The Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm celebrated the First Profession of Vows of Sr. Sharon Rose Carmel and Sr. Mary Dolores Carmel on July 10, 2021. The Eucharistic celebration was held at Saint Teresa’s Motherhouse in Germantown, NY. The Chapel was filled with family members, invited guests and friends to share the joy, and witness the sisters’ profession of religious vows.
His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York was the Principal Celebrant and Homilist and the Very Reverend Mario Esposito, O.Carm. was the Master of Ceremonies. Also present were Rev. Matthew Breslin and several Carmelites of the Saint Elias Province from Middletown, NY. In the homily, Timothy Cardinal Dolan posed the question, “What words does Jesus use when he invites us to follow Him? ‘Remain with Me’… never forget that, dear Sisters, the mandate that Jesus gave you on the day of your profession, simply to remain in Him. If you remain in Him… you will bear much fruit and the fruit will be love… Sr. Sharon and Sr. Dolores you are going to be doing a lot of things in service of Jesus and His Church in your apostolates and ministries… the difference is of course that you will be doing it with love, the love that comes from remaining with Him.”
The highlight of the ceremony was when each Sister took their Vows of Obedience, Poverty and Chastity. The Sisters then received the black veil, symbolizing the status of a professed Sister. Sr. Dolores Carmel and Sr. Sharon Rose Carmel received their “Obedience” and mission assignment and will both be going to Carmel Richmond Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Staten Island, New York.
Congratulations to the Sisters and may they find joy and fulfillment as well as receive many blessings as they give themselves to the service of God and His Church!
A Concert in Celebration of Venerable Mother Angeline – “A Life of Compassion and Kindness”
David McCrory’s dream of honoring Mother Angeline with a new song, recorded in the Vatican, came true on May 25, 2019. In May 2021, David posted the concert held at the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, in Rome on the internet. Mother Angeline’s life story is presented with photos and text accompanied by the concert music.
(Photo: Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm)
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ and Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
Once again, I would like to welcome you virtually, to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middletown, New York. Here, under the patronage of Our Lady, we strive to draw closer to Christ under Mary’s guidance and mantle, and to provide a place of prayer, silence, and grace to all who visit. We welcome all who are joining us in the Carmelite Symposium co-sponsored by the Center for Carmelite Studies at Catholic University of America, and the Carmelite Institute of North America, of which I am the Chair of the Board of Directors. With us present for the Mass and Morning Prayer this morning are the Novices of the North American Provinces of St. Elias and the Most Pure Heart of Mary, as well as Lay Carmelites who belong to the Shrine Community.
In the old days, this would have been the fourth day in the Octave of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and tomorrow is the Solemnity of our Father Saint Elias. The Mass chosen honors the Blessed Virgin Mary, Image and Mother of the Church and, of course, she is the Image and Mother of Carmel, our religious family. The members of a family always reflect the parents from whom they came, and in Carmel we are always meant to imitate and reflect Mary, the best and most faithful disciple of her Son. Carmelites are never confused: we live in allegiance to Jesus Christ with a pure heart and a good conscience, as our Rule teaches us. However, in that living, Mary – and Elijah of course, – give us examples of how to live in that full allegiance, and what that means. Anyone who turns to Mary can be assured that she will turn them toward Christ.
Among the beautiful sentiments and teaching found in the readings at today’s Mass, I would like to reflect briefly on a few points, in keeping with the theme that Mary is the image and Mother of the Church – and Carmel.
When once I was participating in a lectio divina session with a group of lovely diocesan priests, the text was taken from the Acts of the Apostles, as we heard it read today. Each priest shared what he understood the text to mean at that moment for him, and each sharing was meaningful. When I read the passage, my eyes immediately fell upon Mary at prayer in the midst of the apostles and disciples gathered. That was all I could keep coming back to in my mind. As we went around the circle, not one of the other priests mentioned Mary, which amazed me, and when my turn came, this presence of Mary in the middle of the early Church was the focus of my sharing and poured out of me. As Carmelites, what might we see in this passage? I think, first of all, we see an image of the Church, gathered together, praying, calling down the Holy Spirit, and Mary is with the believers, with us. Beyond anything we do, any kind of service we perform or project we undertake, we first of all have to place ourselves and keep ourselves in the middle of the Church, at prayer, invoking the Holy Spirit, and realizing Mary’s presence, guidance and love for us. This week’s Symposium will consider the place of Carmel and her spirituality in the midst of today’s world. I think that we need to affirm from the beginning, that Carmel’s place in the world is to be in the middle of the Church, always being the prayerful, Spirit-led community which imitates Mary, and witnesses to Mary and Jesus in our times and cultures. Whether we are Carmelites in parishes or schools, in the cloister or nursing home, with our families, children or in the workplace, we need to image and mother Christ’s presence in the world in imitation of Our Lady.
In truth, I don’t purport to be a scripture scholar, and I know that volumes have been written and movies produced about the gospel of the wedding feast of Cana which we just heard. Why did Mary say what she said? Why did Jesus say what he said, or do what he did? Why did Mary, the model disciple, basically ignore Jesus’ response and, instead, just tell the attendants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Maybe in heaven we will get the right answers, but even now we know that the result of their dialogue and the action of Jesus brought joy and relief into a very delicate situation and, in fact, the wine of Jesus was regarded as “having saved the best for last.” From this text, I draw two conclusions which, I think, are to the point. The first is: Mary is a very good intercessor, effective, and able to achieve results. Asking Mary’s help when the cause is worthy, brings an answer from her Son. Again, we Carmelites who live in the midst of the Church, can safely and confidently, turn to our Mother Mary for Her heavenly intercession and encourage others to do so. As St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross taught, we Carmelites are called to stand proxy for those who cannot, or will not pray for themselves and their needs, and we can be assured that our Mother will help us.
And, in this passage, we actually see Mary bring the best out of Jesus. He seems to hesitate, but she sails on full throttle. Mary draws a response out of Our Lord, and His response is the best. There is a lesson of faith here for all of us to ponder, and the lesson is a consoling one about the care which Mary has for her children, and the magnificence of Jesus’ care as well, granting exactly what is needed and best to those who persevere in calling upon Him.
Let us ask Mary, the Image and Model of the Church and Carmel, to teach us how to pray, how to intercede, and how to live as her children and as her brothers and sisters in the middle of the Church, as light and life. May God bless our Symposium.
The Carmelite Sisters celebrated Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory’s 37th anniversary of death and 128th anniversary of her birth on January 21, 2021. The Eucharistic liturgy was offered by Very Rev. Mario Esposito, O.Carm. Vice-Postulator of her Cause for Beatification and Canonization. The event was held at St. Teresa’s Motherhouse in Germantown, New York. It was attended by the Avila Sisters and was streamed LIVE to the public. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions and public safety guidelines, the McCrory family was not able to attend the celebration. It was with great anticipation and joy that the story of our Venerable Foundress was shown by EWTN on the same day in a program called “They Might Be Saints.” It is our hope and prayer that God will grant our great desire to have this woman, courageous in adversity, be numbered among the Saints of the Catholic Church and give glory to Carmel and the Universal Church!
My dear Sisters in Christ and Our Lady of Mount Carmel –
September 16th brings us to the conclusion of the 14th General Chapter of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. Safely, and wholeheartedly, we can bring to the altar this morning prayers of gratitude and praise to God for His unfailing help, not just during these past nearly two weeks, but for all of the effort, time and care put into preparing for the Chapter, for it seems, the better part of two years. The Lord alone knows who really did what to bring the Chapter to fruition, and we ask God to bless all who shared in the work of the Chapter. We also thank Our Lady for accompanying us all, and we know that the Faithful Mother will stand at your side as you go forward, new Council, new plans, and new zeal for the Lord of Hosts.
Concluding a Chapter is like a commencement ceremony without the pomp and circumstances. The end marks the beginning, like the birth of a child. No sooner is the new child born and people marvel at the beauty and life of the child. No sooner does this happen that someone remarks, “Gee, doesn’t she look just like Grandma”? Of course she does, because organically we are part of a family, a continuum of past and present. Our Carmelite vocation lived in community is always just that, a living thing, and we are responsible to live it and to keep it alive. However, we are not on our own. God is always intimately a part of our reality. He constantly infuses in us, through His Holy Spirit, the charisms and helps we need and upon which we depend. The first reading at Mass today, just like at a wedding, brings home the message “The difference is love”, doesn’t it? The loving difference is not just in the ministry though, is it? The loving difference is in the community, in each of us personally. Whatsoever we do to the least in our midst, we do to the good Lord Himself, and this begins within the Convent, or the Priory, walls. Patience, kindness, humility, lack of jealousy, a loving way of speaking and acting, this makes the difference. Prophecy, tongues, and mighty deeds without love can help to get us into the newspapers, as will bad news, of course, but it will not help us on our way to salvation.
The gospel also offers us a note for reflection. In the reading, Jesus asked the crowd, “To what shall I compare the people of this generation? What are they like?” and then described them, us, like children. Children see our highly complex world simply, because they see the world only through their personal interests, in a limited way, and judge accordingly. I think Jesus is warning us not to be like the critics he mentions, so unfair, so quick to judge and childish, never happy, always ready to find fault, and so slow to have an open heart to understand. Jesus invites us to lose the judgmental part of ourselves and to engage the loving, patient, intentional, listening, wisdom side of ourselves, good tools to take with us after today’s “graduation” ceremony.
Faith, hope and love remain and the greatest of these is love. May the love of God fill our hearts today, and if we carry anything away with us, let it be a deeper love and trust for God, which reaches to our neighbor. Amen.