Prioresses congregate at Sadbhavana
November 23-26, 2021, in keeping with VDQ 13, which highlights the need of formation in cloistered contemplative life the Federal Council of the Federation of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, India organized a formation course for the Prioresses of 9 Carmels of the Federation. Rev. Fr. Charles Serrao OCD, Religious Assistant to the Federation was the resource person. 8 Prioresses and the members of the Federal Council took part in the meeting.

The meeting commenced with the Holy Eucharist presided over by Rev. Fr. George Santhumayor, Provincial. Mother Anna who gave the introduction, set the tone for the meeting by highlighting 3 points namely: openness to interdependence; sharing the dynamism of love; and call to respect. Rev. Fr. Provincial commended the Sisters for the beauty of their cloistered contemplative life deliberately chosen by them where they seek God alone and choose Him and His glory as against all that is transient and material.

At the first session the Prioresses welcomed Rev. Frs. Provincial and Charles Serrao both of whom they were meeting for the first time. Rev. Fr. Provincial released the new Directory of the Federation. Provincial while greatly acknowledging the appreciation of the valuable prayers, love, care and generosity shown by the Cloistered Sisters to the Carmelite friars expressed to the Sisters that Sadbhavana was their home and that the expenses of the board and lodge that they would give to Sadbhavana could be shared to one of the needy Carmels – a proposition that was gladly accepted by the sisters. Fr. Provincial also cautioned them to be careful about the fine dust that enters the cleanest of the palaces and that they need to take care of which are the trivial, worldly things that can do much harm.

Rev. Fr. Charles Serrao in his inputs focused on Leadership – the different systems of leadership prevalent in the Church and the JESUS Leadership that every Prioress has to follow, that is to be a leader rather than a manager. It was an eye opener to many of the young Prioresses. With his vast experience and expertise in the field Rev. Fr. Charles Serrao made a deep impact on the Prioresses and was able to give wise and practical answers to all their queries. The Prioresses too were very open and candid in their sharing and questions which brought a new horizon in their role as prioresses.

On the 25th the Prioresses were privileged to have with them the presence of the Definitor General Rev. Fr. Pius James D’Souza OCD who presided over the Eucharist inviting all to take seriously the call to be true followers of JESUS. Rev. Fr. Definitor then joined them in their first session. After felicitating him he was invited to release the new approved Statutes of the Federation (after the bifurcation of the Association from the provinces of Kerala). They then had an informal interaction where the Sisters were free to ask him any queries. They put forward the need to have a psycho-spiritual course for their formees and those in need for which they needed competent resource personnel from among the OCD Friars and Fr Definitor endorsed this proposal.

At the concluding meeting a copy of the initial and ongoing formation programme was discussed and approved and made available to all the Prioresses to be implemented during the next three years.

The meeting concluded with a short thanksgiving prayer and a hymn at 5.30 pm on November 26, 2021. All the Prioresses and Sisters who attended were deeply grateful and expressed their joy and satisfaction at the warm hospitality they enjoyed at Sadbhavana, a home away from home!

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