Carmelite Novices Formation Meeting: ‘Who do you say I am?’
Carmelite Novices Formation Meeting: ‘Who do you say I am?’

Carmelite Novices Formation Meeting: ‘Who do you say I am?’

Carmelite Novices Formation Meeting: ‘Who do you say I am?’

The Novices and Novice Mistresses from Dolgellau Carmel in Wales, from Quidenham, Notting Hill, Lithuania and Iceland met for our annual Initial Formation Meeting. It is a good opportunity to connect with one another, build friendships and receive quality input. Here are some highlights from each of the main talks.
Jesus through the eyes of our Carmelite Saints
Fr Matt Blake OCD helped us to look at Jesus through the eyes of St John and St Teresa. He gave us her main description of prayer as a ‘friendly conversation with the one who we know loves us’. Jesus wishes to repeat the Incarnation in each one of us. He gives Himself totally to the one who gives herself totally, holding nothing back.
St John tells us to fix our eyes on Him; to have a habitual desire to imitate Christ and to bring our life into conformity with His. He is the motivation of every choice we make. It’s all for Jesus. How narrow is the way that leads to life. Following Christ, we were reminded, means denying self: ‘The Cross is the supporting staff that eases the load’. Fr Matt painted a picture of asceticism not as a negative thing, but as a way of changing the inclination: its whatever you need to do to set yourself free. What that is going to look like in practice is going to be different for each one of us, depending on what it is that binds us. If you hold on to even just one thing, you’re not free. Love is the spur and knowing that only Jesus answers the soul’s deepest longings. The soul ‘has left herself and all things for Him.’ (Spiritual Canticle 11,1). St John reassures us ‘If the soul is seeking God, so much more is God seeking the soul’.
St Teresa of Avila: Encountering Christ in Prayer
Sr Jo from Ware Carmel gave us a great synthesis of Teresa’s teaching on prayer: ‘we should occupy ourselves in looking at Christ who is looking at us’. Jo recalled St Teresa’s emphasis on the need for proper preparation, approaching God through the humanity of Christ, an awareness of Who it is we are speaking to, and intentionality: we should go to prayer fully intending to make contact with God. Prayer for Teresa is “simply a friendly and frequent, solitary conversation with Him who, as we know, loves us”. The closest Teresa comes to giving us a method of prayer is being present to Christ in a particular Gospel setting, looking at Him.
Come and See Weekends
For women who are interested in tentatively exploring vocation to any form of religious life, or to contemplative life, in particular a series of 3 workshops are being hosted at Dolgellau Carmelite Monastery in Wales. There will be input from a speaker, and the chance to meet Carmelite sisters and share in the sisters’ cycle of prayer, while staying in our flat/bungalow. You can attend just one, or the whole series. Book through our website (under construction) or by phone. More info about enclosed contemplative life is available on our youtube page ‘Carmel Wales’.
‘Their eyes were opened’ (Lk 24.15) – 17-19 July 2020 – with Sr Lynne Baron FCJ
‘They set out at once’ (Lk 24.33) – 9-11 October 2020 – with Carmelite Sisters


by a Carmelite Sister

Faith Magazine

May/ June 2020