Recently I received a note from Br. Thomas Mary of Jesus, Prior of the Hermits of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in the Diocese of Harrisburg, PA. As requested, I am passing it on to you, dear reader:
"Blessings to you and all in Una Voce during this Octave of the Sacred Heart (Carmelite Rite)!
With joy in God and Our Blessed Mother, I introduce to you a new traditional religious community in the Church: the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Diocese of Harrisburg canonically erected the community on February 22nd, and has given his full support to the community’s religious charism and spiritual mission in the Church today.
Following the primitive Rule of St. Albert, the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel lives a strict contemplative religious life for the glory of God, the honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the salvation of souls. Its charism and priestly apostolate are a revival of the ancient eremitical Carmelite observance, in imitation of the ancient desert Fathers and the first hermits who were consecrated to a religious life of prayer, penance, reparation, and intercession on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. Returning to the spirit of the founders of the Carmelite Order and in love for the ancient liturgy of the Church, the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel preserve and exclusively offer the traditional Carmelite Rite in the Divine Office and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass..."
As a new religious community, they are seeking both spiritual and material support. Details from the body of the letter are here:
Following the primitive Rule of St. Albert, the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel lives a strict contemplative religious life for the glory of God, the honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the salvation of souls. Its charism and priestly apostolate are a revival of the ancient eremitical Carmelite observance, in imitation of the ancient desert Fathers and the first hermits who were consecrated to a religious life of prayer, penance, reparation, and intercession on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land ...
"...we labor to sow the seeds of divine grace, true Catholic doctrine, and authentic spiritual formation through three principal means:
- A specific apostolate of contemplative religious priests: Through confession, spiritual direction, preaching, and the celebration of the traditional liturgy, the priests of the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel perform a specific apostolate that is for the spiritual formation and enduring benefit of priests, religious, seminarians, and the lay faithful.
- Sacramental and spiritual support for traditional Carmelite Nuns: The Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel will be helping to ensure the provision of the traditional liturgy for the new monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary & Joseph in Fairfield, Pennsylvania and spiritually assisting their two sister monasteries in Elysburg and Philadelphia. These monasteries are some of the most vibrant communities of traditional women religious in the world and are achieving an impressive revival of the religious life instituted by St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross more than five centuries ago. They have so many vocations that they have established five new monasteries—all of traditional liturgical observance—in nine years, and they are preparing a sixth.
- A retreat and guest house for the spiritual benefit of the faithful: In addition, once the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel receive the support needed to complete the initial material foundation, the community will have a guest retreat house available for priests, religious, and the lay faithful from the region and around the country. Through this retreat house, the community looks forward to offering a prayerful reprieve and a religious setting for those visiting the area or the beautiful chapel of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in order to be refreshed and enkindled by the rich liturgical and spiritual life that resounds therein. Being in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, the location is within accessible driving range of several major city centers, including Harrisburg, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Pittsburg, Richmond, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York City. The retreat and guest house will facilitate the priestly apostolate of the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by enabling them to make available the sacraments in their traditional form, spiritual direction and formation for guests and retreatants...
"... For the sake of a more focused religious observance, humble manual labor, and greater availability for the priests of our community to serve the spiritual needs of the faithful, the community does not operate any regular business, but subsists on alms and the charity of the faithful. Because of the simplicity of its religious observance (requiring only small, separate hermitages and structures, as opposed to a large monastery complex), and the spiritual and priestly character of its apostolate, its ongoing operational costs and overhead are notably low. The community is already capable of its normal material maintenance and will continue to be so in perpetuity.
However, the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel... are obliged by our religious poverty to beg and to seek the vital support of some generous souls who ... can provide the substantial investments needed to accomplish the one-time work of materially establishing the permanent home for this religious foundation and its members, through the purchase of property, acquisition of materials for the community’s observance, and the construction of the basic and most essential facilities... Once the fundamental needs of the initial foundation are fulfilled, the happily growing community will be able to quietly and fruitfully live its spiritual mission without such a need to appeal for external support...
"Therefore, on behalf of the community, we humbly request that you might share word about the traditional charism and particular material needs of our community with the members of your Una Voce Chapter or with other individuals who may be able and willing to help the religious and priests of the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to complete their foundation and live their vocation in the service of God and His Church. May God reward you for any help that may be offered and for kindly spreading the word!"
So, I am passing this along for your prayerful consideration.