Prayer & Reflection
for Women

From time to time we host days of prayer and reflection for women interested in exploring a vocation to Religious life. For further information please contact us at: carmel@roebuckcarmel.com

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Jesus and the two brothers

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

17th October 2021

In the Gospels of the last four Sundays we have seen Jesus teaching and forming his disciples in the ways of the Kingdom of God.  What has been very obvious in each of these episodes is how the worst characteristics of the human condition are present in those who are following the Lord.

The disciples who tried to stop others doing good in the name of Jesus were jealous that others would share their privileged calling.  It seems that the disciples were also upset that children would win the attention of the Lord rather than themselves.  The rich young man was too attached to the world and his own ambitions to be able to commit to the Kingdom of God.  And today we read of James and John and their raw ambition to be favoured over others.

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COVID-19 Notice

Regretfully we have had to close our Chapel to the public.  Given the small size of our Chapel it is no longer a safe space for people to attend Mass while Covid–19 is around. We have not taken the decision lightly, knowing how much it means to the people who attend Mass in the mornings. We will be keeping you all in our prayers at this worrying time and of course we will be open again as soon as it is safe to do so. 

Please feel free to contact us:
          carmel@roebuckcarmel.com

Feast of Saint Teresa of Jesus (Avila) - 15th October
 

Saint Teresa of Avila a reflection

St Teresa of AvilaSaints are put before us by the Church for various reasons: to give to praise to God because by honouring the merits of the saints we are honouring what God has created; to give us examples in our way of living our own spiritual lives: to give us companionship – in the communion saints: as assurance of their constant intercession for us before the throne of God.

Saint Teresa has been thus for over five hundred years now and we look to her life and her legacy to the Church with awe and gratitude.  What she has to give us is no less relevant today than it was five hundred years ago.

Like all those whom we honour as saints, she did not start out life as a saint.  Yes, she was created in the image and likeness of God, but it was the way that she responded to God’s call and God’s grace that made her a saint.

Her life’s work was not at all easy.  The vision she had for the reform of her congregation met with such opposition that it almost cut her off in her relationship with God.  But she was drawn back by her God, and ironically it was in her realisation of Christ’s love for her through his suffering and cross that helped her understand how Christ can transform our lives.

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Feast of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus (Little Flower) - 1st October

 

The eyes are the window to the soul

Saints during my childhood years; St Anthony, Blessed Martin and the Little Flower.  We had statues, holy pictures of the saints, but of the Little Flower there was a photograph!  Somehow that made her more real, more like one of ourselves.  Since then I and all of us have seen several photos of St Therese of Lisieux. 

The one of her dressed in her Carmelite habit is the most familiar.  She is perhaps the most famous Carmelite of all time.  The Carmelites take their name from the Holy Mountain of Carmel in Israel.  It is a beautiful place, the word Carmel means ‘GARDEN LAND’: a place of beauty, order, colour where things grow and blossom.  It is a place where God can seem so near and it is a place where Carmelites feel at home and can blossom – like flowers – little flowers!

So, when we see Therese in her Carmelite habit we are assured once more that she is praying for us, for the Church and the World.  The vocation of the Carmelites is to support us by their prayers.

There is another photo of Therese which shows her as a little girl of about four years of age.  It is an image of innocence and beauty and lovability.  It is all the more poignant when we learn that it was taken around the time of her mother’s death.  Her childish innocence comes through when we hear from her that when her mother died she asked her big sister would she be her mother from then on.  This innocence and simplicity was to be the hallmark of her character throughout her short life.  “I rejoice to be little because only children and those who are like them will be admitted to the heavenly banquet.”

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A father in the shadows

Saint JosephThe Polish writer Jan Dobraczyński, in his book The Shadow of the Father, tells the story of Saint Joseph’s life in the form of a novel. He uses the evocative image of a shadow to define Joseph. In his relationship to Jesus, Joseph was the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father: he watched over him and protected him, never leaving him to go his own way. We can think of Moses’ words to Israel: “In the wilderness… you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you travelled” (Deut 1:31). In a similar way, Joseph acted as a father for his whole life.

Fathers are not born, but made. A man does not become a father simply by bringing a child into the world, but by taking up the responsibility to care for that child. Whenever a man accepts responsibility for the life of another, in some way he becomes a father to that person. 

Children today often seem orphans, lacking fathers. The Church too needs fathers. Saint Paul’s words to the Corinthians remain timely: “Though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers” (1 Cor 4:15). Every priest or bishop should be able to add, with the Apostle: “I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel” (ibid.). Paul likewise calls the Galatians: “My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you!” (4:19).

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A Christian prayer in

union with creation

by Pope Francis*

 

Father, we praise you with all your creatures.

They came forth from your all-powerful hand,.

they are yours, filled with your presence and

your tender love. Praise be to you!

Son of God, Jesus, through you all things

were made. You were formed in the womb

of Mary our Mother, you became part of this

earth, and you gazed upon this world with

human eyes. Today you are alive in every

creature in your risen glory. Praise be to you!

Holy Spirit, by your light you guide

this world towards the Father's love and

accompany creation as it groans in travail.

Yo u also dwell in our hearts and you inspire

us to do what is good. Praise be to you!

Triune Lord, wondrous community

of infinite love, ...

*Excerpt from Laudato Si' encyclic 

 

A Novena Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross OCD

Edith Stein, Feastday 9th August

Edith SteinAt her canonisation in 1998, Pope John Paul II said “Edith Stein liked freedom.  She broke away from her family ties.  She even “consciously and deliberately stopped praying” at the age of 14.  She always wanted to make her own decisions; … family, school, college, career, working as a nurse, friends ….  And yet, at the end of a long journey, she came to the surprising realization: only those who commit themselves to the love of Christ become truly free”

Edith Stein was born in Breslau on 12th October 1891, the youngest of 11 in a Jewish family.  Her father died when she was 2 years old.  Her mother, who had to work very hard to bring up the family, did not succeed in keeping up the faith of the children.  Edith lost her Faith in God and, as Pope John Paul quoted from her, “I consciously decided, of my own volition to give up praying”

At University she studied Philosophy and women’s issues.  She became a renowned philosopher and associated with a very academic set of people and, as she wrote later, during her first years at University, she was a radical suffragette.  On several occasions during her studies she unwittingly came upon evidence of the value of Christian Philosophy but carefully avoided becoming involved.

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel (16th July 2021)

Our Lady of Mount CarmelCarmelites originated and took their name from mountain  Carmel in Israel. The great prophet Elijah defended the true faith from Mount Carmel and it was there that he slayed the false prophets of Baal.  It was understood to be a holy place, a place of pilgrimage, and in the 12th century pilgrims came again and stayed as faithful followers of Elijah.  They built a chapel there dedicated to Mary the Mother of God and soon afterwards they called themselves ‘Brothers of Mary of Mount Carmel’. 

It was a fitting place to form such a community.  Mountains are the places where God speaks, where people become aware of God, where people get to know God.

Moses climbed Mount Sinai in order to encounter God and learn what God required of people who wished to be faithful.  Abraham committed himself unreservedly to God on the mountain before God promised to make him our father in Faith.  Jesus himself went up on a mountain when he wanted to teach his disciples the important principles of Christian living.  He took his close disciples up the mountain so that he could be revealed to them as the beloved Son of the Father.  And, of course it was on the mountain of Calvary that Jesus died for our salvation.

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  Saint Teresa of the Andes

St Teresa of Jesus of the AndesSpeaking of the virtue of humility, the great Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, said that the practice of humility entailed not being ignorant of your own Greatness.  Mary the Mother of God, in her song of praise, praises God for how great God had made her; “My soul magnifies the Lord … all generations will call me blessed … He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is His name.”

I think that these words of the Magnificat must have been engrained in the soul of Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes.  From her earliest years she had a wonderful sense of how God had created her, called her and made her holy.

Juanita Fernandez was born on 13th July 1900 in Santiago, Chile into a family of three boys and two girls.  She grew up surrounded by her extended family and attended the local College which was run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart.  She later went to boarding school where she excelled although she was not particularly fond of school. 

Her family was like any other family with their differences and failures.  But Juanita lived a full and active life.  She loved horse-riding and was a champion swimmer.  Her family was a truly Christian family, practising their Faith and caring for those around them.  Juanita even helped with teaching younger children catechism. A very ordinary life for a young girl!  And that is precisely true. 

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Welcome to the Carmelite Monastery of the Immaculate Conception
Roebuck, Dublin 14    D14 T1H9

We are a community of Carmelite Sisters called by God, to live a life of prayer for the Church and for the world.

Our Rule tells us to ‘meditate day and night on the law of the Lord’.  In other words to ponder the scriptures as we go about our daily tasks.

The heart of our day is the celebration of the Eucharist and we say the full Divine Office.  We also spend two hours in personal prayer each day, one in the morning and one in the evening. 

We hope that you enjoy your visit to our website and that you find reason to return soon.

 

 

 

 

 

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