Discalced Carmelites of the Australia Oceania Region

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OCDS National Congress

March 10, 2012

The Congress began with Evening Prayer on Monday 5th March and finished on Thursday 8th after three very full days. The theme was

"Saint Teresa of Jesus: What does a cloistered nun of the 16th Century have to do with lay men and women of the 21st Century?"


Below is a photo taken on the last day which includes most of the participants and presenters/guests. We were pleased to welcome the participation of Fr Jim De Laurier O.Carm and Keith Belton, Grahame Sievers and Sue Stuckey who are Lay Carmelities but unfortunatley were not present at the time of this group photo.


A pictorial report:

Each day included Morning Prayer followed by a silent time of meditation, Eucharist, Evening and Night Prayer.



Participants were arranged in 'conversation' groups around tables and each talk or presentation included time for response and reflection together around the table.




An important part of the Congress was the casual conversation while socializing between sessions.


 Some impressions and comments

One of the inspiring things about OCDS community meetings for me is being with like-minded people...people who love God...and experiencing their acceptance. The Congress seemed like that on a larger scale and was invigorating. I enjoyed renewing acquaintances and mixing with new friends. It was re-affirming to meet with people who were enthusiastic and committed to their vocation and eager to find ways of contributing to Carmel. The information received was valuable and we seemed to edge a little closer to a more effective sense of collaboration with the rest of Carmel. At least there seems to be some positive motivation to find ways & means of promoting and disseminating our charism. I think it will be beneficial for us to maintain and improve our intra-order communication...to exchange thoughts and ideas, and to pray with and for each other at a national and even global level, not simply at our local community level, as important as that remains. The website and increased use of the social media may well have a big impact here. (Les)

It was indeed a pleasure to meet all the others at the Congress. It is great to build up a strong bond between us all. I found that meeting all the others was one of the greatest highlights of the Congress. (Jackie)

I enjoyed the week as an opportunity to focus more on the community and less on myself. In a way it seemed less intense than a retreat as I didn’t feel I needed to spend the breaks praying, reflecting and reading but just enjoying the break. Even though it was relaxing it was still ‘work’ in that we were discussing important issues for the Carmelites. In this way I felt a greater connection between my life in Carmel and ordinary work activities. For example, it seemed very odd talking for long periods. It was fantastic to have so many of the friars together and as always learn so much from them. (Marcelle)

I had a wonderful time at the Congress and felt so supported, affirmed, understood, welcomed, accepted - all those things - and inspired and enthused by the potential of Secular Carmel. (Bernadette)

I found the Congress very stimulating and life-giving. There was a wonderful spirit of friendly warmth and collegiality throughout the place where we gathered. Truly the Spirit was there. Membership of Carmel has always been a source of great spiritual comfort and encouragement to me personally, giving me the sense of membership of a spiritual community which is not always present in a larger contemporary parish. This warmth was something I experienced on a larger scale at the Congress. I did particularly appreciate being able to meet and socialise with our friends from other States and communities. The goodwill I experienced in chatting with our O. Carm. friends was also very tangible. The Congress was a time of many blessings. (Chris)