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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ordinariate :)

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

The Deaconing Ordination
Vigil of Pentecost
26 May, 2012.

Te Deum laudamus...We praise thee, O God :
we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee :
the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud :
the Heavens, and all the Powers therein.

Monday, May 28, 2012

WOMEN: 2 Saints to be proclaimed Doctors of the Church

2 Saints to be proclaimed Doctors of the Church in October

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CWN - May 28, 2012

During his Regina Coeli address on Pentecost Sunday, Pope Benedict announced that he will proclaim St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen doctors of the Church on October 7, at the beginning of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.

Last August, while on his apostolic journey to Spain for World Youth Day, Pope Benedict announced his intention to proclaim St. John of Avila a Church doctor but did not set a date. Earlier this month, the Pontiff announced St. Hildegard's "equivalent canonization."

Friday, May 25, 2012

VIETNAM: Four Catholic activists are sentenced

Four Catholic activists, on trial for "propaganda against the state", are sentenced
by J. B. An Dang
The young people received sentences ranging from 18 to 42 months in prison, followed by a period of probation. Thousands of people attended the trial outside the court, brandishing slogans of protest. Families announce the appeal. Vietnamese bishops: the arbitrary application of the law results in aberrations.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - A Vietnamese court has sentenced four Catholic activists of Vinh, under Article 88 of the Penal Code for distributing "anti-government leaflets" and conducting "propaganda against the state" (seeAsiaNews 24/05/2012 Vietnamese Catholic activists on trial for "propaganda against the state"). The young people - college students or recent graduates - appeared yesterday before the judges of the province of Nghe An, in the north of the country.  According to prosecutors, they were active in theRedemptorist News information network and volunteers of a Pro-Life movement, which is fighting for the protection of human life. Their claims of innocence during the trial and the protests of thousands of Christians activists camped outside the courthouse awaiting the verdict proved to no avail.

Local witnesses reported that Duong Van Dau received a sentence of 42 months in prison, followed by 18 months' probation, Tran Huu Duc 39 months in prison and one year of probation; Chu Manh Son 36 months in prison and one year of probation, and finally Hoang Phong, sentenced to 18 months.

In spite of months of preventive detention awaiting trial, the four activists have received support and solidarity from the Vietnamese Catholics, public opinion - which appreciates the work done for the benefit of society and the poor - and the international community. Thousands of faithful from Thai Ha and Hanoi camped outside the court, trying to gain access as per the authorities' promise of open proceedings in court.

In fact, only close relatives were allowed to attend the hearing, the majority, including Fr. Anthony Nguyen Van Nien and Fr. Francis Xavier Hoang SI Huong, Cau Ram parish, were forced to remain outside reciting rosaries and brandishing placards reading "My brother is innocent" and "We protest against the arbitrary and illegal arrests of innocent people."

The police finally decided to allow them entrance inside the outer courtyard of the court, because the protests staged outside were attracting the attention of passersby and onlookers. Immediately after the trial ended, the families of the condemned announced their intention to appeal, noting that the punishment is not comparable to the alleged "offense" committed. 

In recent days, the Justice and Peace Committee of the Vietnamese bishops' conference has also intervened in the court system of the country, stressing that "if the application of the law remains arbitrary and does not the rule of law closely" it ends up causing "many aberrations, which eventually push people beyond the limits ". The bishops denounced the "arbitrary arrests", which violates both the Penal Code as well as the international conventions signed by Vietnam.

CARMEL U.K.: Planning for 5th centenary of St. Teresa's birth

Planning for 5th centenary of St. Teresa's birth
16 May 2012

On 14th May 2012 discussions were held in London and Dublin between the Carmelite (O.Carm.) and Discalced Carmelite (O.C.D.) Orders to discuss ideas for celebrating the life and legacy of St. Teresa of Jesus, in the run-up to the fifth centenary of her birth in 2015.

In three years' time the wider Church in general and the Carmelite Family in particular will celebrate the birth 500 years ago of Saint Teresa of Jesus, the Carmelite nun from Avila in Spain who reformed and renewed the Order, wrote profoundly about prayer, and who was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1970. Initiatives to mark the quincentenary are taking place all around the world.

At the local level, communities of Carmelite religious and laity are reflecting on Teresa, re-reading her writings and reflecting on resources available on the "I Was Born For You" website.

At the national level, the Carmelite Family in Britain and Ireland is keen to organise its celebrations jointly between the 'Ancient Observance' (O.Carm.) of the Order in which Teresa was formed, and the 'Discalced Observance' (O.C.D.) which she inspired.

The idea to plan and host the celebrations collectively was agreed at the November 2011 joint meeting of the Provincials of the Irish and British Provinces of Carmelites, and the the Anglo-Irish Discalced Carmelites.

The joint initiatives will build on the work of the Carmelite Forum of Britain and Ireland, established in 2004 to encourage the sharing of spirituality and friendship between the different branches of the Carmelite Family in these islands.

Meetings to initiate planning took place simultaneously on 14th May at the Discalced Carmelite Church at Kensington in London, and at Avila Discalced Carmelite Priory in Dublin, with video conferencing linking the two meetings over the internet.

The meeting agreed that a number of jointly organised national events will take place in 2015, and in the two years leading to the anniversary year. Planning is still at a very early stage but it was agreed that:

  • In 2013 a lecture about St. Teresa will be held in both Britain and Ireland.
  • In October 2014 an opening liturgy will be celebrated in Britain (possibly in York) and Ireland to mark the start of the quincentenary, which will also commemorate the 8th centenary of the death of St. Albert of Jerusalem who approved the CarmeliteWay of Life text. In addition a 'Forum' style event combing a lecture with interactive workshops will take place.
  • In October 2015 the quincentenary will conclude with a closing liturgy in Britain (possibly in London) and Ireland. In addition an international symposium will be held to allow discussion about Teresa by leading scholars.

A number of other initiatives were discussed, some of which may be developed in the coming months, including:

  • A possible joint O.Carm.-O.C.D. pilgrimage to Spain in 2015, visiting places associated with St. Teresa
  • Events introducing young people and youth groups connected with the Carmelites to Teresa
  • The production of literature (popular leaflets and books), internet resources and a DVD
  • Raising awareness of Teresa in the Church more generally, and perhaps specifically in churches named after her
  • Circulating resources that can be used in small groups, such asLectio Divina sheets introducing people to Teresa through short extracts from her writings

Those taking part in the discussions were:

  • Johan Bergström-Allen, T.O.C. (Carmelite Projects & Publications)
  • John Berry, T.O.C. (Provincial's Delegate to the Carmelite Third Order)
  • Mary Byrne, O.C.D.S. (Knock Discalced Carmelite Secular Order)
  • Fr. Liam Finnerty, O.C.D. (Boars Hill Discalced Carmelite Priory)
  • Mary Forrest (Carmelite Explorers group, Dublin)
  • Annette Goulden, O.C.D.S., sent apologies
  • Fr. John McGowan, O.C.D. (Gerrards Cross Discalced Carmelite Priory)
  • Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm. (Prior Provincial, British Province)
  • Br. Noel O'Connor, O.C.D. (Avila Discalced Carmelite Priory)
  • Fr. Chris O'Donnell, O.Carm. (Irish Province of Carmelites), sent apologies

The next meeting of the planning group will take place in Faversham, Kent, with a video link-up to Dublin, on 30th October.

CHURCH: Assyrian Church of the East / Catholic dialogue ?

Assyrian Church of the East considers restarting dialogue

(Business Standard) - The Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East (COE), one of earliest Christian congregations which has adherents in many countries, including India, will be held in Chicago, US, from May 24 to discuss topics like resumption of dialogue with the Catholic Church.

Three prelates from India would attend the eight-day meet of 15 metropolitans of COE from different continents.

According to Mar Apream, Metropolitan of the church in India, besides himself bishops Mar Yuhannan and Mar Augin from the country would attend the synod.

The Assyrian Church, which flourished in West Asia and whose adherents scattered over different countries over the centuries, has now its headquarters in Chicago.
Aprem, who is also the church's Patriarchal Delegate to India, told PTI here that the Synod would take up the key issue of resumption of Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and ACOE.

The dialogue between the Vatican and the COE began in 1985 with a view to ironing out the theological and liturgical differences between the two churches and a common "Christological Declaration" was signed by the head of the Assyrian Church, Mar Dinkha IV and the late Pope John Paul II in 1994.

Mar Apream, who is the Co-chairman of the Dialogue Committee, said the schism in the Church occurred at the council of phesus (Greece) in 431 AD, about 1600 years ago, centring mainly on the vexed issue of Theotokos (Mother of God or Bearer of God) and Christokos (mother of Christ or Bearer of Christ).

ORDINARIATE: UK hierarchy slow to accept Anglican ordinariate?

English hierarchy slow to accept Anglican ordinariate?

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CWN - May 24, 2012

This Saturday, May 26, a group of 17 former Anglican priests will be ordained as deacons in the Catholic Church, to serve—eventually as priests--in the new Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. But while their ordination is certainly an important step forward for the Anglican ordinariate, columnist William Oddie sees it as a "disgrace" that the ceremony will take place in Westminster Cathedral. The problem, Oddie explains, is that the English hierarchy has not yet designated a principal church for the ordinariate, which has now been in existence for over a year. Why not? Oddie fears that the English hierarchy is reluctant to allow genuine independence to the ordinariate.

CHURCH: Mounting persecution of Church in CHINA

Mounting persecution of Church in Inner Mongolia

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CWN - May 24, 2012
Chinese authorities have stepped up their persecution of the Church in Inner Mongolia, the Chinese region that borders the independent nation of Mongolia.
Local Catholics report that Father Joseph Gao Jiangping, a diocesan administrator detained earlier this year, has been tortured, and underground priests faithful to the Holy See have gone into hiding.

Monday, May 21, 2012

LAOS / WOMEN: Hundreds of Laotian women "sold" in China

Hundreds of Laotian women "sold" in China, victims of human trafficking
The majority come from the northern provinces, near the border, and belong to the Khmu ethnic minority. Local officials stress that government attempts to counter the phenomenon are "largely useless". US department: Laos a "source" for unscrupulous traffickers.

Vientiane (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Over the past two years, hundreds of Laotian girls have entered illegally into China, innocent and unsuspecting victims of human trafficking. Most of them came from the northern provinces of Laos and efforts to save them have proved to be "largely" useless, reports Radio Free Asia (RFA), quoting anonymous government sources in Vientiane who have confirmed the seriousness of the phenomenon. Even the U.S. State Department, in the 2011 report on Trafficking in Persons, said that the South-East Asian nation is a "source" for unscrupulous traffickers, who supply women and girls for the prostitution rackets and force men, women and children - without distinction - into forced labor in factories, homes, in the fields and in the fishing industry.

The U.S. government report says that the Lao people - regardless of sex or age - are victims of forced labor in Thailand, Malaysia and China in particular, women and girls "are marketed" across the border, where they are "forced to marry Chinese men" . And although the government in Vientiane has made "significant efforts" to combat the phenomenon, the fact remains that even today Laos does not meet the "minimum standards" in the fight to fully eradicate the scourge.

The government official interviewed by RFA confirms that "hundreds of families in the provinces bordering China, have turned to authorities for help in finding their daughters who have disappeared into thin air." In all probability the young women were lured across the border with the prospect of a job or marry a rich Chinese man. Most of these young women are from Louang Namtha, Oudomxay, Bokeo and Phongsaly and belong to the Khmu ethnic minority.

The Laotian unit established to combat human trafficking has achieved some success, by freeing  the girls from a state of slavery. However, their searches in China are "largely unsuccessful" for two basic reasons: Chinese bureaucracy and the vastness of the territory. In addition, many officials working in the prevention complain of "scarce resources" and "lack of enough and properly trained staff".

According to official government in Vientiane, for 2010, 20 investigations into human trafficking were initiated, which involved 47 people of whom 33 were sentenced to a range of prison terms. The previous year, however, there were no convictions.

JESUITS in China

JESUITS Missionaries in China - Matteo Ricci, SJ and Johann Adam Schall, SJ (?)

Bento de Gois, SJ

Bento de Góis (1562, Vila Franca do Campo, Azores, Portugal - 11 April 1607, Suzhou, Gansu, China), was a Portuguese Jesuit Brother, Missionary and explorer. His name is commonly given in English as Bento de Goes[1][2] or Bento de Goës;[3] in the past, it has also been Anglicized as Benedict Goës.[4]
He is mainly remembered as the first known European to travel overland from India to China, via Afghanistan and the Pamirs. Inspired by controversies among the Jesuits as to whether the Cathay of Marco Polo's stories is the same country as China, his expedition conclusively proved that the two countries are one and the same, and, according to Henry Yule, made "Cathay... finally disappear from view, leaving China only in the mouths and minds of men".[5]


Sunday, May 20, 2012

CARMEL: Saint and Martyrs


CARMEL: the Son and Our Lady

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION - Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664)

Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664): "Inmaculada Concepción"
(1630-35, Oil on canvas, 139 x 104 cm; Museo del Prado, Madrid)

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel with Flowers

Our Lady of Ransom (Mercy)
Feast Day: September 24th

St. Cajetan

Patron Saint of job seekers

SEE: St. Cajetan

Feastday: August 7

In 1523, the Church was in sad shape. People could not get the spiritual nourishment they needed from the large numbers of uneducated and even immoral priests who took their money but returned nothing. When good priests and laypeople turned to the hierarchy for help, they found leaders at best apathetic and indifferent to their concerns.
How should a good Catholic respond to this situation? We all known how Luther and others responded -- by splitting away from the Catholic Church when their pleas went unheard.
Cajetan took a different route. Just as concerned as Luther was about what he observed in the Church, he went to Rome in 1523 -- not to talk to the pope or the hierarchy but to consult with members of a confraternity called the Oratory of the Divine Love. When he had first come to Rome many years before, he had felt called to some unknown great work there. A few years later he returned to his hometown of Vicenza -- his great work seemingly unrealized. He had however studied for the priesthood and been ordained and helped re-establish a faded confraternity whose aims were promoting God's glory and the welfare of souls.
In the years he had been gone from Rome, he had founded another Oratory in his home town and Verona where he had promoted spiritual life and care for the poor and sick not only with words but with his heroic example. He told his brothers, "In this oratory we try to serve God by worship; in our hospital we may say that we actually find him." But none of the horrors he saw in the hospitals of the incurables depressed him as much as the wickedness he saw everywhere he looked.
In his former confraternity, he found other clergy who felt the way he did. They didn't want to split off from the Church, they wanted to restore it. So they decided to form an order based on the lives of the apostles in the hopes that these lives would inspire them and others to live holy lives devoted to Jesus. In order to accomplish this they would focus on moral lives, sacred studies, preaching and pastoral care, helping the sick, and other solid foundations of pastoral life. This new order was known as Theatines Clerks Regular because it was an order of the regular clergy and because a bishop known as Theatensis was their first superior general (although Cajetan is considered the founder).
Not surprisingly, they didn't find thousands of formerly greedy and licentious priests flocking to their door. But Cajetan and the others persevered even in the face of open opposition from laity and clergy who didn't want to reform. It was his holy example that converted many as well as his preaching.
Worn out by the troubles he saw in his Church and his home, Cajetan fell ill. When doctors tried to get him to rest on a softer bed then the boards he slept on, Cajetan answered, "My savior died on a cross. Let me died on wood at least." He died on August 7, 1547.

In His Footsteps
Do you have concerns about the Church or about certain people in power in the Church? Have you ever thought of leaving the Church because of these concerns? What positive steps could you take instead of splitting from the Church to help promote holiness and love of God and others?

Saint Cajetan, when we see things that trouble us in our Church, help us to continue to love her. Guide us to the positive steps we need to take to work within the Church for renewal. Help us to be examples of holiness to all. Amen

Copyright 1996-2000 by Terry Matz. All Rights Reserved.

CARMEL: The historicity of the apparition of Our Lady to St. Simon Stock

Did our Blessed Lady appear to Saint Simon Stock and give him the Brown Scapular?

The long-standing tradition of the Church has approved this vision as an acceptable cult but that does not authenticate it as a historical experience.  In fact, one must be careful to speak of any vision as a historical experience in as that supernatural phenomena are a sort of intersection between time and eternity and as such have a unique relationship to history—which always is strictly limited to events that happen in time.  The most one can say historically, for example, is that at such and such an hour on such and such a day this visionary had an experience of seeing this particular phenomenon.  For example, one can say that on February 11, 1858, Bernadette Soubirous had an experience in which she perceived the Blessed Virgin standing in a grotto at Lourdes.  One can speak historically of the living visionary—Bernadette—and what Bernadette experienced on that given day.   It is more difficult to speak historically of the Blessed Virgin appearing because the Blessed Virgin no longer lives in a historical state, but lives in eternity. Since her dormition, Mary is beyond the realm of history.  It is therefore not possible to speak historically of her apparations.  One can, however, certainly speak of her apparitions when one speaks in the realm of faith or mystical experience.   This is an important distinction because we do not want to reduce our religious experience to the realm of the historically verifiable.  Religious experience brings us to those places in our experience where we can glimpse beyond the finite—something that history has no business doing.  Religious experience puts us in, what years ago one professor of mine called "a time that is no time and a place that is no place."  When we try to reduce our faith to the historical and verifiable we rob it of the eternal and transcendent.  The question then, from a historical perspective, is not whether Mary appeared to Simon Stock and gave him the scapular, but rather did Simon Stock perceive the Mother of God bestowing this sign of her protection on him and his brothers in Carmel. 

Well, after that long and metaphysical discourse, the answer still is "seemingly not."  There are huge problems with the story of Simon Stock and the scapular.  Father Richard Copsey, O.Carm. wrote an outstanding article, astonishingly erudite actually, for the Journal of Ecclesiastical History on this question.  There are several problems.  The first is the historicity of Simon himself.  The second is the account of the vision. 

There are few surviving documents from the 13th century that record the history of the Carmelite Order.  There is an ancient tradition that is not without documentation—albeit a fourteenth century necrology that seems to depend on an older but now vanished text—that there was a thirteenth century Prior General named Simon.  This is also borne out by other fourteenth century references.  There is also a story—preserved in Dominican, not Carmelite sources, of a prior on Mount Carmel by the name of Simon who met Jordan of Saxony during his ill-fated voyage to the Holy Land.  And there is a tomb of one Carmelite named Simon in the Cathedral of Bordeaux, a tomb that once stood in the Carmelite Church of that city, which in the Middle Ages drew many pilgrims. It is to this last that the stories of the vision seem to be originally attached.  This Simon, incidentally, would have been English and not French as Bordeaux was for most of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in the possession of the Kings of England and its religious houses populated by English religious. Simon the prior of Mount Carmel, Simon the thirteenth-century General of the Order, and Simon buried at Bordeaux may have all been one and the same person.  But then again they may have been three individuals.  Or two of the three could have been the same person.  We simply do not know enough about any one of the three Simons to make a judgment.  Nor is there any reason to connect Simon from Mount Carmel, or even Simon the Prior General, with the scapular vision.   A late fourteenth century tradition makes some link between Simon buried in Bordeaux with the vision, but this first connection with this tradition to the Scapular vision is a century and a half after the purported event—a long time for a tradition to be continuous without written documentation to support it.  

This bring us to the second problem, and that problem is the account of the vision.   No one seems to know about the vision until the very end of the fourteenth century—almost a century and a half after it supposedly happened.  This is extremely problematic in establishing historical accuracy.  Some argue that perhaps the stories were passed down verbally and only come to be written at the close of the fourteenth century.  But there are people who should have known about them—if they were historical—that have no knowledge of the vision at all.  The most prominent of these is a Carmelite friar named John Hornby.  At a debate at the University of Cambridge in 1375 Hornby, attacked the Dominican John Stokes, precisely over the claims the Dominicans made for having received their habit from the Blessed Virgin Mary.  According to Hornby, the Carmelites, ardent supporters of Mary's Immaculate Conception, were far more worthy of Mary's attention than the Dominicans.  The Dominicans followed the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas who denied the Immaculate Conception. Hornby says that if the Dominicans had received their habit from the Blessed Virgin, they show her little gratitude. They are, he insists "her greatest enemies" because of their denial of her Immaculate Conception. Hornby testified in his debate with Stokes to a Dominican custom of having a picture or statute of the Blessed Virgin bestowing the Dominican Scapular on the Friars Preacher in each of their houses.  He never mentions any such custom concerning the Carmelite scapular vision.  In fact, there are no known pictures of Mary bestowing the scapular on Carmelites from this period or earlier.  Moreover Hornby seems totally ignorant of any legends concerning his fellow Englishman, Simon Stock, having received the scapular from the Blessed Virgin in the previous century.  This despite the fact that he was a member of the same province—the English Province—of the Order as Simon Stock, and that he was at Cambridge, less than a hundred miles from Aylesford, the alleged site of the vision. 
Hornby is not the only one who is unfamiliar with the vision.  The two fourteenth century sources we have for a thirteenth-century General named Simon—the necrology of the Carmelites of Florence compiled by Giovanni Bartoli c. 1374 and the catalogue of Priors General of the Order compiled by John Grossi, Prior General of the Avignon Obedience c. 1390 mention a Prior General named Simon, but give no mention of the scapular or a Vision of the Blessed Virgin.  All in all, it is not possible to say that the stories of Simon Stock receiving the Scapular from the Blessed Virgin Mary are any older than the end of the fourteenth century, a century and a half after the vision supposedly took place.   This presents significant problems to the  historian for the claims that a thirteenth century Carmelite claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary and received the scapular from her. 

The story of the vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Pope John XXII at Avignon conferring the Sabbatine Privilege of her promise to deliver from purgatory on the Saturday following death the souls of any who died in the scapular has been shown by scholars to be based on an inauthentic papal bull forged in Sicily in the first half of the fifteenth century.  Thus the Sabbatine Vision and Privilege too are without any historical foundation.  Moreover, in 1603 a book containing the privileges of the Carmelite Order, including the Sabbatine privilege, was condemned by the Portuguese Inquisition.  Six years later all books mentioning the Sabbatine privilege were put on the Index of Forbidden Books in Portugal.  An appeal to Rome ended when the Roman authorities supported the Inquisition's ban.  The Carmelites were forbidden to preach the Sabbatine privilege—a prohibition they did not always honor—although the faithful were to be allowed to believe, with certain conditions, "that the Blessed Virgin by her continuous intercession, merciful prayers, merits and special protection will assist the souls of deceased brothers and members of the confraternity (of the Scapular), especially on Saturday, the day which the church dedicates to the Blessed Virgin."
These visions then cannot be seen as historical events.  That does not mean that they are without meaning.  The belief in the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary over the Order of Carmel and its members is and has always been strong—from the first days of the Order.  The scapular serves as a visible reminder of that protection despite its probable commonplace origins. 

Well, what about the various statements of the Popes over the centuries about the scapular.  Don't they prove the historicity of the vision?
Frankly, no.  Over the years many popes have encouraged the wearing of the Brown Scapular.  Some –such as Gregory XIII, Clement VII, Pope Saint Pius V, Pope Saint Pius X, and Pope John Paul II—have repeated the stories and legends concerning Saint Simon Stock or the Sabbatine Privilege.  No one has ever claimed that these statements enjoy the privilege of infallibility.  They do not meet the criterion which the First Vatican Council set down for papal statements to be infallible.    The statements should be considered doctrinally sound, but that doesn't mean that they are historically accurate.   Papal infallibility pertains to faith (doctrine) and morals, it does not extend to history or to the sciences.  No Catholic would dispute that the scapular disposes its wearers to grace, including—hopefully—the grace of final perseverance, but we cannot say that Our Lady made any promises to Saint Simon Stock or to Pope John XXII regarding this sacramental. 


St. Simon Stock receives Brown Scapular of Carmelite Order

Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne


Our Lady of Mt. Carmel with Sts. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross


CARMEL: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel with St. Joseph her spouse and St. Teresa of Avila

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel with St. Joseph her spouse
and St. Teresa of Avila


Affiliation with the Carmelite Order means... ? :)

What is this Carmelite spirituality that one must practice in order to have an affiliation with the Carmelite Order?

The spirituality of the Carmelite Order is one of the preeminent spiritual traditions of the Catholic Church.  It is difficult to reduce this spirituality to a few sentences.  One who wears the scapular should certainly reflect upon the teachings of the great Carmelite saints, three of whom are doctors of the Church. 
A few basic introductory principles of Carmelite spirituality would be:

  1. frequent participation in the Mass and reception of Holy Communion;
  2. frequent reading of and meditation on the Word of God in Sacred Scripture; 
  3. the regular praying of at least part of the Liturgy of the Hours;
  4. imitation of and devotion to Mary, the woman of faith who hears the Word of God and puts it into practice;
  5. the practice of the virtues, notably charity, chastity (according to one's state of life), and obedience to the will of God.

From: Catechesis on the Brown Scapular at

Carmelite Origins

Icon of Saint Albert of Jerusalem (left) and
Saint Brocard (right) on Mount Carmel.

Icon written by Sister Petra Clare, a Benedictine hermit living in Scotland.

Sister Petra Clare with one of the icons she had written.

The icon above depicts Saint Albert giving the Carmelite 'way of life' (Rule document) to Saint Brocard on Mount Carmel... (more).

St. Simon Stock. A Kentish man who became Prior General of the Order in the 1250s and who died in Bordeaux, France, in 1265. Our tradition associates him with a strong devotion to the Mother of God.
From: the British Province of Carmelite Friars.

St. Simon Stock receives Brown Scapular of Carmelite Order

ART: "Immaculate Conception" - Francisco de Zurbaran, ea. 17 cent. Spain

The Immaculate Conception - Francisco de Zurbaran
ca. 1630-35
Oil on canvas, 139 x 104 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hieronymite Habit: Los Jerónimos :)

Muñequitos Monasticos: Los Jerónimos

The Order of St. Jerome, usually referred to as the Hieronymites. They emerged in 14th century Spain and Italy from the amalgamation of groups of hermits (CCC 920-21). As the for the Spanish congregation, Pope Gregory XI granted them the Rule of St. Augustine at their approval. They flourished throughout the peninsula but the male communities were suppressed by the Government in the 19th century. At the petition of the Hieronymite nuns who where left unscathed, the monks were reestablished, but never regained their former numbers. Today exist only two monasteries of monks and 17 monasteries of nuns. This caricature is based on the Iberian Hieronymites. There exists or existed other congregations in Italy that had St. Jerome as their patron but I'm not sure if they use the same rule or habit as the Spanish communities.

Scapular Devotions

SCAPULAR Devotions: Meaning and Origin

Entries on the ScapularFROM:

Latin: scapula, shoulder-blade
The scapular forms a part, and now the most important part, of the habit of the monastic orders. Other orders and numerous religious congregations (both male and female) have also adopted the scapular from the monastic orders. It is usually worn over the habit or soutane and consists of a piece of cloth about the width of the breast from one shoulder to the other, and long enough that it almost reaches the feet in front and behind. In the middle of the cloth is the opening for the head, the scapular thus hanging down from two narrow connecting segments resting on the shoulders. Originally the segments were connected by cross pieces under the arms.
This scapular, like the whole monastic habit and the liturgical vestments of the priest, developed from the ordinary clothing of the laity. Just as the stole is the special sign of the priestly dignity and power, the scapular is now the sign of the monk. In the West, in the case of Saint Benedict, the scapular was at first nothing but a work garment or apron such as those used by agricultural labourers. From this developed the special monastic garment to which a hood could be fastened at the back. In fact, the original scapular of the Dominican Order was made so that it covered the head.

Ceremony and Symbolism

Western monastic formulae from the 9th century make no mention of the investment with the scapular. It was only gradually that it became one of the important part of the monastic habit, and later it was solemnly presented during the clothing, and the symbolism of the scapular is emphasized in the formula used during this ceremony. The scapular was often called simply crux (cross) due to its shape, and symbolism was introduced accordingly. It was thus natural to term the scapular jugum Christi (the yoke of Christ); it was also called scutum (shield), as it was laid over the head, which it originally covered and protected with one portion (from which the hood afterwards developed).
The rules of the religious orders expressly required the scapular must be worn, even at night. Carmelites have now a special smaller scapular which they wear at night, and it is likewise prescribed in the Servite Constituion. After Saint Benedict required appropriate dress while sleeping, the scapular became required for Benedictines, and appears to have become a portion of the night clothing of all monks.

Third Order Use

In the early Middle Ages, many lay people had already joined the Benedictine Order as oblates, and often received the entire monastic habit which they wore either constantly, or at least during Divine Service. It was a great grace and privilege to die and/or be buried in the monastic habit, which was frequently given to the dying or placed on the deceased before burial. The 1891 and 1904 statutes of the Benedictine Oblates states that "Oblates may be buried in the black habit of the order, with scapular and girdle, wherever the conditions allow the fulfilment of this pious wish". By the Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars in 1616, the Bizzoche who lived in the houses of relatives could wear the tertiary habit, but without veil, pectorale, and scapular. Later, the wearing of the special habit of an order became unusual, and constantly wearing one was regarded as a privilege.
Gradually the most distinctive article of the monastic habit, the scapular, was given in an ever smaller form. Eventually the third orders for the laity, such as those of the Franciscans, Servites and Dominicans, began to wear as their special badge and habit a "large" scapular, consisting essentially of two segments of woollen cloth (about 4.5 by 2.5 inches, although no particular length or breadth is prescribed) connected with each other by two strings or bands. The best known scapular is that of the Third Order of Saint Francis, or, as it is simply called, the Scapular of Saint Francis; it is brown, grey, or black in colour and generally has on one of the woollen segments the image of Saint Francis and on the other that of the little church of Portiuncula. For these large scapulars, the same general rules hold good as described in detail below in the case of the small scapulars. It is especially necessary that persons who desire to share in the indulgences and privileges of the third orders shall wear the scapulars constantly. However, the Congregation of Indulgences expressly declared on 30 April 1885 that the wearing of the scapulars of smaller form and of the same size as those of the confraternities entitled one to gain the indulgences of the third order...


St. Peter Nolasco - Mercedarian Order founder

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Our Lady of Ransom: Mercedarian Order


The Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel

The Brown Scapular is a Roman Catholic devotion to Mary under her title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is worn as a sign of love and devotion for the Mother of God. The Carmelite Order, to which the Scapular belongs, originated on Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land and the Scapular is itself a reflection in miniature of the habit (scapular: a sleeveless outer garment falling from the shoulders) which the monks wear as a sign of their vocation and devotion. Over the years the scapular, at least for lay people, became much reduced in size to small pieces of wool cloth suspended front and back.

Our Lady Appears to St. Simon Stock
The Scapular was presented by Our Lady to St. Simon Stock, the Father General of the Carmelite Order, on July 16, 1251. St. Simon's story is very interesting. He was an English hermit and lived in the hollow of a tree. He received the name "stock" because he lived in the hollowed trunk or stock of a tree. In time he became a Carmelite and later the Father General of the order. He led the order during a time of struggle.

The Carmelites originally were hermits on Mount Carmel, near Nazareth in the Holy Land. When they migrated to Europe, in this case England, some saw great wisdom in no longer being hermits and instead becoming friars who would work among the people. St. Simon guided them through this state of transition. In the year 1251 a most momentous vision took place. St. Simon Stock, newly transplanted to England, prayed earnestly to Our Lady for help. Then to him appeared the Blessed Virgin with a multitude of angels, holding the Scapular of the order in her blessed hands . . . 


Mary's Promise to Those Who Wear the Scapular
Our Lady gave St. Simon a scapular for the Carmelites with the following promise, saying :
Receive, My beloved son, this habit of thy order: this shall be to thee and to all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire .... It shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger, and a pledge of peace.
Another important aspect of wearing the Scapular is the Sabbatine Privilege. This concerns a promise made by Our Lady to Pope John XXII. In a papal letter he issued, he recounted a vision that he had had. He stated that the Blessed Virgin had said to him in this vision, concerning those who wear the Brown Scapular:
"I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting."

Conditions and Rituals Attached to the Scapular
According to Church tradition, there are three conditions necessary to participate in this Privilege and share in the other spiritual benefits of the Scapular: wear the Brown Scapular, observe chastity according to your state in life, and pray the Rosary. In addition to the Sabbatine Privilege, enrollment in the Brown Scapular also makes a person part of the Carmelite family throughout the world. They therefore share in all of the prayers and good works of the Carmelite Orders. Participation in the Carmelite family also, of course, places you in a special relationship with the Carmelite saints, especially St. Elijah, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, and, most importantly, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

In order to receive the spiritual blessings associated with the Scapular, it is necessary to be formally enrolled in the Brown Scapular by either a priest or a lay person who has been given this faculty. Once enrolled, the enrollment is for life and need not be repeated. Anyone, adult or infant, who has not previously been enrolled may be enrolled in the Brown Scapular.

Value and Meaning of the Scapular
Many popes and saints have strongly recommended wearing, the Brown Scapular to the Catholic Faithful, including St. Robert Bellarmine, Pope John XXII, Pope Pius Xl, and Pope Benedict XV.

For example, St. Alphonsus said:
"Just as men take pride in having others wear their livery, so the Most Holy Mary is pleased when her servants wear Her Scapular as a mark that they have dedicated themselves to Her service, and are members of the Family of the Mother of God."
Pope Pius XII went so far as to say:
"The Scapular is a practice of piety which by its very simplicity is suited to everyone, and has spread widely among the faithful of Christ to their spiritual profit." In our own times, Pope Paul VI said: "Let the faithful hold in high esteem the practices and devotions to the Blessed Virgin ... the Rosary and the Scapular of Carmel" and in another place referred to the Scapular as: "so highly recommended by our illustrious predecessors."

CARMEL: The Brigittine Rosary of the Discalced Carmelite Tradition

Carmelites and The Rosary

It is well known that our Holy Mother Saint Teresa of Jesus prayed the Rosary daily. It is believed that while she was traveling throughout Spain, she enjoyed the hospitality of at least one Brigittine Monastery, and from the Brigittines, learned to say their six-decade Rosary. The six-decade Rosary was later adopted as the Rosary of the Discalced Carmelite habit, with a large medal of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in addition to, or even in place of, the crucifix found on the Dominican Rosary. Only six of the eighteen decades are worn, as opposed to the entire fifteen decades of the Dominican Rosary, worn with the religious habits of some other Orders.

The Brigittine (or "Saint Bridget") Rosary looks similar to a regular Rosary, but with an extra decade. The resultant seven Pater beads honor the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the sixty-three Ave Maria beads commemorate the sixty-three years it is believed the Blessed Mother lived on this earth before her Assumption. In praying the Brigittine Rosary, there are a total of eighteen decades: In the six Joyful Mysteries, the first is the Immaculate Conception; the sixth of the Sorrowful Mysteries commemorates when the Body of the Lord was placed in the Arms of His Sorrowful Mother; and the sixth of the Glorious Mysteries is recited in honor of the Patronage of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace (and, for the Carmelite, Mary, Queen and Beauty of Carmel). The other mysteries are the same as in the Dominican Rosary. However, at the end of each decade, the Apostles Creed, not the Glory be, is recited." --Fr. Boyd