Newsletter - Summer 2007



Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Rosvista Bitterlinch Brink, 1954

International Center of St. Albert


Photo by Riccardo Palazzi, O. Carm

      O Mary, Gentle Presence in my life, help me to be where God wishes to meet me. I can only say that God does not need to look for me, for God has found me.

      I so want to have lived fully and to have loved well. Truly, I believe that whatever I once loved deeply, I will never lose, for it has become a part of me.

      O Gentlest Flower of the field in bloom, I place this cause in your hands. If I could embrace the path before me, I would come to know God and my own soul.

3 Hail Mary's - Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us.


Dear Friends of Carmel, Summer, 2007

As we lift our pen to send you summer greetings, our glance falls upon an encouraging quote from the poet Wordsworth: “The best portion of anyone’s life is this: all those nameless little unremembered acts of kindness.” This quote brings to mind all those friends of ours who are so much a part of our lives.

“Everyday” is probably a good way of describing our life together . We try not to miss all those small, enriching, and sometimes lightsome, moments in the midst of daily life. For example, here in the monastery, there are all kinds of wisdom-carrying sources, including the Food Guru, the Old Farmer’s Almanac , and even stories from Chicken Soup for the Unsinkable Soul. Oh, to be unsinkable! As Karl Rahner, S.J. writes, we try to pray everyday life.

We have found that if one allows enough time between acts, delightful things can happen. At the beginning of time here, we used to have loads of pussy willows. Gradually, though, they left us. It had been such a joy to welcome them in the spring. This spring, buried under overgrowth, we found several pussy willows planted by our Sister Rozanne many years ago. What an example of endurance! Somewhat the same thing is true with our Seven Sisters Rose Bush , given to us by one of our friends. We now have several of them. Initially, a bush was brought from Italy , and is now more than one hundred years old. It probably accompanied the mint that is now appearing everywhere. It, too, is unsinkable. And, then there is the faithful sundial we mounted when we first came here. It still gives us the right time on sunny days, (daylight saving time).


Due to the efforts of our most recent candidate, our front yard has become a place of beauty, bedecked with all kinds of flowers. What a wonderful way to attract the bees! Indeed, it lifts one’s spirit on those inner cloudy days. Some of these dainty blossoms find their way inside the monastery, where they are pressed and mounted on greeting cards. On the first day of our Pentecost retreat, a beautiful and serene eagle perched on our front roof near these flowers, where our gardener was working. We always interpret such a thing as a blessing from God. We pass this blessing on to you, of course.


Speaking of things high up, and returning to the moon (we have our own way of going to the moon), on May 19, we witnessed an unfolding drama in the sky. It was a crescent moon with the brightest “star” you have ever seen at its tip. It was one of the evening stars, Venus, in all her brilliance. Truly, it was awe-inspiring, even better than the Blue Angels.

Since July brings the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, we are offering the traditional cloth scapulars and scapular medals. For centuries, the Scapular has been one of the most popular Marian Devotions. The Scapular, of course, is a sign of Mary’s protection. We like to think that the brown of her mantle is a sign of her closeness to the heart of our land and to our lives. The three stars, then, are there to encourage us. Be assured that we pray for you, every day.

“Ours is not the task

           of fixing the entire world, but of mending that part of the world

                                within our reach.” Clarissa Estes

Your Carmelite Sisters – Eldridge , Iowa

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