Discalced Carmelites of the Australia Oceania Region


St Elijah Community

The community began on 6th June 1980 when a meeting was held to discuss the forming of a Secular Order at Mt Carmel. Minto. The interested persons who attended the meeting had all been to retreats at Mt. Carmel.

Fr. Eugene McCaffrey and Fr Francis Moylan were present and as a result of that meeting it was decided to meet on the first Sunday of the month commencing in July and that we would study the Rule of Life with a view to becoming a Carmelite Secular Order Community. Fr Francis Moylan was appointed Spiritual assistant of the group. The first Reception was held on 5th April when eight enquirers were received by Fr Moylan. When Fr Moylan was sent to Western Australia, Fr Raymond Clasby was appointed.

The original candidates made their First Promise on 1st May 1981 and four members made Definitive Promise on 27th April 1986. Some of these early members are still with the community:- Lorraine and Peter Murphy Patricia Reynolds and Ena McMillan.

The Community meets on the first Sunday of the month from February to December. The November meeting is a Reflection Day and in December we have Mass, a pre Christmas lunch and celebration. The Friars, family and friends are invited to join us on this occasion. The Community meets in the Conference room of the Retreat Centre, Mount Carmel, Varroville.

There are now 42 active members, of whom 17 are special or distant members and five enquirers. At 11.30 on the meeting day there are formation sessions for enquirers, candidates for First Promise and Definitive Promise.

During the community meeting which commences at 1.30 pm, there is a Prayer reflection led by one of the members; this is followed by a study session on one of our Carmelite saints led by the Spiritual Assistant or community member. A most important part of this process is the small group sharing which is part of every study session. In 2006  we studied The Living Flame of Love by St John of the Cross. In our Formation program we have studied the Constitutions and Conference notes by our General Delegate, Fr Aloysius Deeney OCD. In 2007 we studied The Way of Perfection by St Teresa and have continued with this book in 2008.

Some members have given retreats or been part of the team at our annual retreat, giving presentations and prayer sessions and helping with the liturgy.  Members are involved in many individual apostolates in their parishes and dioceses eg. RCIA. Ecumenism, Social Justice, Prayer groups, Pastoral work and Bible study groups. However we recognize the importance of having a group apostolate in collaboration with the Carmelite friars and our community Council is deliberating on that.

A report on the Reflection Day in 2008 gives more news of the community.