Saturday, July 12, 2008

How Sweet to Die a Carmelite

Of your charity, please pray for Peter (late of Bunbury) who is trying his vocation with the Carmelite Monks of Wyoming (having departed thence just under a month ago). Now, to live a Carmelite is hard - but, as the proverb continues, to die a Carmelite how sweet it is!

For proof of this sentiment, I quote from the annual Auxiliary Newsletter from the Carmel of Launceston, as penned by Mother Stephanie Mary of Divine Providence, the Prioress (which my Mum has just sent me to read):

Sister Mary Monica, who was one of our foundation sisters and had been ill for some time went to God in a very beautiful and peaceful death on March 10th [2008]. We were all with her in prayer as she left this world at the moving words "Go forth Christian soul...". Her last weeks in our infirmary were marked by her peaceful surrender to God and her gratitude for all the sisterly care and love given her over those last weeks. How grateful we are to her for her great contribution to our community of nearly 60 years. Some of you may have known her earlier when she held the office of prioress several times. Please pray for her now. I am confident she is now praying for us all from heaven. Her funeral Mass on March 13th was really lovely and Father Terry Southerwood [Dean of Northern Tasmania] preached a beautiful homily.

I'm not ashamed that this simple yet uplifting account almost moves me to tears. Heaven! Thou shouldst be the only hoped-for sight!

Please pray also for holy perseverance for Sr Elijah Mary of Mount Carmel, OCD, who took her first vows at the Launceston Carmel on the 8th of September (Our Lady's Birthday) last year.

A lovely Carmelite custom, to which I've been privy on occasion, is that at the Easter Vigil, after all renew their baptismal promises, the nuns then renew their vows: I quite clearly recall hearing one of them saying "I, Mother Mary of the Holy Ghost..." and so on.

(The Carmel of the Immaculate Heart in Launceston, Tasmania, was blessed and opened on the 7th of June 1975, some 33 years ago, having relocated from the nearby country town of Longford, where it had originally been founded on the 15th of June 1948, from Adelaide in South Australia: so this is their diamond jubilee year. Sr Mary of the Holy Ghost, one of the foundation sisters, is still alive and active, Deo gratias.)

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