what the Community has to say.

 

We may not show or give anything to each other without permission. When singing, we must always hold our book and sing from it, without ever singing anything from memory; when reciting, we may put aside our book at the Benedictus, and during the little hours from the Chapter; but the Novices who have not made their Profession have no permission to put aside their book at any time unless it be for the recitation of Compline.

 

As the Ceremonial treats in detail of all things relating to the Divine Office and the Ceremonies of the Choir, we will here only call attention to two things. The first is to observe silence and mortification so perfectly as to appear dead to all things else save praising God and being attentive to His Divine Presence. Therefore if any one makes a noise or some mistake the others should not appear to perceive it, taking care not to turn their head or raise their eyes to look at anything whatsoever. They should also avoid touching their face or their habit, and be careful neither to show their hands nor their feet.

 

Secondly, when it is necessary to come and go in the Choir, to open or shut the doors or the windows, to cough or use one's handkerchief, etc. these things should be done as quietly as possible. If at any time one cannot avoid making too much noise, we should-leave the Choir and withdraw so as not to be heard; first out of respect for our Lord's presence upon the Altar, and secondly not to dis­tract our sisters from their attention to prayer which should be so precious to us. We should return to the Choir as soon as poss­ible; this permission for leaving the Choir is only for exceptional cases. This modest reserve should be more especially attended to during Mass and when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, we ought at such times to kneel down and to rise up most gently.

 

During the Divine Office, when a sister says something which should be heard by all, we should abstain from any movement that might make the slightest noise. On days when we have not our cloaks at the beginning of Mass, those who are going to Holy Communion should put them on at the Offertory: and the novices who are not Professed should put on their little veils at the same time. We should rise to go in due order to Holy Communion when the absolution at the end of the Confiteor has been given.

 

The thanksgiving should last a quarter of an hour after Mass is finished. When a sister arrives after Mass has begun, she should not take her place in the Choir without permission, to obtain this permission she goes and prostrates herself near the Mother Prioress, or in her absence near the Sub-prioress, and does not rise until she is told.

 

The Cantors bring the desks before Mass, when it is sung, and take them away after Mass is finished, but they must not on this account fail to enter and leave the Choir in procession with the Community. When None is sung, the second Cantor places them, for this she leaves the Choir at the brief Responses and goes to fetch them.

When we have any office in the Choir we must be most careful to discharge it perfectly, and to foresee every day what we have to say, so as to make no mistake.

 

When the Blessed Sacrament is exposed or when there are sisters in prayer in the Choir, we should not say our office there without permission, for fear of disturbing their recollection; and as a general rule in the places of devotion, when we are reciting vocal prayers, we should do so in such a low tone of voice as not to be heard by anyone.

 

Out of homage and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, whenever a Mass is said in the Chapel during the little Hours, both Choirs remain stand­ing from the Sanctus until the Post-Communion.

 

Every time that the rules for the Ceremonies of the Choir oblige the sisters to kiss the ground, they should kiss it effectively and not content themselves with a half prostration.

 

Those who have devotion to prostrate them­selves, whether in Choir or in the hermitages, should take care to put their Scapular under their mouth; they cannot remain thus prostrate longer than the space of a Miserere.

 

If a sister makes any mistake during the Divine Office, or any noise, she must kneel down and kiss the ground, having her hands under her Scapular; on rising she makes a half-inclination turning towards the Blessed Sacrament.

 

When a sister enters the Choir after the Office has begun—that is to say, the Venite at Matins; the Hymn at the Hours; the first Psalm at Vespers; and at Compline, after the "Adjutorium nostrum, &c.," she kneels down in the middle of the Choir, and having made a cross with her thumb on her forehead, on her mouth, and on her heart, saying: Per signum Cruets de inimicis nostris libera nos Deus noster, and then an ordinary sign of the Cross, she prostrates to kiss the ground until the sign of the Mother Prioress, or in her absence of whoever is presiding. But had she simply left the Choir, on returning she goes to her place. The above-named signs of the Cross are always made on entering the Choir for the Divine Office when the Mother Prioress or whoever is pre­siding gives the sign to begin; they are also made on going into Choir for Mass, for the morning and evening hours of prayer, and for the Examen. On all other occasions, having taken Holy Water and made the sign of the Cross on entering the Choir, we go straight to our places, after the usual inclinations, and simply kiss the ground.

It must be remembered that we have to kiss the ground every time that we enter or leave the Choir.

 

It would be a great imperfection to show any annoyance at being in Office in Choir with any particular sister, or at being placed near to her.

The Novices can never be nearer than two steps from the Grate, and when the Blessed Sacra­ment is exposed, and the Grate of the Choir is open, they ought not to draw nearer than about the middle of the Choir. They may never touch the Grate.

 

We must never prostrate ourselves in the Choir when the Grate is open and the shutters are closed.

 

Every day after Compline, each one should return to the Choir to say silently the Veni Creator for all those who are commended to the prayers of the Community on that day, and a Subtuum presidium to Our Lady for all who are about to die the following night.

A sister who is of the second call is three days without rising for the morning hour of prayer and without making the deep inclination at the Office; she kisses her Scapular the first day for per­mission ; and at the evening hour of prayer she may sit down without further permission.

 

We ought not to stay in the Choir after Compline if we are afraid of being unable to keep awake.

 

 

 

 

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graciandelamadrededios

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Mother Prioress - Teresa of Jesus

 

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Nuns in Choir

 

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A Lay Sister - or Sisters of the White Veil

 

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A Carmelite Nun at the communion grille

 

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Rev. Mother Teresa and Sister Anne with Veils down

 

 

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Did that Carmelite monastery at the death camp (Auschwitz?) go ahead?  I seem to recall somewhere in memory that there was a much controversy about it some years ago and the Pope ordered them to leave.  I don't know if they returned or not.

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There isn't a community at Auschwitz any more, and yes, it was very controversial.  Jewish survivors -- and over a million Jews were murdered at Auschwitz -- were deeply offended, by both the presence of a Catholic institution, after centuries of Church-sponsored anti-semitic teaching in Poland, and by the erection of a giant cross on the site.

 

I was going to write a fuller explanation, but I think I will leave it at that.

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I almost said something myself, but hoped it would just be buried in postings on this thread.  

 

The Carmelite monastery there was CLOSED and REMOVED, and apologies, profuse apologies, have been offered.   For the reasons that both BarbaraTherese and Antigonos stated.   

 

PLEASE do not continue to post that image, Gratian.  Neither the Church nor the Carmelites want to have those images continue to circulate, Gratian and SilentJoy.  If you have further questions PM me and I will explain further.

 

Thank you for your Restraint, Antigonos; I can only imagine how hard those photos are for you.  

 

When it was originally founded, I don't think anyone realized the kind of problem it would create; I think the hope had been that it would be a place of prayer that this might NEVER happen again.  But it was done in a way that many found insensitive.... I knowthe Order wishes it could just erase the whole thing.  

 

However, as we have all learned, perhaps it is better that we do see reminders from time to time... lest we forget.

 

 

----------

 

Antigonos... how is your friend and her family doing -- the one with the cancer diagnosis.  I continue to pray the Psalms for her and her family...

 

 

Edited by AnneLine
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