Christmas surprise

Last evening we surprised our Belgian Sisters with our live crib. During recreation Sr. Maria Luisa invited them to come to the Novitiate. Sr. Socoro and Sr Carmela knew ahead the plan because they had assigned parts as shepherds. It was easier for the two to put on a cloth over their head but the novitiate group had to put on customes ahead as they were Joseph and Mary, and a shepherd too. When we entered the novitiate oratory, which was lighted only by the series at the crib, the introduction to the Silent Night was hummed, then the lyrics were sung in 3 voices with guitar. After the first song, the main light was on and then a medley of Filipino Christmas carols followed, this time with several instruments. Oh, what a pleasant surprise to our Sisters.



After going around the house visiting and caroling to the Holy Family we paused for some souvenir photos...


Sr Aloysia, one of our Belgian Sisters, enjoying the decoration of the novices. Our Belgian Sisters had much fun looking at our decorations, which are something new to them. Well, I mean we have another way of doing it, with a lot of colors. They are more symbolic and more of the meaning than the attractiveness of the crib. They were even surprised to learn that we have such decors at the monastery because people just gave them and we kept them well.

The snow grew thicker

God is so good! He saw the desire and joy of our new Sisters and thus let more snow fell down on the next two days. So for 3 successive days they went out to the garden to play and relish their new experience as you can see in the newly added photos.

outside the hermitage

contemplating nature's winter beauty

oh my God, what are they doing?


First Winter in Belgium

As we sang our first O Antiphon, "O Wisdom..." God fulfilled also the desire of our new Sisters for snow. He let abundant snow fell down from heaven, much to their enjoyment and amazement. When Sr. Marie Paul Therese rang the novitiate bell for the Office, she covered her nose thinking that those were dust falling. While at Midday prayer, because she and Sr. Socoro were facing the window, both mouth gaped when more and more snow fell down. Not yet contented with what she saw, the latter when we reached the refectory stood on the bench to have a good look on what happened to the snow as they fell on the ground. As expected, after the dishwashing, instead of taking a short nap, they all went out to the garden to have souvenir shots by Sr. Ma. Luisa. Sr. Carmela and Sr. Marie Elizabeth joined them after feeding our dear Sr. Augustina. So the band of "Pinay" Sisters was complete to enjoy the memorable day of the first winter of our three new Sisters in Belgium. Needless to say, they were so happy and contented, although at evening recreation two began sneezing... Be careful, Sisters, many get colds and cough during this season!

St. Nicholas and black Peter visited the community

On December 6, when the community arrived at the recreation room there was a notice from St. Nicholas that he was coming and that he and black Peter or Piet, his faithful assistant, were to be found at the end of the "Heaven's road". So, we went there eagerly. Lo and behold! He was already there waiting for us, seated on a Bishop's chair with Piet on his left side. And of course, on one side of the room were the gifts for each sister, which Piet distributed after the Saint read his message for each one. Then, we treated them both to a cup of coffee and tart before they proceded on their journey to make other hearts happy this season.



Paraliturgy to begin the Advent season

The novices laughing while one read the task she had drawn
because, according to them, it is very appropriate.

We enter again into one of the most beautiful seasons of the liturgical year. We started it with a simple Paraliturgy at recreation with the readings for the First Sunday of Advent. Before the Gospel, the first candle of the wreath was lighted. Then the first group proposed to the community what to do within the week. The theme chosen in line with the readings is: "Be vigilant!". Some practical suggestions were written on small pieces of paper drawn by the sisters. We agreed to share our experiences on Friday before the next group will present other suggestions for the second Sunday. We hope this will help us exert more efforts to put into practice the real meaning of the season, and prepare ourselves better for the coming of Out Lord.

A blessed and meaningful Advent to you!


83rd birthday of Sr. Augustina

Sr. Augustina blowing her musical birthday candle

Entertained by the Filipina Sisters with their action songs

The celebrant visited by Sr Theresina from Lisieux Carmel on her way to the Philippines.

On November 7 our oldest sister in the community, Sr. Augustina, turned 83 so we treated her to an afternoon recreation with coffee and cake. We lighted a musical candle and let her blow it. Then, the Filipina sisters rendered her some action songs to her great pleasure (as you can see in the picture, clapping her hands to the beat of their songs).

Our dear sister's health is already fragile and needs extra care so she is not always present at recreation but she loves those momentst when she is with the community. On this particular day we made it sure that it was something special for her.

Her favorite sister and niece, from Boxmeer in the Netherland, came already the previous Sunday to visit and bring her birthday gifts .

Happy and blessed birthday, our dear Sr Augustina! May God grant that you remain with us still for more years. But as always, may God's will be done!


Visit to the cemetery and the kapelke

In the cemetery (first photo) ; At the kapelke (second photo)

On the Sunday before All Saints' and All Souls' Day, our new Sisters, Sr. Maria Socoro and the novices, accompanied by their Mistress, Sr. Maria Luisa, visited the resting place of our deceased Sisters, the last of whom was, Sr. "Oma" Teresia. She had been praying for them and looking forward to their arrival. She went home to God in January while the postulants arrived in February. She frequently asked what took it so long for their visa to be approved. And know what? They were finally approved on the day that our Oma entered heaven. They really have reasons to bring her flowers in the cmetery and whisper to her prayers of gratitude and more graces for their perseverance in Belgium.

Along the way, they stopped at the "kapelke", a small chapel-remnant of our original monastery outside the city of Vilvoorde. The community of Carmelites lived there from 1469 to 1578 until they transferred to the present site, where we are now. People still come and light candles in that small chapel, where there is still a venerated image of Our Blessed Mother.

It was a day for them to relish and remember. They were so awed by the nature's autumn beauty and came home bubbling with joy and deep gratitude to have been given that rare opportunity. Thanks to our good friend and benefactor, Miriam, who gave them the ride. She visited also the remains of her husband, who passed away just very recently, after completing a great work for the conservation of our Arts Heritage. May God rest his soul and those of our loved ones.

A blessed and happy All Saints' and All Souls' Day to all! Rest assured that we pray for all your departed family and loved ones.

Inside the kapelke

Full view of the kapelke


St. Teresa and St. Damien

Today on the Solemnity of our holy Mother, St Teresa, we were blessed to have our archbishop, Godfried Cardinal Danneels, as celebrant. In his homily he placed side by side St. Teresa and St. Damien as two people enamored by the same love and yet expressing it in different ways. He said, "St. Teresa looked up to God while St. Damien look sideward to those suffering people. We have the two capacities in us and we must try to find the balance. But it seems today we tend to emphasize more the "doing" and not the "let it be done". (in Flemish he beautifully coined it in these words "doen" en "laten doen"). He encouraged the around 30 pastoral health workers who were present for his talk, before and after the mass, and who prayed the Divine Office with us, to cultivate more this very important and yet often neglected aspect of our life.

He was in the Canonization of St. Damien in Rome last Sunday and is expected to attend the next celebration in Hawaii.

Anecdote on the feast of our holy Mother, who is known for her sense humor.

While the two novices were preparing the decoration for the refectory, it was announced that the Cardinal will enter the enclosure because his car had to park in our garage and from there he would pass the way where the two placed all their materials and garbage. So, hastily they hurried to place everything in the tiny cellar nearby. Unfortunately, one novice was still inside while the other one, who was in panic, closed the door because the Cardinal was already in sight. Wthout their knowing it, the Sister-portress informed him already that he would see the two novices along the way. But since he saw only one, he asked where is the other one? The two could not answer that the other novice was inside or else he would see all their mess. But he was so discreet just to proceed to our monastery-basilica, even perhaps if he heard the knocking of the second novice. We had a good laugh at table when they recounted to us the incident. Holy Mother must have laughed with us at this funny incident.


Canonization of Fr. Damien

We rejoiced with the entire universal Church at the canonization of Belgian born Saint, Father Damien, on 11 October in Rome. We followed the ceremony through a local TV station, who translated everything to Dutch.

There was also a 30-minute documentary film on his life showing his birthplace and when his body was brought back to Belgium. Among those interviewed was a lay woman who said (in Dutch), "we don't almost dare to mention that Damien was a priest and that his remarkable deeds were actually grace of his calling...".

May his life continue to inspire many to be generous in giving themselves to God and His people esp. the outcasts and the lepers of modern-day society.

St. Damien of Molokai, pray for us and for your native Belgium!


Clothing of our 2nd Filipina novice

On the Feast of our holy little sister, St. Therese, our postulant, Jurechille Catalan, received the habit of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and received her new religious name, Sr. Marie Paul Therese of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Will still translate our Mother Prioress' message from Flemish to English to give you an idea of her choice of name and mystery.

The first Filipina novice received the habit last 19 April (Divine Mercy Sunday) and since then has been named Sr. Marie Elizabeth of the Divine Mercy. Please pray for their perseverance as well as that of our newest sister, Maria Socoro, from the Carmel of Cagayan de Oro City in the Philippines.

As we celebrated yesterday the Clothing day of Sr. Marie Paul Therese, we carried in our hearts and prayers our suffering brothers and sisters in the Philippines, in Cambodia, in Vietnam and in Indonesia. May God continue to inspire more generous-hearted people to come to their assistance.



WELCOME to the blog of the Carmelite Sisters in Vilvoorde!

We lovingly dedicate this endevour to the young people whom we know & still hope to know, to our friends, benefactors, families and communities of origin (the reason why this has to be in English).

We choose to launch this on the Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, under whose patronage we place this blog. May she impart to us her contemplative-missionary zeal in making God be loved by many...

It has been two years ago since we contemplated beginning this but due to some reasons it didnt materialize but with the re-opening of our Novitiate this year, guess there will be enough materials to publish now and then.

In fact, on the Feast of St Therese itself, our second Filipina postulant, Jurechille Catalan, will receive the Habit of Our Lady of Mt Carmel during a simple ceremony after Lauds. She will then receive her new religious name and mystery. We hope to share it with you soon along with some photos.

In the meantime, keep her and our little community in your prayer.

A blessed and happy feast of St. Therese! May she continue to teach us her "Little Way".