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Corpus Christi Carmelites celebrate jubilees

Three jubilarians, Sisters Antoinette Fahey O Carm of Jesus, Nyra Anne Pajotte O Carm of The Sacred Heart of Jesus and Geraldine George O Carm of Jesus, on Saturday, April 13, accessorised with black veils, solemnly and significantly entered St Michael RC Church, Maracas, St Joseph, by virtue of their previous accomplishments in the same parish.

It was also a poignant reminder of the early beginnings of the Corpus Christi Carmelite Congregation. Fr Vincent Mc Nabb, scholarly Dominican priest and spiritual mentor to the fledging Dominican Tertiaries would write: “A trinity to the island of the Trinity” when the little band of three, from an already small number, departed from England to Trinidad, without their foundress, Sr Mary Ellerker of the Blessed Sacrament, who had to remain at home to nurse her ailing mother, Sr Mary Magdalene.

Their arrival here, November 14, 1919 would be the pivot of the Corpus Christi Carmelite Congregation and the phenomenal achievements of the Servant of God, Foundress Mother Mary Ellerker of the Blessed Sacrament O Carm.

It would be from here, in Trinidad, that Trinitarian love would surge and the Congregation of diverse religious pioneers in the Caribbean region and on both sides of the Atlantic including Africa.

Decades later, this trinity of jubilarians had been drawn as teenagers to the Corpus Christi charism of living a life centred on The Blessed Sacrament, and their models: Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Prophet Elijah, and the little way of spiritual childhood of St Thérèse of Lisieux.

Sr Katrina Charles O Carm, Prioress General, in words of welcome and gratitude would recognise the flock present, led by Archbishop Emeritus Robert Rivas OP.  He, in administering the soul-stirring ritual, would reflect on the jubilarians’ lives of Obedience, Poverty, and Chastity through God, their own innate powers and other observances of Religious life.

Consequently, the Carmelite Order, cognisant of their longevity, immediately granted them the Order’s  privileges through the renewal of their vows and the bestowal of the golden crown, a figure of that Heavenly Crown,  conferred in reward at their happy passage to eternal life.

For the past 50 years, the jubilarians served the Lord with gladness in community through the Liturgy; The Divine Office; personal prayer and meditation and practicing the presence of God. Their diverse pastoral work included teaching catechetics, parish work, youth groups, retreats, spiritual direction, hospital, and prison visitation.

They have contributed to the dignity of all people through counselling, homes for the aged, children’s homes, special education, a correctional institution; academic and vocational schools, nurseries, hostels for girls.

They have demonstrated knowledge, skills, and abilities consistent with Mother Foundress’ far-sighted vision of women fulfilling the demands for educational and cultural formation.

The services of the Congregation remain relevant to the needs of the international community and in assisting the State to realise justice and equity through diversity and inclusion. Its goal ‘That all may be One’ continues to challenge and inform our present times. —Neila Todd, Tertiary of Carmel