Carmelite Monastery                                                                     J.M.+ J.T.                                                             July 2012

52 Halswell Road

Christchurch 8025

New Zealand

Peace of Christ!


Dear Carmelite Sisters and Brothers, family and friends,

We wish you every blessing for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  We are enclosing a copy of the Circular letter for Sr Marie of the Immaculate Heart, and thought we would update you on the happenings in our community these past three month since she left us.

We are pleased to let you know that our postulant Sr Katherine has been accepted to begin her Novitiate.  All going well, she will receive the Carmelite Habit on 1st September 2012.  Our two aspirants finished their “live-ins” in the last few months, and are currently discerning God’s will.  Please keep them all in your prayers. 

As this letter is being written, our grounds and trees are undergoing major reconstruction, and chains saws, trucks and diggers (with operators attached) are in full swing (along with those incredible, noisy machines that eat trees).  We are having our large grotto area reconstructed, as it has been quite labour-intensive caring for the rock garden.  At the same time many trees have provided a bit too much shade over the years, so need cutting back.  All this even before the earthquake repairs are in sight, but there is much everyday maintenance work to be done. 

We had a big snowfall in early June, much to the delight of Sr Mareta, to whom it was a new experience.  The rest of us would quite happily never see snow again.  One of the huge macracarpas split under the weight of it, and fell on our enclosure wall.  The latter managed to stay up, in spite of its officially precarious state.  It is proving to be a bitterly cold winter, but fortunately we have a good supply of wood and a woodburner.   Also a very kind friend, concerned about the cold, gave us each a fine, exquisitely woven, Alpaca rug. The soft black, grey and brown designs blended beautifully in our Chapel as we wrapped ourselves in them at prayer for extra warmth. Temperatures actually reached a record low in Christchurch.

We were blessed in April and May with talks on Edith Stein from Professor Benjamin Gibbs, and a series of talks on the Year of Faith by Bishop Basil Meeking.  Our reflections on the Foundations continue each fortnight.   We look forward to August 24th, which will be the 450th Anniversary of the Foundation of St Joseph’s Avila, where it all began.  We are currently brainstorming ideas on how to celebrate this jubilee.

Statues continue to come and go.  We migrate to the kitchen (with its welcoming woodburner) for our evening recreation during the winter months.  There is a procession each evening of statues in all states of disrepair on all manner of trolleys.  On the occasions when we’ve had to have our midday recreation there too, the Sister Cook has had to work around saints and martyrs etc, as well as trolleys of paint, and hopefully ensure that the plaster doesn’t accidentally end up in the cooking.  The owners of all these statues are always very grateful to get them back looking like new again.

We continue to keep your communities and families in our prayers, especially all those who are sick.   Please remember all those in Christchurch and further afield who are finding this very cold winter so trying, in their less than adequate accommodation.

God bless you.


Your loving sisters in Christ,

The Carmelite Sisters