AT THE CARMEL
OF PHOENIXVILLE 1985
AT THE CARMEL
What is a Carmel?
On November 13, 1985, His Grace Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre blessed the Carmel of the Most Holy Trinity in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. The text which follows is the sermon of Archbishop Lefebvre during the .Solemn High Mass which preceded the blessing.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
My dear Sisters, my dear brethren,
Now you can see that there really is a Catholic Carmel in America! It is a fact! It is the effect of the many prayers of you, my dear brethren, and it is also the effect of the good Christian families that we still have in America, because some of the children come to the Sisters of the convent of Carmel. And it is also the effect of the fruit of the prayers of the Sisters and all Carmelites, and their resolution to come here to America. We thank God today for this foundation and thank also our dear Blessed Virgin Mary, the true Mother of the Carmelites. We thank also all those people who pray for this convent here in Phoenixville.
What is a Carmel, my dear brethren? A Carmel is a house of prayer. What is prayer? Prayer, says the catechism, is the elevation of our soul to God. It is also the realisation of our life here in this heart. Why did God create the spirit? Why did God give us a soul? To know, to love and to serve God, and in this way, to obtain the glorification of our souls. That is the first reason for the foundation of the Carmelite convent: To know God, to love God and to serve God, by Jesus Christ, in Jesus Christ, because after the Incarnation we know that it is impossible to really pray with good fruits without Jesus Christ. And so the Sisters in this convent give us the magnificent example of prayer. It is impossible to think of a Carmelite Sister without knowing that their life is a life of prayer. That is very necessary in our time of confusion in the Church, a time when many convents are closed. It is very, very necessary that these Sisters pray for us, pray for your families. Many blessings comes from the prayers of the Sisters in America. We must thank God.
What is a Carmel? A Carmel is a house of sacrifice. We cannot love God without sacrifice. Jesus Christ Himself gave us the way to love God, by His sacrifice on Calvary, His sacrifice on the Cross. That is the most important thing in His life: His sacrifice on the Cross. It is the witness of the love of Jesus Christ for His disciples. Here He gave His life for the glory of His Father; and He said that we must bring our cross and follow Him if we truly want to become His followers. So also we must take the good example of these Carmelite Sisters, to make sacrifices in our own life, if we truly want to obtain a crown in heaven. All the saints give us this magnificent example of sacrifice. We know that, because of the consequence of original sin, we are too occupied by worries, and we even forget the spiritual life; we forget to pray; we know that. And so it is very important to make sacrifices, to abandon anything in this life to love God, to be united with God; this is very important. We thank these good Sisters for giving us a good example of sacrifice.
What is a Carmel? A Carmel is a missionary convent, a missionary house. But what mission do the Sisters have? They pray, and they give the sacrifice of their lives to save souls. To save their own souls, but also to save our souls. You know that Pope Pius named the little Therese of the Child Jesus as Protector of All Missions. Why? This little Sister, in her Carmel, lived a very short time I think twenty-four, twenty-five years. She died and Pope Pius named her Patroness of All Missions. We know that after she died, many, many people everywhere in the world received many blessings by the prayer of this little Sister of the Child Jesus. And so she was a very great missionary. That is also the task of the Carmelite Convent, to be missionary.
And pray for the priests! You know that now, in this crisis of the Church, the crisis is more in the clergy than in the laity. Recently the newspapers said that in Italy, near Castelgandolfo, former priests who got married were meeting. They say themselves, there were seventy thousand. Seventy thousand! One for every five priests in the world . . . abandoned his duty of the priesthood to get married. That is a sign of our time, this time of the destruction of the Church. And so it is very important to have good and holy priests, true Catholic priests.
That is also a great intention of the prayers of the Carmelite Sisters. We hope that by this presence of the Sisters in America many young girls shall receive vocations to become religious sisters and that many young men will become seminarians and priests. So we know truly that the Catholic Church is helped by the Carmelite Convent and it is also a help to the Society of St. Pius X, to good priests, holy priests, Catholic priests, to continue the Catholic Church and not abandon the Catholic priesthood.
And now, during this Catholic Mass, we shall pray to God and to Our Lord Jesus Christ, to give many blessings to the Sisters, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that they continue the good tradition of the Carmelite Sisters of centuries and centuries. They are good Carmelite Sisters and we can be sure that they remain the children of St. Teresa, the Foundress, who renewed the life of the Carmelite Sisters.
We hope, by the blessing of God, that through this convent in America, all people in America will receive many blessings.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.