The Carmelite Convent of Saint Joseph was established in 1963, just a few years after the founding of the Diocese of Nueve de Julio, in Buenos Aires Province, 160 miles or so from the capital. As a contemplative congregation, their apostolate lies in prayer, above all for priests and for vocations and for the support of the bishop in his work. Their mission was beautifully described by the Carmelite Saint Therese of Lisieux, who wrote: “At the heart of the Church, I desire to be love.”
Father Werenfried van Straaten, the founder of ACN was always an enthusiastic supporter of the contemplative religious Sisters. He, too, had a beautiful image to describe their lifestyle: “Pure snow, high in the mountains of God’s love. Snow that melts, disappears and is seemingly useless. But see! Slender rivulets run down, growing broader, merging together into raging torrents, into waterfalls that drive power stations, machines, factories and entire industries. They conjure forth oceans of light and flow onwards, transforming dry plains into fertile meadows, garlanding a grey world with trees, plants, cornfields, flowers, fruit and beauty and bearing ships to distant lands, laden with food and all things necessary to a life of human dignity…”
The contemplative life of prayer is in no sense an unnecessary “luxury,” but instead bears rich fruit for the Church and for the world.
At the same time, Carmelite spirituality is a source of inspiration for many lay people. Far from being confined behind the convent walls, here in the city of Nueve de Julio, as in many other places around the world, it has given rise to a lay community inspired by the Carmelite founders, Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross, and striving to translate this spirit into their own lives.
The Carmelite convent is in a sense the spiritual heart of the diocese, yet at the same time it is not easy for the Sisters to support themselves. Their contemplative life in strict enclosure allows them only limited means of supporting themselves, and most of the Sisters are already elderly. In practice this means that the convent is dependent on outside support. But the local Catholic faithful themselves have very little. The diocese covers a largely rural area and the parishes themselves are also partly dependent on the contributions of the faithful.
For Bishop Ariel Edgardo Torrado Mosconi, the apostolate of the Sisters is very dear to his heart and so he has turned to ACN for help. We are proposing to support them with $6,000, or $500 for each Sister.
Will you give to the support the life and apostolate of these Carmelite Sisters in Argentina?
We are sure they will remember you in their grateful prayers.
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