Newsletter - Fall 2006


     Novena To St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)


O Gracious Woman of God,

still active in our time,

you knew how to capture the

Heart of God through

your indomitable trust,

determination and desire.

Tell us, again, that we need not

be troubled or

frightened and that the one

who has God has

everything. Help us to

surrender. And, ask God

to accept us just the way we are.


We believe that

if we approach God from

the heart, God will, in

turn, speak to our hearts.

Hence, we need not worry.


We place this cause in your hands.

St. Teresa of Jesus, pray for us.


Autumn, 2006

Dear Friends of Carmel,

As we pen our opening lines to this newsletter, it is autumn in the country, autumn everywhere. Heading south, the geese overhead tell us that this is a new season, a season that will have its own gifts. These birds also teach us how to say goodbye. It happens every fall. This summer, God sent us both rain and sunshine to help us forget last year’s growing season. We watched the corn grow from baby green leaves, all in a row, to confident golden stalks in the sun, almost 2-3 feet taller than most of us. We enjoyed having our picture taken next to such a blessing! (We even took a yardstick out to the field to measure.) And, there were cucumbers and luscious tomatoes every day. Egg plants, too. The Job’s tears are in their final stage of producing pearl-like beads for making all kinds of things, while trying, at the same time, to compete with our Sweet Autumn climbing clematis. The Japanese beetles are finally gone. This leaves our persevering roses to delight us with their final show of enduring hope and beauty. We plan to mulch them with long pine needles. In the process, we have had an animated discussion as to whether or not our pines are the loblolly kind. We decided they are not, since loblolly pines grow in the southeastern states. However, we did have fun with the word, loblolly.


As we look back, we recall a funny thing that happened, July 3, the feast of St. Thomas , which had nothing to do with the saint of the day. On the other hand, maybe the incident is related to Thomas, in view of the fact that it is quite unbelievable. Our new novice had really been missing the green mangos of her homeland, the Philippines . We tried our best to alleviate this longing. On July 3, out of the blue, we received a call from a trucker, traveling in a huge truck on Interstate 80, asking us if we would like a load of mangos, 72 flats in all. For some reason, Wal-Mart had refused the shipment. We scurried around, contacting all our mango-loving friends, (even those who had never tasted a mango), and eventually found someone willing to distribute them. The mango feast went on for two or more weeks. Indeed, we came home rejoicing, bringing in the mangos. Even the Philippine growers would have been envious. We surely hope that all our merriment did not diminish the smile in every aisle at Wal-Mart in any way.


On a more serious note, on August 15, the Eldridge Carmel formally welcomed Sister JonFe Marie of the Holy Spirit into the novitiate. In the ritual, there is a questioning of the novice: “What do you ask of the community?” In reply, she responded: “Teach me to be constant in prayer, the foundation of this house, and to go out to meet God in loving encounter.” Sister JonFe Marie, we welcome you with love, and promise to be your companions all along the way.


There is another nice thing that has happened to us. Three Sisters of the Congregation of the Humility of Mary have been, and will be, with us a few months until their own Humility Center is renovated. This has been a real treat for us, enabling us to integrate their founding charism with that of Carmel . We have always been impressed with the pioneering and self-giving spirit of the American Sisterhood. Truly, their flame burns on, unimperiled, as the poet Jessica Powers would say.


Recently, a little book, entitled The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering by Sharon Mehdi, found its way to our door. It is a moving and enchanting story for anyone who thinks that he or she is not able to save the world, in the good sense of the word. The author begins by saying: “On a buffety, blustery early summer day, when the news was bad and the sky turned yellow, a strange thing happened in the town where I live. That morning, two grandmothers, who had never met, put on their Sunday clothes and walked to the center of town.” She goes on to say that they didn’t talk. They didn’t look at the squirrels, and they didn’t even munch on coconut candy. We won’t tell you how it ends. We will just say that at a time when the news was bad and many people felt powerless, two women did a very simple thing, which, at first, no one took seriously. When asked what they were doing, they just said they were saving the world. We don’t know about you, but we do wonder what we can do to change our world. Of course, there is always prayer and the giving up of munching on a Mounds or Almond Joy. The peace candle in our window remains.



By the time our next newsletter reaches you, Thanksgiving will have passed. We search for words to tell you how much you mean to us. Know that we pray for you, every day. Together, let us keep on going in the direction of our dreams.

Your Carmelite Sisters – Eldridge , Iowa

Carmelite Monastery

17937 250th Street

Eldridge , Iowa 52748 – 9425


I believe that the smallest act, done with love, is priceless.

                          St. Teresa of Avila          


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