Friday, January 19, 2007

"Carmelite Heritage" - first part of chapter 3 (fragments) from "In the silence of Mary- the life of Mother Mary of Jesus Carmelite Prioress and Foundress 1851-1942"

In this chapter we read about Madeleine life as a postulant in Paris Carmel.

...As the days passed, the first panic lessened. She was in the place where she felt God wanted her to be: the life, therefore, was in the right order. That brought comfort and a measure of peace. There was still no sign of His giving Himself; He seemed to be as far away as ever, but she would not dwell on that. The future was in His hands; she would live in the present, instant by instant, and abandon the rest to Him. Meanwhile, she had to learn her new routine, and to grow into her new Religious family. The latter is always a gradual process in Carmel, where there are few contacts with the rest of the community, apart from the two hours of recreation each day. Nevertheless, as time goes on, an everdeepening sense of the heritage of Carmel develops, together with a glad thanksgiving for the privilage of sharing it: "The lines are fallen unto me in goodly places; for my inheritance is goodly to me" (Ps xv. 6). So it was with Madeleine, now Sister Mary of Jesus, postulant of Carmel. (The Monastery was founded in October 1604) by six Spanish Carmelites, all inmates of the saint of Avila.... they had taken possession of their new home to the chant of the psalm Laudate, omens gentes. Of that lovely old Monastery hardly a trace remained above ground. The house into which Sister Mary of Jesus entered.....was only seventeen years old, a square, two-storied building constructed round a central quandrangle on what small remnant of their property the nuns had been able to repurchase after the Revolution. .....There was an0ther precious link with the past in the rather quaint old statue known as 'Notre Dame des Champs' or 'La belle Dame'. She had been over the high altar of the church in the days of the Benedictines, bu the Carmelites had taken her into the enclosure, and had venerated her as their special protectress. She was enshrined now in the ante-choir, in the very heart, as it were, of the life of the community. Her head had not always been inclined as it was now; tradition said that a novice, knowing that the Chapter were about to refuse her profession, had knelt before the statue, begging our Lady to change the attitude of the community in her regard, and promissing to amned her ways. The statue gently bowed its head, as if to acquiesce and ratify her pardon: the novice was received and became a very holy religious. That was an encouraging story for a diffident postulant, who could not have guessed then that one day her own name, along with five others, would be engraved on a medal inside a little silver-guilt 'heart', and hung about our Lady's neck, to ask for her protection upon the London Foundation.

The picture shows had carved figure of Angel from Carmelity Monastery in Notting Hill, London