Fall 2005


Our first program for the Formation of Formators is scheduled for 10-12 January
2006 at El Carmelo Retreat House in Redlands, CA. This “weekend-style” pilot retreat program will feature Vilma Seelaus, O.C.D., of the Barrington Carmel
and the Carmelite Forum, presenting a lecture on “Meditating the Law of the Lord: Lectio Divina,” and Leopold Glueckert, O.Carm., historian and president of the Carmelite Institute, presenting “The Christocentric Nature of Carmel.” The objective is to bring together the various Carmelite communities represented by their members involved in formation work and to convey to them a greater understanding of the meaning of being a part of Carmel by sharing the common resources that are available to all.

The program will also include panel discussions guided by experienced formators, and breakout sessions according to the diverse branches of the Carmelite family participating (O.C.D.S. working with O.C.D.S., T.O.Carms. with T.O.Carms., friars with friars, nuns with nuns, etc.).

For this initial effort we are planning for approximately 25 to 35 participants, with equal numbers of men and women, if possible. If all goes well, we hope to offer similar programs elsewhere in the country in the future (they may not necessarily be the same presentations or presenters as in this first program).
We ask for your prayers for the success of this endeavor and if you would like to make a financial contribution toward the overall expense, we would appreciate that immensely.

Mary E. Rodríguez-Harrington, O.C.D.S.


New Head at the Helm   

Leopold Glueckert, O.Carm.

Every three years the Carmelites gather for their Provincial chapter to elect new leadership and discuss and vote on proposals dealing with their community life and ministry. It has been often said that even if we vote on nothing, being together for five days is good enough reason to meet. A tradition observed
at each Chapter has been to have a group photo taken of the entire group of Province members present. A review of such photos over the years reveals the ageing, graying, the mirth and the girth of Carmelites in attendance. At the last such chapter meeting held in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in the second row on the left, near the newly elected Provincial Council, is seen the new Director of the Carmelite Institute, Fr. Leopold George Glueckert. Smiling broadly towards the cameras, Leo is seen to be wearing one of his unique t-shirts. This one was emblazoned: “HEAD TWIT.”

The newly appointed “Head Twit” of the Carmelite Institute is a man with a wondrous and varied platter of background experiences.

Hailing from Munster, Indiana, our own Hoosier attended Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago before transferring to the high school seminary at Mt. Carmel College at Niagara. Then, after a year and a day of spiritual formation under Fr. Humphrey Connors, Fr. Leo professed his first vows at the Carmelite Novitiate in New Baltimore, Pennsylvania and returned to Niagara to complete his college studies.

Leo was one of those select students chosen to do his theological studies in Rome. He did so at St. Albert’s International House in Rome. This experience, challenging from the standpoints of language and studies, also provided Leo with a broad enrichment in Church History and western Culture.

Fr. Leo was ordained a priest with Fr. Calvin Alderson at St. Bernard’s Carmelite parish in Joliet. It was also the first priestly ordination to be done by Bishop Raymond Vonesh, Auxiliary Bishop of Joliet, and a great friend to Carmelites.

Fr. Leo began his teaching career at Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago where he taught religion. Next, Fr. Leo ventured west to Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, California for the first of two stints there. At Crespi, Fr. Leo taught History.

Next, Fr. Leo was chosen to be part of the formation team for Carmelite college students at Carmel Hall, just off the campus of Loyola University in Chicago. Fr. Leo began teaching history at the University as he pursued doctoral studies
himself. Fr. Leo was chosen to lead the Loyola Rome Campus experience for a year. He then was appointed President for Fund Raising back at Crespi in Encino. His amiable personality would come handy in the arduous task of fund raising, always a need in Catholic schools. Each morning he would enter the faculty room and brighten the days of the teachers by proffering them that day’s “FarSide” cartoon. His favorite!

Leo returned to Loyola and resumed teaching while residing at Brandsma House on the Chicago lakefront, along with housemate Fr. Eamon Carroll.
Leo next taught at Lewis University, Romeoville, Illinois. He also served as chaplain to the Christian brothers who administer the university.

At about this time, Fr. Leo began a new adventure in his own parallel universe
by becoming the “Port Historian” for Princess Cruise Line. Leo spends months researching the historical/cultural riches of each port-of-call on that season’s cruise schedule. Of course, this means that he must go on the cruise to confirm his research, prepare daily bulletins for the passengers and serve as cruise chaplain. Them’s the breaks!

And now, Fr. Leo Glueckert, Carmelite historian and man of the world, comes to Whitefriars Hall and the Carmelite Institute. Here he will oversee the work of the many good people, Carmelites and not, who wish to delve deeply into the waters of Carmelite studies, with which Fr. Leo is so familiar. So we are happy to welcome Fr. Leo to his new port-of-call, Washington, DC, a city he has never lived in before!

John Comerford, O.Carm.

Fall 2005 students at WTU

Bro. Romualdo Borges de Macedo, O.Carm. – Brazil
John Comerford, O.Carm. – Joliet, IL
Andrés Querijero, O.C.D. – Philippines
Yvonne Stewart – Washington, DC
Robert Traudt, O.Carm. – Leonia, NJ
Ann Williams – Washington, DC


Dearest Sisters and Brother in Carmel,

Since I’m the “new kid on the block,” I feel the need to tell you what I see for the immediate future of the Carmelite Institute. I feel very humble to follow the footsteps of two great presidents: John Welch and Steven Payne. They have laid solid foundations for the only institution in North America which represents all of us in the Carmelite Family. We have so many things which unite us in our long tradition that we are indeed able to speak with a single voice as we continue to be a sign of hope and healing in our troubled world.

Most of my study has not been in theology or spirituality, but in history, and I’ve been a teacher long enough to qualify as a “seasoned veteran.” I have a book coming out within the year: a short history of the entire Carmelite phenomenon. I hope that it will provide a good look at the continuity and bonds within our tradition...the insights and turning points which have made Carmel such a blessing to the church and the world.

Outsiders might well ask “What are Carmelites good for?” We need to respond with the details of our special gift to all. For eight centuries, Carmel has been a small but potent leaven within the loaf of Christianity. We are the custodians of Elijah’s fire, Brother Lawrence’s practicality, Thérèse’s ardor. We don’t always remember that, in our Rule, we cherish so much of what the world needs. We can teach reflective silence to a universe of meaningless chatter. Dynamic solitude heals the loneliness of the crowd. Simplicity of life trumps the consumerism which distracts us into too much food, wealth, and diversion. As the Rule calls us to a personal combat against evil, we learn to confront injustice wherever we find it. Yes, we have much to say.

The Carmelite Institute exists to support and facilitate all the normal things that Carmelites do, including outreach and vocation work. We attempt to promote our ideals of prayer, community, and service. Some secular and lay Carmelites have asked for more help in formation, motivation, and inspiration. This coming January we are presenting a workshop of Formation for Formators, designed to be a pilot for many such meetings. Let’s do whatever we need to do to help and encourage one another, since the stakes are so high.

You can help! Please do everything you can to promote studies and scholarship in our tradition. Use our books, audio cassettes, and video tapes to spread our message. Plan to join us in 2007 for our next Conference, which will probably focus on spreading our most important values to a violent planet. Together we can do so much, so let’s get busy at doing it!

Leopold Glueckert, O.Carm.

John of the Cross: The Man and His God

Richard P. Hardy, Ph.D.

Richard P. Hardy, Ph.D.,1 read many biographies on John of the Cross in English and in French, but none of them presented the John he had come to know through his writings. He had discovered a warm, sensitive, gentle person in contrast to the cold, aloof, and demanding person portrayed by other authors. Hardy questioned that if John was so passionately in love with God, people, and creation, “would such a person present us with a corresponding view of God”?

Hardy’s research resulted in the 1982 biography entitled Search for Nothing: The Life of John of the Cross. As he read carefully from the witnesses for John’s beatification and canonization, he paid close attention to those who had known him personally and found a man very much like the one he had discovered in his writings. Still he continued his research and in 2004 published a revised version of his original work under the title, John of the Cross: Man and Mystic. Hardy became aware that John’s biographers were writing what they believed a saint should be like, “totally out of this world and in love with a God who was even more removed from this world.”

Such a perception is completely contrary to John’s actual life because he was involved with people and life from his early years working in Las Bubas, a hospital caring for those dying of the plague and war wounds. He offered spiritual assistance in Segovia, pastoral care in parishes, and worked for the Reform of the Order together with the Carmelite sisters. John loved nature, enjoyed picnics, gazing at stars, as well as praying in the caves in Segovia. From the deep relationship between his parents, Gonzalo de Yepes and Catalina Alvarez, he learned about love. John learned about beauty from his sensitivity and his observations in the world—God, people, creation—and he expressed it in his writings.

God was indeed the core of John’s life—rooted in the here and now of human existence. Moreover, this God was intimately involved with life and creation. This insight formed the foundation of John’s belief that no Christian can be one with God without a total engagement to humanity and creation.

“The God John opens to us,” Hardy explained, “is the God of the Gospels—a God who invites us all to participate in a divine life which is nothing but love; who creates, gives life, and sustains life. Therefore, in a world filled with calamities, both natural and human, in a world with increasing and devastating poverty of a majority of its population, where nature’s beauty is destroyed for the profit of the few, and in a world where there is discrimination and hatred, the God that John knows is precisely the foundation for the reversal of such destruction.”

John writes about God living in each person of Love. Through Scripture reading we know that “the Father, the Son, and the Spirit would take up their abode in those who love him by making them live the life of God and dwell in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” [Jn.14: 23] (Flame-B, 2, p. 638-39).2 God lives in the ones who give themselves to love by making them live the life of God. The life of God is therefore enfleshed here and now in the lives of lovers, that is, in the lives of people who enter the process of loving God now, in the very stories of their own lives. What is this life of God?

God’s life, which is God’s very being, is one of passionately seeking and giving of the Godself to human beings. In a passage of most remarkable and beautiful
mystical depth, John says, “When individuals love and do good to others, they love and do good to them in the measure of their own nature and properties.
Thus your Bridegroom, dwelling within you grants you favors according to his nature.” Then after enumerating several characteristics of God, he concludes,
“Since he is the virtue of supreme humility, he loves you with supreme humility and esteem and makes you his equal, gladly revealing himself to you in these ways of knowledge, in this his countenance filled with graces, and telling you in this his union, not without great rejoicing: ‘I am yours and for you and delighted to be what I am so as to be yours and give myself to you.’ ” (Flame-B, 6, p. 675-76).

Hardy emphasized the fact that John allows us to see a God who passionately wants our wholeness here and now, because of the infinite love that God is and gives to all creation. That passion gives the divine self as God to each person in a way that makes that person God’s equal! Moreover, God is thrilled to be who God is for each person and for creation as a whole. The whole of the bridegroom’s being expressed in the Canticle is expressed here in the Flame in this one little phrase “I am yours and for you and delighted to be what I am so as to be yours and give myself to you.” [And “The son is the only delight of the Father, who rests nowhere else nor is present in any other than his beloved Son” (Canticle, I, 5, p. 479)]. This is the God that dares to give all God to the human community.

In a new paragraph found in the second redaction of the Flame, John writes how this love is for everyone and this divine life is for everyone: “The Father of lights [Jas 1:17], who is not closefisted but diffuses himself abundantly, as the sun does its rays, without being a respecter of persons [Acts 10:34], wherever there is room—always showing himself gladly along the highways and byways—does not hesitate or consider it of little import to find his delights with the children of the earth at a common table in the world” [Prv. 8:31](Flame B-15, 646). Hardy believes that John added this paragraph because he wanted to accentuate most strongly that God seeks all, and desires to be with all in an embrace of Infinite Love that incarnates the Godself in each person. Hardy points out that the references to the highways and byways are important because highways are safe and secure while the byways are the less secure places. Therefore, this God that shows the Godself everywhere and for everyone is a God that loves to be with humanity and becomes the God that humans can trust to enable them to come to their authentic fulfillment.

God becomes even more captivated as a person responds in love and trust, “Because this grace exalts, honors, and beautifies her in his sight, God loves her ineffably…now that she is in grace he loves her not only on account of himself but also on account of herself. And thus enamored by means of the effects and work of grace, or without them, he ever continues to communicate more love and more graces. And as he continues to honor and exalt her, he becomes continually more captivated by and enamored of her” (Canticle 33, 7, p. 603).

What John is saying is that God cannot be without the person—and indeed the human community. If the bride searches more and more for God, then God searches even more and more for her. It is then understandable why John asked the Prior to read him the Song of Songs in the last hours of his life. Because the Song of Songs is the most passionate and erotic of Biblical texts, we cannot minimize the longing that John’s God has for humanity and creation itself.

John reminds us that the Spirit “wounds the soul with the tenderness of God’s life and it wounds and stirs it so deeply as to make it dissolve in love” (Flame-B 1,7, p. 643). No human tenderness comes close to the tenderness, the gentleness of God’s love for all people. “In this interior union God communicates himself to the soul with such genuine love that neither the affection of a mother, with which she shows tenderly caresses her child, nor a brother’s love, nor any friendship is comparable to it” (Canticle-B 27, 1 p. 580).

This is the God who calls all human beings to live as one with him. The desires and longings, the will of God becomes the person’s and he says: “the entire matter of reaching union with God consists in purging the will of its appetites and emotions so that from a human lowly will it may be changed into the divine will, made identical with the will of God” (Ascent III, 16, 3, p. 293). What God wants, the person wants and that is the fulfillment of the earth and humanity, transformed into the home of God.

The call of the human being is indeed to become so united with God that she/he becomes God, that is, deified. Furthermore, he notes that there “is a total transformation in the Beloved, in which each surrenders the entire possession of self to the other with a certain consummation of the union of love. The soul thereby becomes divine, God through participation, insofar as is possible in this life” (Canticle-B 22, 3 p. 560-61). Human beings come to love as God loves—in everything—and “arrives at the true fulfillment of the first commandment which neither disdaining anything human nor excluding it from this love states: You shall love your God with your whole heart, and with your whole mind, and with your whole soul, and with all your strength” (Night II 11, 4, p. 420). In the Ascent John speaks of the whole love of the person directed solely to God and in the Night he expands it, “It is to love God as God loves—to be passionate, longing, and fulfilling to all. The very love the person has and is possessed by goes out creating more love and fire of passion—divine fire and love—throughout the world. Since love is never idle, but in continual motion, it is always emitting flames everywhere like a blazing fire” (Flame-B 1,8, p. 643).

The person then sees in a new way. “And here lies the remarkable delight of this awakening: the soul knows creatures through God and not God through creatures” (Flame-B 4,5, p. 710). Hardy explains that to see as God sees means to see the goodness of all and the potential for ever-deepening wonder found in everyone and everything.

Hardy noted that John of the Cross presents us a God of love, gentleness, tenderness, and passion when other writers of spirituality and Christianity wrote of a God of vengeance, judgment, and punishment. Hardy explained that, “throughout his life and his work, John related to this loving God more and more deeply. Over his lifetime, he came to see this wonderful God more clearly, and to experience that love even in the dark nights of his own life.”

“The discovery of God through Jesus” continued Hardy, “allows us to realize the gift that God gives to each person and the human community, that is, to live the life of God here and now. For John of the Cross the relationship with this God of love is not merely about me, myself, and I—and God, of course. Rather, it is a relationship which throws us so deeply into the Divine life that we are where God is and as God is—that is everywhere and creating and giving life.”
In concluding his lecture, Hardy stated that, “In our world today, I believe that this is the God people are longing to know and to meet. And this is a God and a life which engages the believer in making this world into the reign of God, which is the home of God.”

Mary E. Rodríguez-Harrington, O.C.D.S.

1 Adjunct Professor at the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California, presented
the lecture John of the Cross: The Man and His God at the Washington Theological Union on March 11, 2005 for the Carmelite Institute’s annual meeting. This article is a summary of the lecture.

2 All citations are from The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, trans. Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D., and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (ICS Publications: Washington, DC, 1991).


Left column: Mary Harrington, O.C.D.S.; John Sullivan,O.C.D.; and Colette Ackerman, O.C.D.
Center column: “The Living Word of the Lord;” Distance Education Instructors; Richard Hardy addressing an attentive audience; and Boad Members.
Right column: Steven Payne, O.C.D.; Patrick McMahon, O.Carm.; Ann Williams and Dianne Massiello, T.O.Carm.; and Jan Sengers, O.C.D.S..

Photography by
Randy B. Hill


January 10-12 Formation of Formators Pilot Retreat Program El Carmelo Retreat House, Redlands, CA

March 17, 7:00 pm Lecture by Gillian W. Ahlgren, Ph.D. The Washington Theological Union
Sponsored by the Carmelite Institute and WTU Carmelite Lecture Washington, DC

March 18, 8:30 am-4:30 pm Carmelite Institute General Assembly Whitefriars Hall, Washington, DC

March 19, 9:00 am Board of Directors Meeting Whitefriars Hall, Washington, DC


In Recognition of Their Service . .

Fr. John Russell, O.Carm., chair of the Board of Directors presented gifts to Steven Payne, O.C.D., for his service as president these past four years; to Patricia Kelly, O.C.D.S., for her two three-year terms as treasurer; and to Nancy Thompson, O.C.D.S., for her two three-year terms as an at-large member of the executive committee. Thank you Steve, Patricia, and Nancy.

A thank you is extended to Constance FitzGerald, O.C.D., who represented Annamae Dannes, O.C.D., head of Carmelite Communities Associated and to Toni Hagey, O.C.D.S., who came in place of Mary Lou Cereghino, the O.C.D.S. representative. Both Sr. Constance and Toni were present at the General Assembly and the Board of Director’s meeting.

Last but not least, a big thanks to Sr. Marie Bernardina, O.C.D., from the Carmel of Port Tobacco for maintaining our website!

Hasta La Vista
Steven Payne
As you return to Nairobi, Kenya,
we wish you well, good health, and God’s blessings on your work.



Fr. Michael Kissane, O.Carm., will serve as interim chair until the spring 2006. Suzanne Treis, O.C.D.S., was elected as a member of the executive committee,
and Mary Lou Cereghino, O.C.D.S., accepted a second term as the O.C.D.S. representative.

Welcome Fr. Ross to the Institute. Sister Mary Margaret Yascolt, O.C.D., Frs. Thomas and Welch, it is good to have you back again!

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