Newsletter Fall 2001

Picture of St. Therese of Lisieux taken in 1896...........The Prayer of the Lowly heart pierces the clouds

Dear Friend of Carmel,

We used to think that purple and orange didn't go together. That was the case until some of our early risers saw the sun appear on the other side of our clover field. The Old Farmers' Almanac (not just any almanac) tells us the precise moment summer ends and autumn begins. But we who live close to the land know when autumn really happens. It begins when we see the farmer in the field to the north of us with all kinds of wagons and big machines leveling that huge field of golden corn. We know that autumn has begun when, after Evening Praise, we see a big harvest moon quietly lighting up the eastern skies. It seems to hold not only secrets, but also all those deeply human values we all cherish. But, we really know for sure that autumn has come when we see the cooks paging through the cookbooks looking for new ways to prepare "to-mah-toes," that luscious fruit that brings the summer's sun right to our table.


I saw ingathered and bound by love all the scattered leaves of the universe. Dante


We haven't mentioned the flocks of birds chanting their last song before they head south, and the bittersweet vigorously climbing all over the bell tower on its way to heaven. We, more or less, arrest this last activity by ringing the bell twice a day. When we do, we pray for you and hope that you catch some of the sound waves. Speaking of harvest time, we are really happy that the expert flower arranger among us did not follow through picking the lovely blooms from our potatoes earlier in the summer.

Before we continue, we want to mention that on July 5, our Sister Helen Sanchagrin went home to God, after a brief illness. Her family name means "without worry, without sadness." She is now in a place where that happens with ease, and where she is able to help those with worries or sadness. The empty spot in the chapel is a real meditation. Sister Helen was always eager to pray for people and would often ask to do that. Like St. Therese, the Little Flower, we hope she is spending her heaven doing good upon earth.

We continue to receive vocation inquiries. Recently, these inquiries have come from women in their twenties and thirties. We, who consider ourselves to be the "p,q,r,s,t" generation, look forward to welcoming the "X and Y" generations. With apologies to the poet, Carl Sandburg, we like to think that each new calling is a sign from God that the world of prayer should go on.

As usual, we dedicate all of October not only to the angels, but also to two of our favorite Carmelite saints, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower. Currently, we are practicing Therese's Canticle of Love, which talks all about God lifting up the lowly and those who are filled with sadness and fear. May this little saint be a strong intercessor at this time. We are offering bookmarks containing a rose petal blessed in her honor. Feel free to ask for this. We know that roses, like God's comfort and strength, come in many different forms.

Minutes after the World Trade Center event, we received a call asking us to pray. We did that, and we lit a candle to symbolize that there is a light no darkness can put out. Meister Eckhart writes that there is no joy or sorrow that comes to us that has not first passed through the Heart of God. We pray that our tears will be mingled with those of God and that our suffering nation will be held safely in God's embrace. Know that you and your families are also held in that embrace, and are being prayed for every day here at the monastery. A light burns on, constant and unimperiled.

Your Carmelites,
Eldridge, Iowa

..........O Holy Teresa,

Saint of unusual confidence in God,

A statue of St. Teresa of Avila who wrote, that all things can be done in God.  (Life chapter 13 paragraph 3)

you knew that nothing is stronger,

or gives clearer direction, than

a peaceful spirit.

Quiet our turbulence and give us

a listening heart.

With St. Therese, and all the other saints

and angels in your company, visit the heart of our nation

and awaken the powers of eternity within,

where burns a Kindly Light no darkness can put out.

There, we will touch the gentle movements of resurrection

and a new way of life , with new insights unimagined.

O Teacher of how to live life, we place this cause in your hands.

The Lord's Prayer. St.Teresa of Jesus, pray for us.


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