Newsletter - Summer 2006

Novena Prayer

Draw us after you, Virgin Mary.

We will follow in your footsteps.


O Gentle Presence on God’s Holy Mountain, listen to the whispers of our hearts. We believe that God sees all the desires of our heart since it is God who is the source of our desiring and is the One who has placed them there. Help us make visible that which, without us, will never be seen.

Our hearts are restless, dear Lady of the Mountain, because they come from afar. Truly, what is beyond us draws us back to itself.

Be with us, Friend of the Wayfarer. Together, we shall arrive. Remind us that we need not complete the whole task, but merely do what we can, now, and God will do the rest.

O Companion along the way, give us a blessing to sustain us. With trust and confidence, we place this cause in your hands.


(3 Hail Marys. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel , pray for us.)

Dear Friends of Carmel,

Every year, in the middle of summer, it is heard all over the world and finds its way into many hearts. We call it the still small voice of Carmel . It has a way of making something inside of us resonate. We pray that this is your experience. Carmel is the spot where God’s spirit meets our own. The image of Our Lady, pictured above, reminds us of that still small voice. This particular statue was brought to Eldridge from Bettendorf in 1975. Now, we see it every day in our Family Room. In the big book of John Bartlett’s quotations, the poet, William Browne, cleverly writes, “There is no season such delight can bring as summer, autumn, winter and spring.” With this letter, we choose to pay our respects to the lovely season of summer, the summer outside of us and the summer within.


Living out here in God’s country ushers in all kinds of happenings, including the friendly fox milling in and out of our flowers. The latest fascination has been two young deer visiting us during the afternoon hour of prayer. Our newest member has a unique way of seeing these things and of catching them on film. One of the deer looked her straight in the eye with the sun shining through its ears, making them turn pink. The end result was rays of light filtering through the evergreens with the deer at attention in the middle. It is the kind of photo one sees on the web. We included it in our Journey and the Joy . Such delights happen quite often, including the purple petunia growing in the crack of the side walk. Beauty is not only lovely but strong and persevering.


Our way of life continues to attract, probably due to the fact that quiet prayer within is natural to everyone. It is usually during the summer that others request to have a chance to experience our life close up. We find these visits to be extremely beautiful and rich, and mutually profitable both in the spiritual and in the very practical as well. A recent benefit involved our falling heir to a recipe for a different kind of everyday dessert, consisting mostly of broken pretzels, coconut, melted chocolate chips and whatever else is around. The pious among us call it “ St. Joseph ’s Delights”. The rest of us refer to it as little haystacks, or “What’s On Hand”. With such a name, we never have to worry if we have the ingredients. This dessert is a first cousin to the soup gleaned from cleaning the freezer. With great assuredness, the cook announced, “We liked it the first time.”


Probably one of the most wonderful happenings was the day we scurried to the east deck to view a double rainbow. (Some thought it was a triple.) This was Tuesday of Holy Week. The arch of color touched the ground on both ends and seemed to completely embrace our property. In fact, it was so expansive that we were unable to get a picture of the whole rainbow. Truly, our “hearts leapt up when we beheld the rainbow in the sky.” (Wordsworth) We prayed that its unusual beauty and its spirit of hope and encouragement would somehow reach all our friends. If you missed the rainbow this time, just know that another rainbow is on its way. Carl Sandburg says that the rainbow comes and goes, but that its memory and deep peace remain.


Speaking of deep peace , our dear friends, the Clinton Franciscans are sponsoring a “Peace Conference – Giving Witness to Nonviolence”. The conference features Ched Myers, and will take place September 29-October 1, 2006. From ages past, the monastic way of life has always been the call to walk the way of peace and non-worry, especially that of inner peace.  

Periodically , we like to mention our Journey and the Joy, a spiritual journal written by our own Sisters, in which we share our experience of God and encourage others to draw the best from life. We print this journal in our own monastery. The summer issue contains such articles as: Hunger For The Holy - The Fainting Robin – Relationships - Encouraging Life - and Enhancing Your Inner Beauty. The Ponderings include such topics as Reconciliation, also What To Do When Your Plans Go Awry . If you are not already a subscriber and would like to become one, please indicate this on the form in this mailing. Gift subscriptions and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Prayer Enrollments are also available.


As is our custom, we dedicate all of July to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel . So, Dear Friends, whenever you receive this letter, do pray the prayer posted at the beginning. Keep on believing that God sees all the desires in your heart and wants them to be realized. Know that we pray for you, every day.


Your Carmelites – Eldridge , Iowa


“I never spoke with God, nor visited heaven.

Yet, certain am I of the spot as if the chart were given.”

                                                                                                                                              Emily Dickinson

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