Circular, Karnataka-Goa Province
10th of July, 2019
Dear Rev. Fathers, Brothers and
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
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
“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
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.
BURSES FOR SEMINARIANS:
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
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
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
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.
APPOINTMENTS AND TRANSFERS:
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,
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.
QUALIFIED AND EQUIPPED:
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.
CALLED TO SERVE:
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
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.
FIRST STEP IN RELIGIOUS LIFE:
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
NEW BUDS IN CARMEL:
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.
THE SECULAR CARMEL GROWS:
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.
Three others were invested with the Scapular and began the first phase of their
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.
STATUTES FOR THE SECULAR CARMEL:
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
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
- 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
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.
ON-GOING FORMATION for CLOISTERED NUNS:
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
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
EVANGELIZATION THROUGH MEDIA:
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
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