Carmel In The News

The Catholic Messenger Davenport, Iowa January 6, 2000

Carmelite Sisters share insight through spiritual journal



From Left, Sister Miriam Hogan, OCD Sister Mary Jo Loebig, OCD; and Sister Lynne Therese Elwinger, OCD, of the Carmelite Monastery in Eldridge, prepare for the next publication of "Journey and the Joy" a spiritual journal produced by the sisters.

"To find a way to share the fruits of our contemplation with the community and find a type of income to support ourselves, we decided to publish a spiritual journal called 'Journey and the Joy,'"said Sister Mary Jo Loebig, OCD.

The Carmelite Sisters in Eldridge began early in 1999 to publish their works four times a year. Sister Miriam Hogan, OCD, said the publication is a way to express theology. Each issue has writings submitted by the sisters and associates. Sr. Loebig decides the theme, which writings are published, and does the editing. Sister Lynne Therese Elwinger, OCD, helps with the editing as well. Sr. Hogan does the layout and design.

Each issue has several boxed areas called "a word" or "pondering," said Sr. Hogan. A word is a single word and often tells of a life experience that can be applied to personal experience. "Word has a special significance," said Sr. Hogan. Ponderings are a little longer and "have more of a hold in our minds."

Now that four issues have been published, Sr. Loebig says the sisters are eager to write for the next issue. They want to know the theme so they can start thinking about what to write. She will work with sisters individually to help them shape what they want to say. Sr. Hogan noted that the sisters have seen a growth in their ability to express themselves.

"There has been a fair amount of feedback from the readers," according to Sr. Elwinger. "People do indicate they like "Journey and the Joy" because it has writings not normally found elsewhere. They like the fact that they can sense a theme."

She said the 340 subscribers range in age from young to old. "We hope we appeal to everyone."

Sr. Loebig said the journal helps fulfill the spiritual hunger - hunger of the heart - for many of its readers. The mission statement of "Journey and the Joy" is "to make the Carmelite themes better known and to invite all people to the awareness of the gift and joy of everyday mysticism."

Sr. Loebig said she finds proofreading the most challenging task. "Computers can only do some of it," she said. The cover and center page spread are printed at the monastery. The rest of the pages are sent elsewhere. "We collate, staple and trim all the issues," she said.

Sr. Elwinger said the sisters "would like to increase the circulation. We liked starting small and it gets easier with each issue."

Sr. Hogan is currently working to update another communications vehicle of the sisters: their monastery website - and e-mail - People have begun to use the e-mail address in asking for prayers. "This is part of our outreach," she said.

There are currently 15 sisters at the monastery in rural Eldridge, with two more expected to arrive this year. The community also has more than 30 associates throughout the United States. "We receive solid input from our assocates," said Sr. Elwinger. "They offer diversity and add to the richness of the articles." "Journey and the Joy" is available for $12 per year, $10 for senior citizens and students. Back issues are $2 each. For more information or to subscribe contact the Carmelite Sisters at 17937 250th St., Eldridge, Iowa. 52748-9425; call (319) 285-8387, or contact their e-mail address.

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