BLESSED TRINITY LAY CARMELITE COMMUNITY
Carmel is Home
Carmel is home. It took me awhile to find it, but once I did, the best way to describe it is, "I’m home."
My first introduction to the Carmelite saints was through my uncle, Father Richard Donovan. He had a great devotion to St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and he felt that she was with him in a special way throughout
his priesthood. My uncle passed that devotion onto me. I loved reading her Story of a Soul, and St. Thérèse has been an integral part of my journey to Carmel. The ascent of Mount Carmel can seem
daunting at times, but by following St. Thérèse’s Little Way to holiness, we are assured of reaching our goal one step at a time.
My mother had a great devotion to Mary. My given name Mary Jean reflects the extraordinary privilege of growing up with two mothers – my heavenly mother Mary and my earthly mother Jean. Carmel
would be impossible without a firm foundation in the Catholic faith, and my Catholic faith is the greatest gift my parents gave me.
I would have become a Lay Carmelite much sooner if I had know about them sooner. The fact that the Carmelites had a third order consisting of mainly lay people is something that I did not discover until
much later in life. In 2010, Lourdes and Daniel started a Lay Carmelite Community in
my area. They opened the doors of Carmel to me, and I am grateful to have such excellent role models. Their self sacrifice and tireless efforts have made the Blessed Trinity Lay Carmelite Community what it is today. I am blessed to be part of a community that truly embodies the Carmelite charisms of prayer, community, and service.
I was received into Carmel on September 14, 2011, and I made my final profession on September 14, 2016. It is no accident that both these momentous events in my life occurred on September 14, the day on which the Church celebrates the Triumph of the Cross. Christ is the centre of my life. Christ is the centre of Carmel. Our ascent of Mount Carmel, like Christ’s ascent of Calvary, necessarily involves taking up our cross and following Him. If we persevere, His Triumph will also be ours.
Carmelite Witness Story
I always considered myself a faithful Catholic. I went to Church every Sunday without fail and did my best to live a good Christian life. However a few years ago I felt God was calling me to something more; that there was more to being Catholic than how I was living. One Sunday as I was sitting in Church I was browsing through the Parish bulletin and noticed an advertisement describing the Carmelite Third Order. I felt a nudge inside to contact the Formation Director – Lourdes – who graciously invited me to their next Community Meeting. After attending the meeting I was given the article “Nine Themes in Carmelite Spirituality” by Fr. Patrick McMahon, OCarm to read. The idea that Carmelite Spirituality stresses the centrality of Christ, the Eucharist and the Sacred Scripture spoke to my heart and I knew this was something I needed to pursue further. It has been 5 years since I joined the Blessed Trinity Community and I feel blessed to be part of this wonderful group of people. The graces I have received by learning and living Carmelite Spirituality are beyond measure. I have grown in my relationship with God, deepened my prayer life through the practices of Lectio Divina and the Liturgy of the Hours and I have learnt to reflect on the different aspects of my life to discern where and how God has been present. I have come to appreciate that becoming a faithful Catholic is something which takes a lifetime to achieve and requires openness to accepting God’s invitation to enter ever deeper into the mystery of God’s love.
My Lay Carmelite Journey
Hi! My name is Daniel. I have a family with a wonderful wife and two children. I work as a programmer/analyst at the head office of a local school board. Last November, I celebrated my 25th anniversary of final profession. And no, I wasn't professed when I was 12!
I heard about the Lay Carmelites while discerning a vocation to the religious life. My spiritual director felt I might have a vocation to Carmel. By coincidence (are there really any coincidences?) that weekend, a Lay Carmelite community from two cities away posted an ad in my parish bulletin. I attended my first meeting, and knew immediately I was where I was meant to be.
It sounds strange, but since becoming a Carmelite, I know less about the spiritual life, I am more attached to things of the world, and I do fewer good things!
Since becoming a Carmelite, I know less about the spiritual life. Prayer, reflection, and faith sharing reveal new understandings about myself, the human condition, and social justice. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.
Since becoming a Carmelite, I have become more attached. The more I learn, the more I realize how many attachments I have.
Since becoming a Carmelite, I do fewer good things. A Carmelite hermit told me we can do many good things, but unless they are God's will for us, they are not the best things. Being mindful of the best things gives me focus. That does not mean I do not ignore good things completely, "for common sense is the guide of the virtues." (Rule of St Albert, 24)
Carmel is an ancient path followed by doctors and saints of the Church. It is a journey of love, intimacy, community, and service. It is a wonderful Catholic vocation for laity.