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Carmelite Customs


graciandelamadrededios

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One distinct custom of some Carmels in Italy and Austria; the two Carmels in Czech Republic has a distinct custom of pinning a wooden cross on their scapulars.  One wooden cross pinned outside the scapular and one pinned under the scapular.  When I emailed the photos to other Carmels, they were surprised seeing a cross outside the scapular since it is customary to pin the cross under the scapular.

 

That is very interesting regarding the Italian Carmels wearing the wooden Crosses like that. I had noticed that in the pictures of Blessed Elia of St. Clement and Blessed Maria Candida of the Eucharist too.

 

elias_con_monjas.jpg

 

image011.jpg

 

Blessed Elia of St. Clement, OCD

 

 

20120610-101558.jpg

 

 

Also, I'll post it here for everyone else, but as you pointed out to me in an email, there is a picture of a "Scapular Cross" that St. Teresa Margaret (another Italian Carmelite) wore here - http://www.stteresamargaret.org/Gallery3.htm

 

I'll keep searching when I have the chance and let you know if I ever find out the particular origins of this  :detective:

 

photos of Austrian Discalced Carmelite Nuns with wooden crosses on top of their scapulars:

 

8Selige.jpg

 

 

stehend(1).JPG

 

B-Orgel-gut.jpg

 

p_aloysi.jpg
Sr. Aloysia

 

 

Praised be Jesus Christ! The Lord gave me the opportunity recently to go visit the incorrupt body of St. Teresa Margaret :heart: Deo gratias! (blog post with pictures, http://mikaelaitalianadventures.blogspot.com/2012/03/shrine-of-st-teresa-margaret-redi.html still have to organize my own :j) I prayed for many people and intentions, especially those being called & I believe I said all VSers (I know I prayed it somewhere! lol) but either way I will pray for that intention right now! :pray:

 

I spoke with one of the nuns at the Turn and asked her about the wooden Crosses! :) She said they actually do not know and that they had really made an effort to research this themselves, especially their Sister who is the archivist. She said they were founded directly from Genova and are very close to the Genova Carmel, and that all the Carmels that come from this line have the wooden Crosses, including ones in other countries like Austria and the Czech Republic, which Gracian posted above. But the Italian Carmels that were founded from other countries like France do not have them. She said, as we have pondered, that it may be that they were added when the Italian Friars split from the Spanish, as a way to differentiate themselves (although as we know, the Friars did not add this Cross to their own habits themselves) I also think your guess, Gracian, about them adding it when they came from Malagon to Genoa (Genova in Italian :j) is a pretty good one too. That it symbolized their missionary spirit. It also would have differentiated them from the O.Carm. which I believe had many monasteries of Nuns in Italy already at the time, like the one already in Florence where Santa Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi entered, which I was given the opportunity to visit also (the original one which is the archdiocesan seminary now, the second one which St. Therese visited, & the third one which the community moved to in 1926 where her incorrupt body is now)

 

So seeing that the Nuns themselves do not know for sure, I think we may only find the exact answer in Heaven (or from Heaven if someone has mystical gifts, lol)

 

St. Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus, pray for us! :pray: & St. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi!

 

p.s. that was her exact name in religion, as the term "Sacred Heart" was not used yet at the time they told me

 

90051C%5B1%5D.jpg

 

 

ScapularCross.jpg

 

Scapular Cross of Santa Teresa Margherita :heart:

Edited by Chiquitunga
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I wonder if the Italian nuns who wear the wooden cross on the exterior of the scapular wear a crucifix underneath it. In Carmels of the Spanish and French lines, the crucifix given at first profession is worn under the scapular and attached to the tunic.

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graciandelamadrededios

I wonder if the Italian nuns who wear the wooden cross on the exterior of the scapular wear a crucifix underneath it. In Carmels of the Spanish and French lines, the crucifix given at first profession is worn under the scapular and attached to the tunic.

 

Hi Graciela,

 

The Nuns and Novices wearing the wooden cross on the outside part of the scapular also wears the profession crosses given to them during perpetual profession.

 

Gracian

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graciandelamadrededios

Welcome back, Chiqui!

 

I am very happy to see you here again!  Please send me an email about which Carmelite Monastery you visited.  I sent my own inquiry to the Discalced Carmelite Provincials in Italy and to some Italian Discalced Carmelite Nuns and both, essentially, have the same reply – they have no idea where the custom of wearing wooden crosses pinned outside the scapulars of the Nuns came from or its explanation.

 

I sent inquiries to Carmels of French and Spanish origins and they told me that this is the first time they heard and see (I sent attached photos of Italian and Czech OCD Nuns) wooden crosses pinned outside the scapulars and they added that they always have crucifix underneath the scapular.  They further explained that while it is customary the wear crucifix under the scapular, wearing one outside of the scapular was not customary among the Nuns.

 

Well, we have come to a dead end, yet again.  We will never know the official explanation of this custom since even the the Italian and Czech Discalced Carmelites themselves (those who worn wooden crosses on top of the scapular) does not really know where it began.  I sent several inquiries via emal to Genoa or Genova Carmel but I have not heard from them.  It seems that it all started in Genova Carmel and from there, carried over to their daughter foundations across Europe.

 

There are could be a lot of speculations at this point such as:

 

1. A custom of an older Carmelite Monastery when the monastery was established or taken over by Mantuan Reform.

 

2. To distinguish the Discalced Nuns from the Calced Nuns (who have numerous monasteries of nuns prior to the arrival of the nuns of St. Teresa) in Italy

 

3. A custom of Carmelite Nuns that was adapted by the Discalced Nuns when they took over the monastery.

 

4. It is customary for missionaries to be presented with a missionary crucifix when they embark on a mission and this could be what the Nuns of the Reform did when they were sent to establish a monastery of the Order in Italy.

 

I have been reading a lot about Carmel lately and in particular the history of the Order as written by Joaquim Smet, O. Carm.  There are a lot of reforms prior to St. Teresa’s across Europe!  Even the Italians introduced several reforms and chief among them is the celebrated Mantuan Reform which established several Carmels for women in Italy.

 

The following were monasteries of Nuns under the Mantuan Congregation:

 

1. Bergamo

2. Bologna “Convertite”

3. Ronciglione

4. Parma

5. Reggio

6. Emilia

7. Brescia

8. Ferrera (San Gabriele)

9. Mantua

10. Trino

11. Florence

12. Sutri

13. Vinovo

14. Alhino

15. Ferrera “Convertite”

16. Ferrara (Santa Lucia)

 

Converitite are a group of “reformed women” who converted and adapted the Carmelite Rule and further embraced the Mantuan Reform. 

 

The Mantuan Reform also took over other monasteries following another Rule and introduced the Carmelite Rule and the Constitutions of the Mantuan Reform.

 

It is very evident that within the Order of Carmel, there are friars and/or nuns who wanted to lead the life of “Stricter Observance.”  Many were grouped into Congregation and for some reason, died a natural death or have been incorporated back to the Ancient Observance.  The only reform that has successfully branched out from the Ancient Observance is the Reform of St. Teresa – Discalced Carmelite Order.

 

Thank you asking the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Italy about the origin of the wooden cross pinned over the scapular.  Though we will never know the exact explanation, this custom is quite unique among Discalced Carmelite Nuns and we are able to pique the interest of the Nuns themselves about its origin.

 

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graciandelamadrededios

Welcome back, Chiqui!

 

I am very happy to see you here again!  Please send me an email about which Carmelite Monastery you visited.  I sent my own inquiry to the Discalced Carmelite Provincials in Italy and to some Italian Discalced Carmelite Nuns and both, essentially, have the same reply – they have no idea where the custom of wearing wooden crosses pinned outside the scapulars of the Nuns came from or its explanation.

 

I sent inquiries to Carmels of French and Spanish origins and they told me that this is the first time they heard and see (I sent attached photos of Italian and Czech OCD Nuns) wooden crosses pinned outside the scapulars and they added that they always have crucifix underneath the scapular.  They further explained that while it is customary the wear crucifix under the scapular, wearing one outside of the scapular was not customary among the Nuns.

 

Well, we have come to a dead end, yet again.  We will never know the official explanation of this custom since even the the Italian and Czech Discalced Carmelites themselves (those who worn wooden crosses on top of the scapular) does not really know where it began.  I sent several inquiries via emal to Genoa or Genova Carmel but I have not heard from them.  It seems that it all started in Genova Carmel and from there, carried over to their daughter foundations across Europe.

 

There are a lot of speculations (and may remain as just like that) at this point such as:

 

1. A custom of the Nuns when the monastery was established and adapted by the Nuns of the Mantuan Reform when they took over the monastery.  For example, a group of Nuns who followed a different Rule and decided to embrace the Carmelite Rule.

 

2. To distinguish the Discalced Nuns from the Calced Nuns (who have numerous monasteries of nuns prior to the arrival of the nuns of St. Teresa) in Italy

 

3. A custom of Carmelite Nuns (of Mantuan Reform or of Ancient Observance, or of Stricter Observance) that was adapted by the Discalced Nuns when they took over the monastery.

 

4. It is customary for missionaries to be presented with a missionary crucifix when they embark on a mission and this could be what the Nuns of the Reform did when they were sent to establish a monastery of the Order in Italy.

 

I have been reading a lot about Carmel lately and in particular the history of the Order as written by Joaquim Smet, O. Carm.  There are a lot of reforms prior to St. Teresa’s across Europe!  Even the Italians introduced several reforms and chief among them is the celebrated Mantuan Reform which established several Carmels for women in Italy.

 

The following were monasteries of Nuns under the Mantuan Congregation:

 

1. Bergamo

2. Bologna “Convertite”

3. Ronciglione

4. Parma

5. Reggio

6. Emilia

7. Brescia

8. Ferrera (San Gabriele)

9. Mantua

10. Trino

11. Florence

12. Sutri

13. Vinovo

14. Alhino

15. Ferrera “Convertite”

16. Ferrara (Santa Lucia)

 

Converitite are a group of “reformed women” who converted and adapted the Carmelite Rule and further embraced the Mantuan Reform. 

 

The Mantuan Reform also took over other monasteries following another Rule and introduced the Carmelite Rule and the Constitutions of the Mantuan Reform.

 

It is very evident that within the Order of Carmel, there are friars and/or nuns who wanted to lead the life of “Stricter Observance.”  Many were grouped into Congregation and for some reason, died a natural death or have been incorporated back to the Ancient Observance.  The only reform that has successfully branched out from the Ancient Observance is the Reform of St. Teresa – Discalced Carmelite Order.

 

Thank you asking the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Italy about the origin of the wooden cross pinned over the scapular.  Though we will never know the exact explanation, this custom is quite unique among Discalced Carmelite Nuns and we are able to pique the interest of the Nuns themselves about its origin.

 
Edited by graciandelamadrededios
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graciandelamadrededios

JM+JT

 

Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever.

 

I posted this in another thread, but the thread isn't around anymore, I purchased this book at a Carmelite monastery gift shop called, "Following the Path of Divine Love" by the Discalced Carmelites of Cerro de los Angeles and La Aldehuela Spain and it was translated into English by the Carmel in Buffalo NY. It just came out a year ago. It's about the life of Saint Mother Maravillas and about Carmel. (It can be bought at this website here: http://www.carmelite.org.uk/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_SAINTS___BLESSEDS_OF_CARMEL_37.html ... it'll be somewhat expensive and shipped from the UK but I haven't found where else it can be purchased online.)

 

It is one of the best Carmelite books to read for one wanting to know more about Carmel and the customs (especially the Spanish customs.) Reverend Mother where I visited highly recommended for wanting to know more about life in Carmel it and it's really great. I just finished reading a chapter called "Our Life is a Very Good One" about the customs that are kept in Carmel throughout the year (what they do for feast days are beautiful and very touching) and letters from Mother Maravillas written to girls that were seeking entrance and the advise she gave them. If I have more time to spend on the computer sometime then maybe I could type up some of that chapter. Anyways, its a book to read for all those who are wanting to know more about Carmel and all of us with Carmelite hearts. :)

 

I am currently reading this book right now.

 

This book is available in Buffalo Carmel since the translated this book from the original Spanish to English.

 

Online, it is available at the publisher's website: Carmel International Publishing House in Kerala India.

 

 

Edited by graciandelamadrededios
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Really interesting stuff, Chiqui and Gracian.  That is FASCINATING about the Crosses.

 

I'd never even heard of the custom until we started seeing pictures of Bls. Elia and Maria Candida.  And.. it is intriguing to me personally because I had kind of instinctively wondered why the nuns didn't use a PLAIN cross as a profession cross rather than a crucifix.   Apparently SOMEbody at SOMEpoint might have wondered the same thing!

 

My understanding is that, like the Franciscans, there have been a lot of mini-reforms, but as Gracian noted, the only one that really 'stuck' was that of St. Teresa of Jesus... unless ... and this is a bit of speculation on my part here... perhaps in a few hundred years, people on whatever the equivalent of Phatmass exists in the 24th century may be asking similar questions about the 'reforms' of St. Maravillas and the Valparaiso JMJ Carmels.  I realize they aren't technically 'reforms' -- but neither did Teresa think that was what SHE was doing when she set out to simply live a stricter lifestyle in one single Carmel in Avila, St. Joseph's.  

 

Time and God's providence will tell!!!!

 

Having said that... I was intrigued at one point to find a reference that  Bl. Frances d'Amboise, who is credited along with Bl. John Soreth in founding the Nuns, had tried to enter both a Poor Clare and a Dominican community and found them too austere.... and that for that reason the initial Carmelite Nuns were deliberately founded as less austere.   Gracian and Chiqui, have you ever heard of this?   Because it kind of would make sense, if they were set up during the period of the mitigation of the Order...  And, I also read that when the Incarnation was founded initially, the nuns were given the choice of living a more or less strict option, and that the original Incarnation community chose the less austere option.... which was why St. Teresa was really opting for what she thought WOULD have been the correct inspiration for the nuns when she founded St. Joseph's.   It's an interesting view, because it would explain a lot about why the nuns at the Incarnation were so royally peeeeeeeved at Teresa for making them look bad...  and why she was so clear that she wasn't going to impose the observances of St. Joseph's on them when she was made prioress of the Incarnation.... she just wanted them to really live out the lifestyle they had vowed to live.  (I'm not sure, but I wonder if it really hadn't been intended to be more like say the Visitation Nuns than the laid-back almost non-monastic community that Teresa found there).  

 

Interesting questions and discussion!

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Hi Anneline!

 

It is indeed, very interesting and I really wish someone can provide us with concrete answers but it seems that the Discalced Carmelite Nuns themselves have no idea where the custom came from.

 

Franciscan has a lot of mini-reforms or observances because the Friars cannot agree on a single, unified interpretation of the charism of St. Francis – the Poverty of Christ.  Essentially, they can’t agree on the specific points of poverty – absolute poverty or ownership in common and this has given several Franciscan observances that exist after the death of St. Francis until today.  St. Francis, according to some, never really wanted to found an order and he was not a great organizer unlike St. Dominic, his contemporary.  The Dominican Order under St. Dominic was able to form a single, united government unlike the Franciscans.  It was said the St. Dominic was a great administrator.

 

The Carmelites have a different story and this started with the migitations, upon mitigations of their Rule which eventually lead to laxity and decline; common among religious orders during that period.  Suffice it to say that the Rule has been layered with various mitigations granted by the Popes.

 

As for Carmelite Nuns, it seems a great way to start with the Bull “Cum Nulla” issued by Pope Nicholas V which was the formal institution of the Nuns into the Order.  Prior to this bull a lot of women were asking to be incorporated into the Order and the General John Soreth finally petitioned Rome for approval hence, the bull “Cum Nulla” was issued and has formally accepted “Nuns” into the Order.  But the bull had a loophole – see the underlined texts:

 

The papal bull Cum Nulla.

 

Nicholas, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God. For perpetual memory.

 

No one can organize, without the permission of the Supreme Pontiff, any group of faithful, under whatever form of religion. Any group of female religious, virgins, widows, "beguines," "mantellati" or other similar groups, which exist under the title and protection of the Order of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, or who in the future offer to commit themselves, may not continue without the approval of the apostolic authority. By means of these letters, we decree that with regard to the reception, mode of life, admission and protection of the aforementioned, we decree that the Order and the Master General and the Priors Provincial enjoy and may use the same identical privileges given to the Order of Preachers and to the Hermits of St. Augustine. With these privileges the aforementioned virgins, widows, "beatas" and "mantellati" live in chastity and honesty, keeping fast and fulfilling all other duties, as they already do, according to the statutes of the virgins, "beguines", and "mantellati" of the other Orders, who also live in chastity and honesty. Let no one dare to interfere and contravene our decree. However, if someone presumes to contravene it, let that person know that he will incur the wrath of God and of his holy apostles, Peter and Paul.

 

Given in Rome, in St. Peter’s, in the year 1452 of the Incarnation of Our Lord, the 7th day of October, in the sixth year of our pontificate

 

Those underlined texts do not really explain if the Nuns are to adapt cloister and regular life; many interprets the bull as permission to continue the general spirit of Beguine lifestyle – no strict enclosure and fixed prayer schedule.  Further, it gived the Nuns equal footing with the Dominicans and Augustinians of the Second Order where each monastery is autonomous.

 

Soreth, armed with this document, immediately elevated some communities into the Second Order and for the next 25 years, Europe had seen rapid growth of convents in France and in Lowlands.  He asked some of the communities to follow the Constitutions of the Friars and later, he himself wrote the constitutions with strict enclosure.  But this did not make any impact with the Italian and Spanish convents, who continue to live the lifestyle of a Mantellate or a Beata.

 

Bl. Frances d'Amboise indeed tried with the Franciscan community in Nantes but due to her frequent illness, she found that the lifestyle of the “Poor Clare” too austere.  Then, she met with Soreth and he explained the new Second Order to her and she found it appealing. She endowed a convent and she herself entered there and received the habit from hands of John Soreth.

 

Due to diverse interpretation of the Bull and the autonomy granted by each monastery, there was no uniformity of observances. Those who were under the influence of John Soreth followed the ideal Carmelite life – they were cloistered and followed the Rule.  The Italian and Spanish Carmel has different story – they continued the lifestyle of Mantellate and Beata where they are free to leave the convent and maintains contact with people in the city.  Many of these convents in Italy are essentially Carmelite in name but Mantellate in practice except those who came into contact with the Mantuan Reform.  They may have not observed the strict enclosure but they are closer to the ideal of Soreth.

 

The monastery where St. Teresa entered was a Beaterio dedicated to St. Mary of the Incarnation founded by Dona Elvira Gonzales.  The community eventually petitioned the Provincial that Incarnation be admitted into the Second Order.  The “Beatas” adopted a form of life which contains the features of a convent but retaining the principal features of a Beaterio.  They have noviate and recitation of the Divine Office in common but the Beatas can easily ask permission to leave the convent.  Class distinction was evident – the rich ladies being waited upon by a servant and lived in a suite of rooms.  Their poorer sisters lived in dormitories and most of the time, has to go home or go out to find food for them.  This was the state of the convent when Teresa entered and they have close to 200 Nuns living inside!

 

The rest is history where we can refer to the Constitutions of St. Teresa, limiting the number of Nuns in each house to 21, no common work room, rough brown frieze (horse blanket) for the habit and course linen for the toque, no extra pleats on the articles of the habit, alpargates for the footwear and wearing of Grate Veils, etc.

 

The reform of St. Teresa was her “reaction” to the lifestyle she experienced in the Incarnation.

 

Well, eventually, the O.Carms. adopted the reforms initiated by St. Teresa and the Incarnation Convent petitioned to be transferred to authority of the Discalced Carmelite Order.

 

St. Teresa did not really envision reforming an Order but she has no choice when the Calced became aggressive towards the Discalced.  St. Maravillas did not see herself as a “reformer” but she wanted to be a faithful daughter of St. Teresa of Jesus and to the constitutions she wrote for her Nuns.

 

I usually recycle what I wrote and part of if was posted on the other thread.  In this connection, I am including here my reply to a friend who asked about the hermitical and cenobital spirit of Carmel:

 

The OCD Nuns and Friars are both Hermits and Cenobites.  The Primitive Rule St. Teresa has chosen is not actually the “Hermit” Rule of St. Albert but the Mitigated Rule of Innocent. 

 

1. The Rule of St. Albert is observed by the Hermits before their migration to Europe

 

2. The Rule of St. Albert mitigated by Pope Innocent was observed when the hermits resettled in Europe; transititioning from Hermit to Mendicant Friars.    

 

3. The Rule of St. Albert with additional mitigation granted by Pope Eugene was enforced to all monasteries of the Order when Teresa entered the Incarnation Convent in Avila.

 

St. Teresa professed first vows in Incarnation Monastery following the Mitigated Rule of Pope Eugene and later opted for the “Primitive” Rule of St. Albert by Pope Innocent.  The Rule of St. Albert without mitigation is in reality the Primitive Rule but during the time of St. Teresa, the Primitive Rule is the Innocentian Rule since this Rule is adapted for Carmelites living in Europe but retaining the eremitical inspiration example, staying in the cell to pray if not occupied by household and choir duties and hermit days within the monastery.  This is what St. Teresa had chosen and not the Hermit Rule.

 

Hence, if there are Carmelite Eremitical communities who want to be accepted within the Discalced Carmelite Order, they are usually denied acceptance since this is the spirituality of the Carmelites of the Ancient Observance.  If we literraly follow the precepts of Vatican II to return to the sources, the O. Carm. should return to hermit lifestyle.  This is the reason why there are many Carmelite Hermit Communities of Men and Women under the auspices of the O. Carm. and very few with the OCD.

 

The Carmels founded by St. Teresa and monasteries that were founded after her death has always maintained the hermit and cenobite aspect of life.  Cenobites in a sense that they live within the community, they pray, eat and recreate together.  Hermit in a sense that if they do not have choir or office duties, they stay in their cell to pray and meditate – a spefic point of the Carmelite Rule.  They also have hermit days where each Nun is given time spent away from the community.  Even while working with others, they remain a hermit since Carmelites does not have a workroom, ideally.

 

After Vatican II, two Nuns from Schenectady Carmel submitted an alternative Rule for an increase hermitical lifestyle but the request was denied by the Father General of the Discalced Friars.  One of the Nun left Carmel to establish her own hermit community and the other Nun died alone in the hermitage of Schenectady Carmel – her name is Francis Nevin and a book was written about her. 

 

Port Tobacco Carmel has laura type of living but they are not hermits at all, they still eat, pray and recreate with the entire community. 

 

But if a Carmel whose members pray, work, and eat alone and meet with the community during mass and have a weekly recreation, then diffinitely they are Carmelite Hermits following the Ancient Rule of St. Albert.

 

Now, lets hear it from Chiqui….

 

Edited by graciandelamadrededios
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********UPDATED VERSION*******

 

Hi Anneline!

 

It is indeed, very interesting and I really wish someone can provide us with concrete answers but it seems that the Discalced Carmelite Nuns themselves have no idea where the custom came from.

 

Franciscan has a lot of mini-reforms or observances because the Friars cannot agree on a single, unified interpretation of the charism of St. Francis – the Poverty of Christ.  Essentially, they can’t agree on the specific points of poverty – absolute poverty or ownership in common and this has given several Franciscan observances that exist after the death of St. Francis until today.  St. Francis, according to some, never really wanted to found an order and he was not a great organizer unlike St. Dominic, his contemporary.  The Dominican Order under St. Dominic was able to form a single, united government unlike the Franciscans.  It was said the St. Dominic was a great administrator.

 

The Carmelites have a different story and this started with the migitations, upon mitigations of their Rule which eventually lead to laxity and decline; common among religious orders during that period.  Suffice it to say that the Rule has been layered with various mitigations granted by the Popes.

 

As for Carmelite Nuns, it seems a great way to start with the Bull “Cum Nulla” issued by Pope Nicholas V which was the formal institution of the Nuns into the Order.  Prior to this bull a lot of women were asking to be incorporated into the Order and the General John Soreth finally petitioned Rome for approval hence, the bull “Cum Nulla” was issued and has formally accepted “Nuns” into the Order.  But the bull had a loophole – see the underlined texts:

 

The papal bull Cum Nulla.

 

Nicholas, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God. For perpetual memory.

 

No one can organize, without the permission of the Supreme Pontiff, any group of faithful, under whatever form of religion. Any group of female religious, virgins, widows, "beguines," "mantellati" or other similar groups, which exist under the title and protection of the Order of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, or who in the future offer to commit themselves, may not continue without the approval of the apostolic authority. By means of these letters, we decree that with regard to the reception, mode of life, admission and protection of the aforementioned, we decree that the Order and the Master General and the Priors Provincial enjoy and may use the same identical privileges given to the Order of Preachers and to the Hermits of St. Augustine. With these privileges the aforementioned virgins, widows, "beatas" and "mantellati" live in chastity and honesty, keeping fast and fulfilling all other duties, as they already do, according to the statutes of the virgins, "beguines", and "mantellati" of the other Orders, who also live in chastity and honesty. Let no one dare to interfere and contravene our decree. However, if someone presumes to contravene it, let that person know that he will incur the wrath of God and of his holy apostles, Peter and Paul.

 

Given in Rome, in St. Peter’s, in the year 1452 of the Incarnation of Our Lord, the 7th day of October, in the sixth year of our pontificate

 

Those underlined texts did not really explain if the Nuns are to adapt cloister and regular life; many interpreted the bull as permission to continue the general spirit of Beguine lifestyle – no strict enclosure and fixed prayer schedule.  So the Nuns continued with their former lifestyle while following the Carmelite Rule.  Further, this gave the Nuns equal footing with the Dominicans and Augustinians of the Second Order where each monastery is autonomous.

 

Soreth, armed with this document, immediately elevated some communities into the Second Order and for the next 25 years, Europe had seen rapid growth of convents in France and in Lowlands.  He asked some of the communities to follow the Constitutions of the Friars and later, he himself wrote the constitutions with strict enclosure with emphasis on prayer, solitude, silence, and penance.  But this did not make any impact with the Italian and Spanish convents, who continue to live the lifestyle of a Mantellate or a Beata.

 

Bl. Frances d'Amboise indeed tried with the Franciscan community in Nantes but due to her frequent illness, she found that the lifestyle of the “Poor Clare” too austere.  Then, she met with Soreth and he explained the new Second Order to her and she found it appealing. She endowed a convent and she herself entered there and received the habit from hands of John Soreth.

 

Due to diverse interpretation of the Bull and the autonomy granted by each monastery, there was no uniformity of observances. Those who were under the influence of John Soreth followed the ideal Carmelite life – they were cloistered and followed the Rule.  The Italian and Spanish Carmel has different story – they continued the lifestyle of Mantellate and Beata where they are free to leave the convent and maintains contact with people in the city.  Many of these convents in Italy are essentially Carmelite in name but Mantellate in practice except those who came into contact with the Mantuan Reform.  They may have not observed the strict enclosure but they are closer to the ideal of Soreth.

 

The monastery where St. Teresa entered was a Beaterio dedicated to St. Mary of the Incarnation founded by Dona Elvira Gonzales.  The community eventually petitioned the Provincial that Incarnation be admitted into the Second Order.  The “Beatas” adopted a form of life which contains the features of a convent but retaining the principal features of a Beaterio.  They have noviate and recitation of the Divine Office in common but the Beatas can easily ask permission to leave the convent.  Class distinction was evident – the rich ladies being waited upon by a servant and lived in a suite of rooms.  Their poorer sisters lived in dormitories and most of the time, has to go home or go out to find food for them.  This was the state of the convent when Teresa entered and they have close to 200 Nuns living inside!

 

The rest is history where we can refer to the Constitutions of St. Teresa, limiting the number of Nuns in each house to 21, no common work room, rough brown frieze (horse blanket) for the habit and course linen for the toque, no extra pleats on the articles of the habit, alpargates for the footwear and wearing of Grate Veils, etc.

 

The reform of St. Teresa was her “reaction” to the lifestyle she experienced in the Incarnation.

 

Well, eventually, the O.Carms. adopted the reforms initiated by St. Teresa and the Incarnation Convent petitioned to be transferred to authority of the Discalced Carmelite Order.

 

St. Teresa did not really envision reforming an Order but she has no choice when the Calced became aggressive towards the Discalced.  St. Maravillas did not see herself as a “reformer” but she wanted to be a faithful daughter of St. Teresa of Jesus and to the constitutions she wrote for her Nuns.

 

I usually recycle what I wrote and part of if was posted on the other thread.  In this connection, I am including here my reply to a friend who asked about the hermitical and cenobital spirit of Carmel:

 

The OCD Nuns and Friars are both Hermits and Cenobites.  The Primitive Rule St. Teresa has chosen is not actually the “Hermit” Rule of St. Albert but the Mitigated Rule of Innocent. 

 

1. The Rule of St. Albert is observed by the Hermits before their migration to Europe

 

2. The Rule of St. Albert mitigated by Pope Innocent was observed when the hermits resettled in Europe; transititioning from Hermit to Mendicant Friars.    

 

3. The Rule of St. Albert with additional mitigation granted by Pope Eugene was enforced to all monasteries of the Order when Teresa entered the Incarnation Convent in Avila.

 

St. Teresa professed first vows in Incarnation Monastery following the Mitigated Rule of Pope Eugene and later opted for the “Primitive” Rule of St. Albert by Pope Innocent.  The Rule of St. Albert without mitigation is in reality the Primitive Rule but during the time of St. Teresa, the Primitive Rule is the Innocentian Rule since this Rule is adapted for Carmelites living in Europe but retaining the eremitical inspiration example, staying in the cell to pray if not occupied by household and choir duties and hermit days within the monastery.  This is what St. Teresa had chosen and not the Hermit Rule.

 

Hence, if there are Carmelite Eremitical communities who want to be accepted within the Discalced Carmelite Order, they are usually denied acceptance since this is the spirituality of the Carmelites of the Ancient Observance.  If we literraly follow the precepts of Vatican II to return to the sources, the O. Carm. should return to hermit lifestyle.  This is the reason why there are many Carmelite Hermit Communities of Men and Women under the auspices of the O. Carm. and very few with the OCD.

 

The Carmels founded by St. Teresa and monasteries that were founded after her death has always maintained the hermit and cenobite aspect of life.  Cenobites in a sense that they live within the community, they pray, eat and recreate together.  Hermit in a sense that if they do not have choir or office duties, they stay in their cell to pray and meditate – a spefic point of the Carmelite Rule.  They also have hermit days where each Nun is given time spent away from the community.  Even while working with others, they remain a hermit since Carmelites does not have a workroom, ideally.

 

After Vatican II, two Nuns from Schenectady Carmel submitted an alternative Rule for an increase hermitical lifestyle but the request was denied by the Father General of the Discalced Friars.  One of the Nun left Carmel to establish her own hermit community and the other Nun died alone in the hermitage of Schenectady Carmel – her name is Francis Nevin and a book was written about her. 

 

Port Tobacco Carmel has laura type of living but they are not hermits at all, they still eat, pray and recreate with the entire community. 

 

But if a Carmel whose members pray, work, and eat alone and meet with the community during mass and have a weekly recreation, then diffinitely they are Carmelite Hermits following the Ancient Rule of St. Albert.

 

Now, lets hear it from Chiqui….

 

Edited by graciandelamadrededios
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"How Beautiful it is, how pleasant, where brethren dwell at one!" 

 

We are in agreement, Gracian!     That is exactly my understanding as well, and it is OFTEN a huge surprise to people when they find out the substance of what we both discussed.  BECAUSE it explains in a most charitable way to me why there were varying observances, and how each one could truly think THEY had it right!   But the reality, of course, is that what needs to be right is your focus on Christ at the center of all things.... and if the lifestyle being lived isn't conducive to that, it just plain WILL create problems.

 

Now, I MUST get some sleep (running on short rations of sleep last few days, and it has caught up with me!

 

I, too, will be curious to know what Chiqui (and the rest of you!) has/have to say!

 

;)     Good night, and we will pray for each other!

 

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Praised be Jesus Christ! The Lord gave me the opportunity recently to go visit the incorrupt body of St. Teresa Margaret :heart: Deo gratias! (blog post with pictures, http://mikaelaitalianadventures.blogspot.com/2012/03/shrine-of-st-teresa-margaret-redi.html still have to organize my own :j) I prayed for many people and intentions, especially those being called & I believe I said all VSers (I know I prayed it somewhere! lol) but either way I will pray for that intention right now! :pray:

 

I spoke with one of the nuns at the Turn and asked her about the wooden Crosses! :) She said they actually do not know and that they had really made an effort to research this themselves, especially their Sister who is the archivist. She said they were founded directly from Genova and are very close to the Genova Carmel, and that all the Carmels that come from this line have the wooden Crosses, including ones in other countries like Austria and the Czech Republic, which Gracian posted above. But the Italian Carmels that were founded from other countries like France do not have them. She said, as we have pondered, that it may be that they were added when the Italian Friars split from the Spanish, as a way to differentiate themselves (although as we know, the Friars did not add this Cross to their own habits themselves) I also think your guess, Gracian, about them adding it when they came from Malagon to Genoa (Genova in Italian :j) is a pretty good one too. That it symbolized their missionary spirit. It also would have differentiated them from the O.Carm. which I believe had many monasteries of Nuns in Italy already at the time, like the one already in Florence where Santa Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi entered, which I was given the opportunity to visit also (the original one which is the archdiocesan seminary now, the second one which St. Therese visited, & the third one which the community moved to in 1926 where her incorrupt body is now)

 

So seeing that the Nuns themselves do not know for sure, I think we may only find the exact answer in Heaven (or from Heaven if someone has mystical gifts, lol)

 

St. Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus, pray for us! :pray: & St. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi!

 

p.s. that was her exact name in religion, as the term "Sacred Heart" was not used yet at the time they told me

 

90051C%5B1%5D.jpg

 

 

ScapularCross.jpg

 

Scapular Cross of Santa Teresa Margherita :heart:

 

 

JM+JT

 

Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever.

 

Just wanted to say thank you for posting about your visit Chiqui; what a great blessing. Also, much thankfulness for your prayers. They are very much appreciated along with the information about Carmel that you share. God bless! :)

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I am currently reading this book right now.

 

This book is available in Buffalo Carmel since the translated this book from the original Spanish to English.

 

Online, it is available at the publisher's website: Carmel International Publishing House in Kerala India.

 

 Praised be Jesus Christ! :)

 

Are you enjoying the book so far? I thought it was great. I have certain parts bookmarked to go back and read again; especially the letters to her from her spiritual director. They are encouraging. Thank you for posting where it can be purchased. I have been to the Buffalo Carmel before (absolutely beautiful.) I purchased the book at the Brooklyn Carmel. Reverend Mother highly recommended it so how could I not have got it?  They are also a great community, small community right now but Our Lord will give them more vocations. What I found interesting about them as a Carmel is that they make communion hosts and they don't sew. They get their habits from a Carmel in Spain (I didn't ask which one though.) Another great thing, they wear wool habits all year long.

 

Thank you as well for sharing all this information about Carmel. This Carmelite heart could always learn more! Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

 

God bless you.

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graciandelamadrededios

 Praised be Jesus Christ! :)

 

Are you enjoying the book so far? I thought it was great. I have certain parts bookmarked to go back and read again; especially the letters to her from her spiritual director. They are encouraging. Thank you for posting where it can be purchased. I have been to the Buffalo Carmel before (absolutely beautiful.) I purchased the book at the Brooklyn Carmel. Reverend Mother highly recommended it so how could I not have got it?  They are also a great community, small community right now but Our Lord will give them more vocations. What I found interesting about them as a Carmel is that they make communion hosts and they don't sew. They get their habits from a Carmel in Spain (I didn't ask which one though.) Another great thing, they wear wool habits all year long.

 

Thank you as well for sharing all this information about Carmel. This Carmelite heart could always learn more! Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

 

God bless you.

 

I love reading the book!  It’s quite different from "Let Him Do It."  Mine was given as a gift.

 

I wish a book will be written about Mother Dolores of Jesus and I also wish that the biography of Mother Mary Joseph of the Heart of Jesus will be translated to English.  I have a small book about the Carmelite daughters of Mother Maravillas but they are printed in Spanish.

 

Brooklyn Carmel probably gets the material for their habits from the Carmels founded by Mother Maravillas or Carmels following the 1990 Constitutions in Spain.  These Carmels still produced their own woolen habit.

 

Edited by graciandelamadrededios
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