NEWSLETTER    Summer 2008

Prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel



  Queen and Beauty of Carmel, pray for us!


O Holy Woman of God, Splendor and Beauty in our everyday world, we come to you as needy people.  Enliven and strengthen our efforts to follow the leadings of the Spirit.  Indeed, you are the Sunlight of our Summer.


O Quiet Companion along the way, help us believe that God is with us every single moment.  Tell us again and again that there is Someone who deeply desires our happiness and works everyday to help bring this about. Be the yearning we carry within. 


O you, who are a Gentle Guide in our lives, we know that there are many ways to God and that these ways will appear when we are ready. 

Read to us, then, the writing on our hearts and help us be ready when that moment comes.  With utmost confidence, we place this cause in your hands.


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


Dear Friends of Carmel,                                                                                   Summer, 2008


      Much like the rest of ordinary people in the world, we have our own unplanned everyday practices here at the Monastery.  One such practice is that of using our kitchen door for posting timely notices such as when Mass will be the next day, or a message describing some event that is most in need of urgent prayer.  Way up in the left-hand corner, we left a lovely Hallmark card that is now almost three years old. It reminds us that there is no special season for friendship.  It blooms the whole year long.  We like to add that friendship here at the Monastery blooms every day, regardless of the weather.  If there is such a book as Kitchen Table Wisdom, by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., surely there is another book, entitled Letters to Our Friends Early in the Morning, just waiting to be born. We also have a kitchen table that we sometimes use for this activity.  Looking out the window, and watching the sun come through the trees, inspires our message, of course.


     Speaking of friends, we always enjoy comments from our readers. In response to our last newsletter, one of our faithful readers wrote that she wondered how a Sister managed to hide a room that later could be used for a temporary greenhouse.  We wish to report that the winter beginnings from that “greenhouse” are now outside flourishing under the light of a sunshine we often attempt to coax into existence these days.  One of our “in-house Green Thumbers”, started her tomatoes from seed. Eventually, she had to transfer the plant to a huge flower pot.  When it finally landed outside, a passerby was heard to say, “And, what is the name of this tree?”


      On a chilly morning in May, after Mass that day, we had our customary Blessing of the Fields.  It was the Feast of Saints Isidore and Maria.  We sang and blessed our wonderful land in all four directions as far as we could see.  We hope this blessing reached your garden, of course.  Expect great things!  However, if you don’t want a tomato tree, please write us.


     Like the farmers around us, we surveyed our garden every day, to see if was dry enough to plant the many seeds we had in mind.  We found ourselves planting in-between the rains and the storms.  Indeed, it saddens us to look out the window and see big lakes in the middle of the cornfield across from us.  Through all of this, though, friendship is still blooming.  We keep trusting and praying that, with some kind of miracle, a worthwhile harvest will come to be for those whose hearts are so devoted to the rich land of the mid-west.  May the Lord of the Harvest take care of our worries. We are also earnestly praying every day for those who are dealing with tremendous losses due to tornados, floods and the effects of weather.  However, there may be a ray of hope.  At the time of this writing, one of our Sisters witnessed a double rainbow.


     Speaking of folksy news, we were delighted to read in our Sunday paper all about the perennial plant of the year, the “blue-lavender geranium called Rozanne”.  The announcement was printed in big bold letters. We were also told that the reaction to the selection was effusive. Generally, we think of this plant as the wild geranium.  Even though the choosing committee doesn’t know anything about our Sister Rozanne, we do.  It seems like she is still making Flora- Gems.  Now, all Sister needs to do is to send us favorable weather for the growing season.  We pray for that every day.


     Another unplanned custom we have is that of sharing quotable quotes with each other.  We would like to share one of these with you.  It is from the familiar Markings of Dag Hammarskjold.  On Whitsunday, 1961, he wrote: “I don’t know who, or what, put the question before me.  I don’t know when it happened, or even remember answering.  But at some moment, I did answer Yes to Someone, or Something, and from that hour, I was certain that existence is meaningful, and that my life, in self-surrender, has a goal.” There is something within us that seems to stir every time we come across this quote.  When did we say Yes, and to what or to Whom did we say that Yes?


     As always, we dedicate the month of July to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  The mantle of Mary is all-embracing.  There is room for everyone.  May she remind us of the moment we said Yes, the moment that made all the difference in the world.  Know that we pray for you every day.


Your Carmelites - Eldridge, Iowa


“Let this be our task ~ to encourage one another.”

                                                                                                             St. Barnabas

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