The sound of the footsteps of visitors is like medicine; it cures the sick.  (African Proverb)

 

 

Advent Season

Behold your Lord will come!
Maranatha!
“... for God shall save the needy when they cry ...”  Psalm 72
Come Lord Jesus

 

 

 

To all of you we wish a time of “waiting the Lord” with trust and hope, whatever situation of life you may find yourself in.  God’s Love and Compassion lasts from age to age.

“The monastic vocation, as Pope Francis said, “is a tension between being hidden and
being visible:  tension in the fundamental sense, the tension of fidelity.
Your vocation is going onto the battlefield, it is fighting, it is knocking at the heart of the Lord”    (from: Contemplate, n. 66)

St Thérèse
Story of A Soul, Chapter VI

Dear Friends in Christ,   
As the Jubilee year of Mercy approaches its end, we thank God for the graces of this time and place in the Lord’s hands the year that lies ahead.  At the beginning of a new liturgical year, where once again we will narrate and celebrate as individuals and as Family of God, the Life, Death and Resurrection of our Saviour, the Carmelites Sisters of Benoni want to assure you of their prayer for each one and for the whole Christian Community.
As you are aware, one of the commitments of our community is to gather seven times during the day to pray the Liturgy of the Hours (Prayer of the Church). This prayer involves praying, chanting the Psalms – a prayer well known to Jesus and his Jewish community, the Apostles and now the Christian community.   In this type of prayer we find words which express feelings and emotions (joy, sadness, anger, hope, trust, loneliness, fear etc.,) lived by the person/community “talking to God” with the words of the psalms:
“O Lord, how great are your works! How deep are your designs! The senseless man cannot know this, and the fool cannot understand.” (Psalm. 92)
“Listen, O God, to my cry! Attend to my prayer! From the end of the earth I call you, my heart is faint.” (Psalm.61)
You know well that the experience of the psalmist could be our experience too. We can all go through the same type of situations and feelings in our life.  Know that you are present to us, “you are in our prayer” – when you have similar experiences.  As Christians we “journey” together towards the “fullness of Life”- Christ.
Dear Friends we invite you to let us know – at any time of the year – your need of prayers for particular individuals or community situations, events in the Christian community or the community at large.  We will take your needs before God. 
Shalom!

Sr Thérèse and the Sisters of Carmel Benoni

“The life of the contemplative persons inhabit the furrows of human history, and, situated in the heart of Church and the world, they stand “before God for all”

(from:  Contemplate 66 quoting St Edith Stein)

Some days of quiet at Carmel

Obakeng has several times come to spend quiet time at Carmel, appreciating the peace and silence of the place.  On 2nd January she came with her friend Moline, to stay for some days at the start the new year 2018 in our guest house.  Moline appreciated the quiet place and the space she had in which to listen to God, to be in silence and discern God’s will.  Both returned home happy and refreshed.  Obakeng felt that each visit is guaranteed to be better than the one before!
We keep them in our prayer.

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Evelyn returned to Lusaka, Zambia on 19th December, having spent some weeks with us in order to experience Carmelite life.  She is pictured here with Sr Catherine, who came to us from Thapelong Carmel on 7th October, 2017.



On 14th December, 2017 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, the Carmelite Family of priests, sisters and members of the secular order, rejoiced at the Final Promises of Ligia da Silva and Joan Ashby.  The Mass on this joyous occasion was presided over by Fr Mari Joe who had come from Cape Town to attend, and concelebrated by all the Carmelite Fathers from Cape Town and Benoni.
Deacon Keith Mackenzie assisted.
Bridget Hodge, President of the Secular Carmelite group who meet in Johannesburg, under the patroness of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) gave the introduction before the Mass and explained what it means to belong to the Secular Carmelites (OCDS).  A group in Benoni is presently being formed.

After the celebration all present enjoyed a “bring and share” meal. 

 

On Sunday 15th October, we had the joy of welcoming the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Peter Wells and his secretary, Monsignor Roman for Mass and a visit to our community. 

 

More visitors to Carmel

During these days we have enjoyed the presence and help of two sisters from Mafikeng Carmel:
SR GRACE and CATHERINE

A group of young people from Secunda making a retreat at LUMKO in preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation enjoyed a tour of the Altar Bread Department and spent time in our Chapel.

Sr Marie Therese with her cousins visiting from KwaZulu Natal and Florida, USA

 

Between the 4 and 11th August, The Carmelite Family in Benoni had the joy of welcoming Fr Charles Serrao, Provincial of the Discalced Carmelite Friars of Karnataka-Goa, India on a friendly visit to the Fathers and Sisters in South Africa.

 

Fr Mari Joe and Fr Anthony (newly arrived in Cape Town) celebrated Mass for us on Tuesday 8th August and went on a tour of the Altar Bread department.

Sr Marie’s family visiting from DRC and Namibia

GOLDEN JUBILEE OF SR MARY OF GRACE

Golden Jubilee Celebrations in Vacoas Carmel, Mauritius
Sr Marie Therese travelled to Mauritius on 27th July to celebrate Sr Mary of Grace’s Golden Jubilee of Religious Profession.
Sr Mary made her profession in Rivonia Carmel, Johannesburg in 1967, so it was a great joy for Sr Marie Therese to  be reunited with her again after 25 years.
The Mass was celebrated on 29th July by Cardinal Maurice Piat.  The entrance hymn was sung in English : Amazing Grace and the rest of the Mass and hymns sung in Chinese and French.  Friends prepared a delicious Chinese meal for the community afterwards.  Sr Marie Therese spent two weeks with the sisters sharing our Carmelite spirit together.


Solemnity of OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL celebrated in grand style in Benoni

VISITORS TO CARMEL

From the sermon given by Bro Philip OCD on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel 16.07.2017
Today, Carmelite families all over the world celebrate a great feast, a great event and a great Woman…. We reflect on a God who is so loving as to have given us the gift of his son and mother. 
The readings today open our eyes to the God who is a Giver.  In our first reading Elijah pleads that God manifest himself and give rain. At last, there was “a little cloud like a man’s hand rising out of the sea”. This “little cloud” is seen as a symbol of the virgin mentioned in the prophecies of Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14) the early Carmelites came to understand this passage in a Marian sense. Mary, for them, is that cloud that rises out of the sea. She becomes the vessel through which God gives his grace and his refuge.
That is why St Paul writing to the Galatians says, “when the appointed time came God gave us his son, born of a woman”. Mary becomes again the vessel of God salvation; who joyfully and willfully bore the savior; the messiah by whose grace we are no longer slaves but we become sons and daughters of God.
In the Gospel, Jesus looking at his mother and the disciple whom he loves standing near, ties both Mary and John together. He says to Mary, “Woman, behold your son” And to John, “Son, Behold your mother. I want us to keep three things in mind here. First: God, in our moments of worries, persecution, pain, and agony always comes to our aid with some consolations. Secondly, Jesus committed John (who stands for the Church)to the care of Mary, she has to love and care for John first before John can reciprocate. Why? because Mary is the tabernacle of God, prepared by God not just a vessel but also contains some character of that which she enveloped. Third, “Son, behold your mother”. To us, the Lord commits His mother not so much to care for her but for us to emulation her virtues. Jesus says to us today, “Take Mary home and imitate her.
And so we need to ask ourselves, how shall this day be meaningful to us who have decided to take Mary home?
So today as we celebrate a God who is a giver, and a mother who shares in that character of God, we need to reflect and evaluate ourselves to know how generous we are and how sensitive we are to the needs and sufferings of others. Let us celebrate, let us eat and drink, not because tomorrow we shall die but because we have a generous God; and because we too are now ready to be sensitive to the needs of the other and generous with and to one another.

Morning Mass at Carmel followed by tea prepared by the Catholic Women’s League

Evening Mass at the Carmelite Fathers on Saturday 15th July

 

The General Assembly of the Association of Our Lady of Africa of English-speaking African Carmels
On Wednesday 24thMay, Sr Marie and Sr Therese together with Mother John Mary and Sr Regina of Mafikeng Carmel flew to Nairobi, Kenya where they joined the other Prioresses and representatives of the Carmels of English-speaking Africa – twenty sisters in all from eleven monasteries, along with Sr Patricia of Ware Carmel representing the British

Sisters Patricia of Ware Carmel and Sr Marie Claver from Rwanda

Association and Sr Marie Claver of Cyangugu, Rwanda representing the French-speaking African Carmels.  Two communities were unable to send representatives – Buea Carmel, Cameroon and Cape Town Carmel, South Africa. 


Jubilation – Sisters from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya

Present were sisters from two monasteries in Nigeria – Owerri and Zing, Sr Miriam from the Carmel of Tamale, Ghana, Sr Helen from Mityana Carmel, Uganda, Sisters from the three Kenyan Carmels of Nairobi, Tindinyo and Kisii, Indian Sisters from Bunda Carmel, Tanzania, Sisters from Zomba Carmel, Malawi and the four of us from South Africa.


Fr Rafal and Sr Jacqueline of Tindinyo Carmel

Sr Therese and Fr Jerome

The meeting lasted three weeks and was held at the Carmelite Fathers’ Retreat Centre, Langata Road, Karen.  Fr Rafal Wilkowski OCD, Secretary for the Nuns from the Generalate, Rome spent four days reflecting on the Apostolic Constitution Vultem Dei Quaerere of Pope Francis in the light of our identity as Teresian Carmelites and the challenges we face today.  Fr Jerome Paluku OCD from the Mission Cooperation Office at the Generalate shared about Funding.  Fr Philbert Nampande OCD, Religious Assistant to the Association spoke on the Spirituality of Leadership.


Fr Philbert
On Monday 5th June the Assembly voted for the President and Council of the Association.  Sr Bendina from Nairobi Carmel was re-elected President for a further three years.

 

Sr Bendina (L) with Sr Marie Claver


The Council:

Sr Chiara of Kisii Carmel, Kenya –1st Councillor    

Sr Therese


Sr Therese of Benoni – 2nd Councillor
Sr Miriam of Tamale, Ghana – 3rd Councillor
Sr Bernadette of Owerri, Nigeria – 4th Councillor


Sr Miriam and Sr Bernadette

Sr Chiara

Sr Mary Grace of Mityana, Uganda - Substitute

With the community of Mount Carmel, Nairobi


Carmelite Retreat Centre, Langata Rd, Karen

On Friday 9th June we visited Mount Carmel Convent, Nairobi where the community warmly welcomed us with song and dance.

The meeting concluded on 11th June and we all returned to our respective communities on the 12th.  Our Association is now celebrating 21 years of its existence. We are truly growing as sisters united and committed to firmly establishing the presence of Carmel in Africa.   We were grateful to Fr Denis Geng OCD and  the Community of St John of the Cross for their gracious hospitality.

Sr Helen of Mityana, Uganda

Sr Monica of Nairobi Carmel (middle) with Sr Juliana and Sr Regina of Zing Carmel

All Participants with Fr Rafal

VISITS FROM FRIENDS OLD AND NEW      

r Paul Pang OFM, an old friend of our Carmelite Community visited us on the 12th April.  He shared with us his vast experiences of Chinese Catholic Communities in different parts of the world.  He ended the visit by singing the Ave Maria in Chinese, and giving us a blessing.

 

 

 

Fr Patrick CP visited us on Sunday 7th May

 

 

Fr Guy celebrated Mass for us on the 7th May, the anniversary of the profession of Sr Benedicta, and greeted her afterwards.

On 8th May we welcomed Fr Daniel Ehigie CD, Definitor for Africa to Benoni.  He is in South Africa for a fraternal visit to the Friars and Sisters.

 

 

The Children from Our Lady of Fatima parish visited us on 6th May in preparation for their First Holy Communion on 18th June.

 

 

 

A group of parishioners from Katlehong enjoyed a morning at Carmel on the 9th May, praying and singing together;  visiting the Altar Bread Department and Gift shop and enjoying tea together. 

 

March 2017 was a very memorable month for us here in Carmel, Benoni.  On 8th March we welcomed Señora Assumpta from Barcelona, Spain, accompanied by her grandson Marco and his wife Patricia, and her great-granddaughter, Anna, to stay in our guest house.  During the few days they were with us they visited another ‘Barcelona’ – the informal settlement not too far from Benoni where several of our friends are involved in helping the people. 

 

 

Visiting the dispensary,  kitchen and the children

On 10th March we had the joy of seeing the arrival of our new altar bread machines from Italy.  The long awaited day finally had arrived and we were delighted that Señora Assumpta was with us for the occasion

 

 

 

 

 

Señora Assumpta and her family also visited Mahikeng and Cape Town Carmels and enjoyed a taste of the wild animals in the Kruger Park before returning to Spain. 

On 20th March, Mr Papini and his technician, Jonathan arrived from Italy to install the machines.

Sr Marie proved a very capable student and now enjoys working in the baking room.

 

Visit from the Catechumens of St Peter Claver Parish, Pimville
The group spent a retreat day at Carmel in preparation for Easter. 

 

 

 

 

 

Sr Aurelia from Nairobi Carmel joined our community on 30th January and will spend two years with us.  We are grateful to the Sisters in Nairobi for allowing her to come to help us.
Veronica returned to Zambia after a month’s ‘come and see’.  She hopes to come back and we wish her well with her studies in the meantime.

 

 

 

We had a bumper crop of Catawba grapes this year and spend many a recreation preparing the grapes for the delicious juice made by Sr Marie Therese with the help of Sr Marie and Sr Bianca.

 

 

 

 

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Celia Kourie came for the weekend of 10th – 12th February to continue exploring the writings and spirituality of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity.  We had an enriching time together.  Here are a few of the thoughts  which we shared.
The simplicity of Elisabeth’s mysticism is almost deceptive. No complicated techniques or extraordinary ascesis is suggested, no absolutizing of a particular method, but rather a simple interior adherence to the indwelling Trinity.
While Elisabeth did not venture outside the norms of the prevailing spirituality of her time, nevertheless there is a certain freedom and freshness of approach in her writings.
Above all, Elisabeth is a mystic of the ordinary: her teaching is that transcendence is to be found in immanence and the essential in the phenomenal. Elisabeth can be seen as a mystic and a mystagogue who leads others to experience something of the intoxicating beauty and boundless love of God.

 


Celia and the community, Sunday 12th February
A Lenten retreat with St Elizabeth of the Trinity is a free on-line venture produced by the Carmelites of France and made available in German and English by the Carmelites in Austria and USA.
The retreat can be subscribed to by going to the following website :
www.retreat.online.karmel.at
A weekly e-mail with a meditation for the week and daily inspirational texts will be sent to those who subscribe.
We are grateful to all who have made St Elizabeth’s message available in this way and look forward to a fruitful Lenten journey in the company of our sister, St Elizabeth of the Trinity.

Visit from our Benedictine brothers and sisters during their annual BECOSA meeting held at Lumko.

On Thursday afternoon, 16th February we had the joy of sharing with the Benedictines from various parts of Southern Africa, and on Friday 17th, they celebrated Lauds and the Eucharist with us.  Fr Mark Butlin from Ampleforth Abbey, England, was the main celebrant, and Fr Robert Igo, Prior of Christ the Word Monastery, Macheke, Zimbabwe and John Paul, the Prior of Inkamana Abbey concelebrated.

 

 

“What a joyous mystery is your presence within me, in that intimate sanctuary of my soul where I can always find you, even when I do not feel your presence.  Of what importance is feeling?  Perhaps you are all the closer when I feel you less.” St Elizabeth of the Trinity

Sr Chawezi by the picture of St Elizabeth of the Trinity on the day of the Canonization

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canonization of Elizabeth of the Trinity

After an enriching introduction to the life and teaching of Elizabeth of the Trinity given by Professor Celia Kourie on 15th October, Fr Pierre Thadee OCD celebrated the Mass on Sunday 16th.  The Catholic Womens’ League prepared the tea.

Professor Celia Kourie and Fr Thadee

On Thursday evening 27th October our community enjoyed a visit from the
fellowship group of the Greek Orthodox Church in Benoni who were accompanied by Fr Markos.  Together we learned about each other’s liturgies and faith life.  They enjoyed the singing of psalms with the Kora and they in turn chanted for us.

Congratulations to  Sr Angela of Carmel, Thapelong, Mahikeng who made her solemn profession on 15th October.  Srs Benedicta and  Marie went to share her joy.

Solemnity of St Thérèse  -  1st October, 2016

A picnic in the garden!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September and October have brought many visits from children preparing for First Holy Communion

Holy Rosary School, Edenvale                                   St Benedict’s, Bedfordview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Columba’s School, Benoni

 

 

Visit from the First Communion Class, Geluksdal Parish, Brakpan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congrats Sr Marie

Sr Marie recently completed a 1000 piece jigsaw of Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”.  This is a relaxing pass time we all enjoy – watching the picture emerge from the jumble of pieces – each one happy to have added a piece to make the whole.

 

 

 

 

 

Sr Therese had the joy of welcoming her cousin Rolfe Wessmann and his family from Germany for a stay at Carmel.  After celebrating Mass for us on Friday 19th August, Fr George, a Missionary of Africa, accompanied the family to Soweto where they visited Nelson Mandela’s House, the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Regina Mundi Church.

 

 

Ramona, Marcel, Fr George, Carina, Rolfe and Annegret