Welcome to Sadbhavana : Carmelite Provincialate

Provincial Circular

CKG/XIII/10/2019                                                           Sadbhavana, Bengaluru
Circular, Karnataka-Goa Province                            10th of July, 2019


Dear Rev. Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

We are approaching the great solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and it is but fitting that once again we turn our thoughts to Mary, in whose honour our Order had its origins.

Though the name of Mary is not explicitly mentioned in our Albertine Rule, according to tradition, the oratory to be constructed in the midst of the cells, was dedicated to Mary. In the course of history as the Order expanded and deepened its awareness of itself and its vocation in the Church, its attachment and affection for Mary struck firmer roots. Early Carmelite writers believed that the very purpose for which the Order was established, was the honour of Our Lady. In the Montpellier constitutions (1287) we read: “let us implore the suffrage of the Blessed Virgin Mary for whose service the Order of Mount Carmel was founded.” This is confirmed by Pope Clement V who states that the Order was “…divinely instituted in honour of the glorious and Blessed Virgin Mary.” According to the Albertine Rule, unceasing prayer is the heart of the Carmelite vocation. Marian devotion and homage soon became part of that unceasing prayer.

In the earliest extant documentation, we find the Carmelites addressed as the “hermit brothers of Mount Carmel.” Already by 1227 they were called the “hermit brothers of St Mary of Mount Carmel.” In 1253 Pope Innocent IV calls them the “hermit brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel,” a title that was henceforth found consistently in official papal documents. Urban VI granted indulgences to the faithful who addressed the Carmelites by that title, and these indulgences were confirmed two centuries later by Gregory XIII.
Of course, initially this title meant that they were an Order, not of priests but of non-clerical members. But even later when the number of priests increased and the Order became clerical (in 1291), they wanted to be called Brothers in the sense of Mary being their sister.

The fifteenth-century Belgian Carmelite Mariologist, Arnold Bostius (d. 1299), takes for granted that Mother and Sister, far from being contradictory terms, are in fact, complementary. “Mary is the Mother and Sister of Carmelites.” Approaching Mary as mother and sister, becomes for the Carmelite, a source of self-esteem and confidence. “The humble Carmelite will be able to exult and sing with joy: Behold the Queen of heaven, my Sister! I can act, with trust, without fear. Amidst a thousand enemies and in the fury of the battle my heart shall not fear. Because my strength, my liberation, my rock, my refuge, my praise, is Mary, my Mother, my Sister, in whose bosom I shall find shelter and salvation. Justly in this way can he render thanks, who has such a worthy and holy Sister as his Mother and patron.” “Do not become different from this mother and marvelous sister.”

At this juncture – as it were – in confirmation of the views of Arnold Bostius, the experience of the Little Flower comes to me, to whom her sister, Pauline, was a second mother. And indeed there are very many people who had the experience of their elder sisters taking over as mothers after the death or incapacitation of their real mothers. Also there are mothers who train their eldest daughters to act as mothers to their younger children, especially when they have taken some employment that doesn’t permit them to look after them.

The concept of sister took some time to strike roots in the life of the Carmelite nuns, since their first awareness was that of belonging to the Order of the Brothers of our Lady of Mount Carmel; it was rather the concept of Mary as mother that found resonance in them, so much as to lead them to the mystical union.

What would Catholics think about calling Mary their Sister? Let us just reflect: who was Mary before the angel Gabriel came to salute and greet her? Was she not an ordinary village girl, accustomed to praying and working with her parents and walking and talking with her friends. Was not Mary our dear sister before the angel of the Lord announced to her that she was chosen to be the Mother of our Saviour? “You are all brethren, do not call anyone on earth your Father, for you have one Father and he is in heaven” (Mt 23:9). From the perspective of all the children of God who belong to the family of God, Mary is our dearest sister.

Actually this title has patristic origins. Epifanio (d. 403) writes: “Mary is our sister, for the fact that all of us have our origin in Adam.” Many other Fathers of the Church before and after him, make the same affirmation. Among recent popes, it is St. Paul VI who appreciates the sister-approach in Marian devotion in his address closing the third session of the Second Vatican Council on 21st of November 1964, feast of Mary’s Presentation: “Daughter of Adam, like ourselves, and therefore our sister through ties of nature, she is, however, the creature who was preserved from Original Sin in view of the merits of the Saviour, and who possesses besides the privileges obtained, the personal virtue of a total and exemplary faith, thus deserving the evangelical praise, ‘beata quae credidisti’ (blessed art thou who believed).” This title presents Mary as our elder sister who goes before us on the journey to maturity in faith.

The saintly Pope goes on to remind his audience that Mary in her earthly life, realized the perfect image of the disciple of Christ, reflected every virtue, and incarnated the evangelical beatitudes proclaimed by Christ. Therefore in her, the entire Church, in its incomparable variety of life and of work, attains the most authentic form of the perfect imitation of Christ. Often, we focus too much or even magnify her privileges, which make her appear distant to our human situation. Whereas the Pope draws our attention, to her human nature like us. It is precisely because of her similarity with our condition, that she becomes a supreme model of faith, teaching us how to respond to God’s grace.

In this connection, some of you may be interested in a book written by Elizabeth Johnson, an American theologian: “Truly Our Sister: A theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints” (2003). Here are some reviews of the book:

“Scholarly treatment of why Mary is our sister rather than strictly the prime model of motherhood and virginity presented traditionally. Well presented and argued.”

“This book is a thoughtful exploration of the popular piety that swallowed up the memory of Mary - and a way forward down a more satisfying path.”

“I wish I could have shared this book with my mother. The marian traditions she cherished never meant much to me but this book gives me a new way to appreciate the role of the Blessed Mother in the church.”
Though there are less favourable comments, it appears that all in all, Dr. Elizabeth Johnson’s approach to Mary as our sister, is a vigourous and energetic trend-setting exploratory, work . It appeals more to some than to others.

There are many who can more easily relate to Mary as Sister. In certain cultures the idea of Mary as Spiritual Mother is difficult to accept. Approaching Mary as sister may also find favour among Protestants. It is therefore an insight that can be further explored and shared.

Just as Jesus can be approached in our daily meditations, as friend, or Saviour, or Brother, so can Mary be approached as Sister, mother, Patroness or Queen. Different personal experiences and situations may modulate our varying preferences. Whatever our preferences, may this solemnity in our Carmelite liturgy renew our devotion and re-dedication to our Lady of Mount Carmel.
I wish you one and all a very happy and grace-filled feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whose wonderful example renews in us a deeper sense of our charism and out thirst for prayer.

Fr. Charles Serrao OCD
Provincial Superior


Rev. Fr Johannes Gorantla OCD, Definitor General, has begun the Pastoral Visitation of our Province on 3rd of July, 2019. We hope you have taken note of the dates he would be in your community and will keep all the documents required up to date.

I had mentioned in the last Provincial Circular, that there would be a Plenary Council at the end of the Visitation on 29th of August, 2019 at Sadbhavana, Bengaluru. The morning session will begin at 9.00 a.m. during which the Definitor will present a brief report, followed by discussions.

In the afternoon session, we will share / discuss a few issues of common interest in the Province, that have been shortlisted by the Provincial Council.

This Provincial Council has decided that all the Local Superiors and Formators should be present (mandatory) for the Plenary Council. It is however open to all other Solemnly Professed members of the Province, whose course of formation is complete. We would appreciate, if the Local Superior informs the Delegate Superior of Sadbhavana, if any extra members would be attending, so necessary arrangements can be made.
On the following day (30th of August, 2019) there would be the annual meeting of Superiors (of formation communities) and formators. Those concerned could send points for the agenda to Fr. Ronald S. D’Souza, the Provincial Councillor for formation, by 15th of August, 2019.

The Provincial Council has decided to revise the mode of burses for Seminarians. Hereafter those wishing to adopt a seminarian, can choose from the following three categories:

1) Spiritual parent : Rs. 10,00,000
- It is a complete burse sufficient at today’s cost of living to cover the basic expenses of a seminarian for his entire formation lasting around 10 years. This student will be exclusively assigned to one benefactor only.
- It is also possible to divide the amount between two benefactors (Rs 5,00,000 each)

2) Golden Donor : Rs 2,00,000 to Rs 4,00,000
It subsidizes a part of the formation programme of one seminarian along with other benefactors.

3) Silver Donor : Any amount below Rs. 2,00,000
No particular seminarian will be assigned, but the amount offered would go to a common fund.

Fr. Cyril Menezes - Superior of Carmel Ashram, Koteshwar
Fr. Deep Fernandes - Spiritual Assistant of the Infant Jesus OCDS community at Koteshwar and Local Vocation Promoter for Udupi Diocese
Fr. Lancy Prakash Rebello – Bursar, Dhyana Sadhana, Bogadi
Fr. Suresh Saldanha – Tapovana, Kushalnagar
Fr. Ashwin Rohan D’Silva – Dhyanashram, Rajodi, Vasai
Fr. Archibald Gonsalves – Spiritual Assistant of OCDS of Our Lady of Mount Carmel community, Margao, Goa
Fr. Praveen Pinto – Local Vocation Promoter for Canacona Taluqa, Goa and part of Karwar Diocese
Fr. Julius Gonsalves – Local Vocation Promoter for Archdiocese of Bombay
Fr. Peter Rebello – Local Vocation Promoter for Diocese of Poona
Fr. Macson Dabre – Assistant Vocation Promoter for North Goa and Sindhudurg Diocese (he will also assist in promoting vocations in Marathi speaking regions of Maharashtra, whenever needed).
Frs. Anthon Souz and Wilson D’Costa, will assist the vocation promoter in Belgaum Diocese whenever needed.
Fr. Joachim Rodrigues, is appointed in-charge of Carmel Complex, Geddalahalli.
Frs. Mark Furtado and Noel D’Cunha have reached Rome. The latter has begun his language studies at Pisa.
Fr. Cannio Cardozo arrived in Canada on 26th of June, 2019 and has taken charge as Assistant Pastor at St. Edmund’s Parish, Vancouver.

We rejoice that two of our friars have completed their higher studies and returned back to India.

Fr. Deep Francis Fernandes defended his thesis: The devil in the Ascent of Mount Carmel and Dark Night of St John of the Cross, on 14th of June, 2019. He was awarded licentiate in Spiritual Theology by the Faculty of Theology – North Spain (Vitoria).

Fr. Richard Menezes completed his Licentiate in Spiritual Theology with the thesis: Formation as a journey from knowing to willing. A Sanjuanistic perspective. He pursued these studies at the Centre for formation for priesthood and religious life, at Gregorian University, Rome. He successfully defended it on 19th of June, 2019.

On behalf of the Province I congratulate them on their achievements and look forward to their qualified service.

Nine final year theology students were ordained deacons on 14th of June, 2019 by Most Rev. Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Bishop Emeritus of Mangalore, at Infant Jesus Shrine, Carmel Hill, Bikarnakatte, Mangaluru:
Deacons Wilson Peter Tauro, Sunil D’Souza, Ivan Sequeira, Anoop Kiran Fernandes, Joseph Anthony D’Souza, Roshan Monteiro and Ashwin Prashant D’Souza, from our Province

Deacons Jayaraj Manthena and Rayappa Pabbati from Andhra Province.

They are now busy preparing for their “Ad Auds” exam to be held on 13th of August, 2019 and the final B.Th exam on 24th of September, 2019 (oral) and 29th of September, 2019 (written). After that they would be sent to various parishes for pastoral experience. We wish them all the best in their studies and a fruitful diaconal ministry.

For the first time we have a big batch of 12 novices who would be making their first profession in Tanzania.
Brs. Samson Charles Mangee, Godfrey Rogati, Yohanes Mbago, Ludwick D. Tanda, Gasper Mathew, Thomas E. Mayeka, Deus Salu, Jeremiah S. Kazuri, Ludovick Ernest Masanja, Adrianus Mushumbus, John J. Petro and Babluu Ekama.
Let us keep them in our prayer specially on the day of their commitment (20th of July, 2019).

On 2nd of June, 2019, Fr. Pius James D’Souza, Vicar Provincial, received 17 young boys as aspirants to the Carmelite Seminary, Mapusa Goa. They come from:
Mangalore (13); Goa (2); Raichur (1); Nadiad, Gujarat (1).

We appreciate the sincere efforts of all the Vocation Promoters in the Province, who worked throughout the last year in helping these boys discern their vocation. Let us pray that the Lord grant them the grace of perseverance. All the best also to the formative community.

At Bajjodi, Fr. Provincial presided over the Rite of Temporary Promise of nine OCDS members on 7th of July, 2019. They are:
Janet D’Souza of St. Antony, Cynthia D’Souza of St. Antony, Sharel D’Souza of Infant Mary, Gretta Lobo of the Infant Jesus, Gracy Fernandes of the Little Flower, Sabreena D’Costa of the Little Flower, Sylvia Mascarenhas of St. Teresa of Avila, Asuntha Mendonca of the Little Flower and Patrick Menezes of St. Joseph.
Three others were invested with the Scapular and began the first phase of their initial formation:
Leena Fernandes, Rita D’Sa and Tina D’Souza

Fr. Arwin Tauro had begun a new OCDS community attached to our monastery at Benoni, South Africa. The first batch of nine members will be pronouncing their Temporary Promise on 13th of July, 2019. They are:
Madini Abrahams, Patricia Margaret Bezuidenhout, Gail Helen Elizabeth Ramplen, Margaret Caroline Howroyd, Eileen Mary Sinclair, Vera Elizabeth Swanson, Jeanette Glynis McKenzie, Bernice Anna Cocci and Keith Peter McKenzie.

We congratulate all these members and wish them happiness as Secular Carmelites.

The Provincial Council had approved the Provincial Statutes “ad experimentum” for three years. They were revised at the last session of the present OCDS Provincial Council held from 6-7 June, 2019 at Sadbhavana, Bengaluru. The next step is to finalize them at the forthcoming meeting of the OCDS for the election of the new OCDS Provincial Council on 27th of July, 2019 and then they will be forwarded for definitive approval to the General Definitory.

I wish to highlight two new changes which can be immediately introduced:

1) The TEMPORARY PROMISE hereafter will be made for a year (instead of three years, as at present) and renewed annually till approval for the DEFINITIVE PROMISE. This change is made with a view that the member gets an opportunity to make a spiritual renewal every year, and be better conscious of the commitment.

2) The members with DEFINITIVE PROMISE will make a devotional renewal (like the one for friars on Easter Vigil) every year on the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel whenever it is celebrated in the monastery to which the OCDS community is attached. We request the Local Superiors to take this into consideration and make the necessary provision during the Festive Mass. This we hope will give better visibility to the Secular Carmel and also serve as a means of promoting it among the laity. The following formula may be used:

I, _______________, renew my commitment to live faithfully the promises I have made to God and to the Superiors of the Order of the Teresian Carmel and to you my brothers and sisters, to tend toward evangelical perfection in the spirit of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, obedience, and of the Beatitudes, according to the Rule of St. Albert, and the Constitutions of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, according to my state of life.

I confidently entrust this, my commitment, to the Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Carmel.
St ___________ Patron / Patroness of our OCDS community: Pray for us
St. Louis and Zelie, patrons of the OCDS, Karnataka-Goa Province: Pray for us

We began a community at Mount Carmel Spirituality Centre, Edmonton, from July 2017. Now since our presence is stable with three friars, after the Visit of our Definitor General, at our request, it has been canonically established by the General Definitory on 13th of June, 2019.

On 1st of July, 2019 the community celebrated the Holy Eucharist and blessed the foundation stone for a new building which would contain 40 self-contained rooms, a hall, a big chapel with a capacity for 250 people and a residence of the Carmelite Priests (Monastery). Please pray that everything will go on smoothly. We appreciate the contribution of all those involved in this project:
- The friars of the community – Frs. Mario Fernandes and Ivan Sanctis, but especially Fr. Rudolf V. D’Souza, who has been relentlessly working to obtain the required permission, and will now be monitoring the construction.
- Miss Helen Chua Tiampo, who has generously come forward to sponsor the building.
- Mr. Steven Creighton, Darrel Wickstrom, Pam Prior, Kent Elliot, Emmet McGrath for their support.

Our three Institutes of Spirituality are gearing themselves for the new academic year.

The 23rd batch began the Diploma Course at Dhyanavana, Mysuru on 30th of July, 2019. The inaugural mass was presided over by Fr. Pius James D’Souza, the Provincial Councillor in-charge of Spirituality. There are 52 regular participants and 12 day scholars this year.

At Dhyana Sadhana, Bogadi, the 17th Certificate course for senior religious will begin on 21st of July, 2019 and we are expecting around 40 sisters.

The Certificate course at Ryshivana, Ranipura for the 12th consecutive year is scheduled to commence on 4th of August, 2019. Around 45 senior religious have already registered so far.

While appreciating the hard work and dedication of the respective Directors and Staff, we pray that God bless this apostolate which is proper to our Order and make it bear abundant fruit in the life of the participants.

The Association of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, South-West India, under the able leadership of its President, Sr Anna of Jesus (Baroda Carmel) is organizing a course of on-going formation for senior OCD nuns from 21st of July to 20th of August, 2019 at Pilar, Goa. 52 cloistered nuns from all Carmels in India, will be participating.
We fervently pray that this programme be spiritually nourishing to all the participants and we extend our best wishes to the team that is involved in its organization.

This is the modern means that we should use in proclaiming the Good News and the propagation of our Carmelite spirituality. It was with this purpose in mind, that we established the Dhyanavana Publications in 2011.The Province promotes and encourages this new form of ministry, but there is need of streamlining it further in view of making it more effective.

The Dhyanavana Publications co-ordinates it at the Province level, under the guidance of the Provincial Council. In the recent annual board meeting of Dhyanavana Publications, it was reiterated, that friars of our Province should publish all their books, albums etc. only through this Publication. Any exception for valid reasons, can be given by the Provincial.

Any friar wishing to launch into e-ministry should present the proposal to the Provincial, who will give necessary instructions in consultation with the friars in-charge of the various departments of Dhyanavana Publications. We request your co-operation in this regard, so that we can tap this new form of ministry to the maximum and channelize the human and technical resources towards a more fruitful outcome.
This apostolate would be discussed in the forthcoming Plenary Council and after receiving the necessary feedback, we would be preparing a new draft of the Statutes, to include the newer forms of digital and electronic mediums of evangelization, with proper guidelines.

With fraternal regards,

Fr Charles Serrao OCD
Provincial Superior




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