Theme: Through the desert God leads us to freedom
February 16, 2024
Home is where we belong
February 16, 2024

Lay Carmelites host their AGM

Lay Carmelites, enabled by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the intercession of Our Lady of Mt Carmel and the Saints of Carmel, held our Annual General Meeting on the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, January 14. How propitious it would be for us because of the intersection of so many significant circumstances.

It was manifestly light that overcame those dark days and years when the Covid-19 pandemic halted physical activities. As Lay Carmelites of the English-speaking Caribbean region, we believe that we are doubly blessed, we who identify with the Rules of The Order of the Brothers and Sisters of Our Lady of Mt Carmel and also formed many decades ago by the charism of the Corpus Christi Carmelite Congregation.

The Lay Carmelite communities in Trinidad are: Flos Carmeli, Diego Martin; Little Flower, Gasparillo; Rosa Carmeli, Tunapuna; St Elias, Port of Spain/Belmont; St Teresa of Avila, Barataria/San Juan; Stella Maris, Port of Spain; and Our Lady of Mt Carmel, New Grant.

The occasion was also enriched by the presence of a contingent from Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Grenada.

Reports were presented in detail: meetings conducted virtually and/or in-person, demographics and attrition consistent with the national average; Ministries and relevant spiritual as well as our social and religious activities.

We responded to invitations virtually, here and abroad, and benefitted from the webinars hosted by the groups named FORMED and AMEN; and the Caribbean Carmelite Institute for our continuing formation in solitude, silence, and prayer.

Lay Carmelites are committed to continuing the legacy of the Foundress, Mother Mary Ellerker of the Blessed Sacrament O Carm, who had come to Trinidad as  a Dominican Tertiary. From here flowed the phenomenal progression from the Dominican to the Carmelite, with reference to The Little Way of St Therese of Lisieux.

It was with grateful hearts and minds that as we chart our own legacy, this Annual General Meeting would be another proud milestone in our Lay Carmelite history.

Not only was it the inauguration of a new executive to the National Council for the period 2024–2027, but a visitation from Suveda Thiagaraj TOC, Provincial Coordinator for Lay Carmelites (St Elias Province, USA).

Her meditation urged the contemplative life is a gift from God, and essential for our salvation, and for sharing with others.

The ceremony with Ritual Profession and Renewal took place within Holy Mass. Celebrant and homilist, Fr Brent Alexis O Carm, in elucidating on the Readings signified them as perfect for the candidates being professed, “To do Your will, O my God, is my delight, and your Law is within my heart.”

Thus, he illustrated the call to Carmel is God’s, a general, personal response to a radical dedication to follow His will, His initiative in being aware of the different ways of doing things.

Our newly professed are: Kristy Ann Franco TOC; Glenda Fabien TOC;  Vernon Burnett TOC and his wife, Sharon Burnett TOC in a ceremony which is always soul-stirring. It is so emotional for all, whether taking vows for the first time or renewing the full and unequivocal commitment in this life until our death, “aware of my presence with the Lord in perpetuity.”

Lay Carmelites will be continuously formed through the initiatives of Br Nigel Ali O Carm, Associate Delegate for the Lay Carmelites, Caribbean Region, sharing his responsibility with the National Council, serving as the liaison with the Friars and the Lay Carmelites.

Fr Francis Amodio O Carm is the Provincial Delegate for Lay Camelites, Sr Geraldine George O Carm is the Liaison with the Corpus Christi Carmelite Congregation; President of the National Council is Joan Raghunanan TOC, who is also the Regional Coordinator for the Lay Carmelites of the Caribbean, assisting Br Nigel.

If you believe that you are hearing the call to Carmel indistinctly know that God speaks to us in different ways, that He who dwells in our hearts, minds and spirits is nudging us forward. We shall be delighted to assist and welcome you to Carmel. —Neila Todd, Tertiary of Carmel,