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.