By Elsa Baughman
JACKSON – Sitting in their private area in the small chapel of their monastery, five Carmelite Sisters attended the Eucharistic celebration in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Sunday, July 20.
About 50 people, among them secular Discalced Carmelites and Filipinos from Couples for Christ, joined the sisters for the evening Mass celebrated by Bishop Joseph Kopacz and concelebrated by Bishop Emeritus Joseph Latino, and Norbertines Abbot Thomas DeWane and Jeremy Tobin. Music was provided by the Jackson Community of Discalced Carmelite Seculars led by Dorothy Ashley and Betsy Carraway.
During the homily, Father DeWane saluted the Blessed Mother under the special title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, since Carmelites look to the Virgin Mary as a spiritual mother. “The tradition of Carmel is an emphas is on the interior life, the life of contemplation, the life of recollection, the life of prayer,” he said.
He noted these gifts of contemplation, recollection and lives of prayer are graces that all of us are invited to partake of according to the circumstances of our lives. He ended his homily thanking the Carmelite Sisters for “so loyally carrying out their tradition day after day.”
Sara Weisenberger, a member of Gluckstadt St. Joseph, said the presence of the nuns is for the spiritual enrichment of the diocese.
“They pray for all our intentions and I don’t think we pay too much attention to them. I think we need to be more aware and appreciative of their prayer ministry, Weisneberger said.”
Evelin Shaker is a member of Jackson Christ the King Parish but frequently goes to the 7:30 a.m. Mass at the Carmelite Chapel. She said she wanted to attend the Mass to honor the sisters in their celebration.
The Carmelite Sisters have lived in the monastery located on Terry Road since 1951. For many years, the nuns have operated a gift shop filled with religious articles to help support themselves.