OCDS Definitive Profession

St. Edmund’s Parish, North Vancouver, BC
October 21, 2017

Luz Quintero, a member of the St. John of the Cross OCDS Community of Coquitlam, B.C. made her Definitive Promise on October 21, 2017. The OCDS members of the Lower Mainland were in attendance to witness her profession, which took place at St. Edmund’s Church during a Eucharistic celebration officiated by Fr. Jerald D’Souza, newly appointed Regional Superior, Canada and concelebrated by Fr. Steny Mascarenhas, newly appointed Provincial Delegate.

It was an emotional occasion for Luz, who was visibly moved as she made her Promise “to tend toward evangelical perfection in the spirit of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, obedience, and of the Beatitudes….” After the ceremony, everyone gave their love, support, and well wishes to her.

After Mass, Fr. Jerry took the opportunity to congratulate Fr. Steny Mascarenhas on his appointment as Provincial Delegate for the OCDS. Fr. Jerry presented him with several books including the OCDS Constitutions and playfully clothed him with a scapular.

The occasion culminated with singing the Salve Regina, which reminded us of our dedication, devotion and filial affection to Mary, a woman of silence and prayer, Mother of Mercy, Mother of Hope and Grace, and Mother of all Carmelites.

Canadian Carmelites Annual Gathering at Little Flower Monastery

Carmel Hill, Deroche, BC
September 18-20, 2017

Our Provincial Superior, Rev. Fr. Charles Serrao arrived on 12th of September and visited all our communities in the Eastern region of Canada till 17th of September. The first annual gathering of all the friars in the Canada region in this triennium was held from 18th to 20th September at Little Flower Monastery – Carmel Hill, Deroche, Vancouver. The first day began with the Holy Eucharistic celebration with the participation of the Secular Carmelites. Two Secular Carmelite candidates pronounced their definitive promises and one was accepted into Secular Carmelite community. After the Solemn Eucharistic Celebration the newly installed Stations of the Cross were blessed by Rev. Fr. Provincial, while Fr. Rudolf V. D’Souza cut the ribbon and declared the Stations of the Cross open to public.


Lower Mainland OCDS Ceremonies

Carmel Hill, Deroche, BC
September 18, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017 was a most memorable day for the Lower Mainland OCDS Communities who celebrated their ceremonies at Little Flower Monastery for the first time.

The day started with Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Provincial Charles Serrao and concelebrated by the friars of the Canada Region including Fr. Rudolf D’Souza, Fr. Jerald D’Souza, Fr. John Pinto and Fr. Ranjan D’Sa who were all present for their curia meeting. Mass was offered for the repose of the soul of Felicia D’Sa, Fr. Ranjan’s mother.

Fr. Provincial officiated the clothing and promises of the candidates. Luc Bengono of St. Teresa of Jesus Community was clothed with his scapular; Virginia Concon of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Community and Jessie Wong of St. Teresa of Jesus Community made their Definitive Promises.

Fr. Provincial’s message was simple and clear: Like the roots that keep up a tree, in Carmel, our relationship with God and others in faith keeps us stronger.

After Mass, everyone proceeded up the hill to witness the inauguration and blessing by Fr. Provincial of the newly completed Stations of the Cross. The event concluded perfectly with a delightful buffet lunch shared by the friars and the seculars. It was a joyful and jubilant Carmelite family celebration! To borrow an expression of Fr. Provincial when he praised Fr. Rudolf for his accomplishments, most of us seculars were filled with “holy jealousy” of our candidates for such a blessed day with all the friars in attendance.

Thanks go to Fr. Jerald D’Souza, our Provincial Delegate, for orchestrating and making the occasion so special.

The BC Catholic reported on the event:

“DEROCHE, B.C.—Carmelite priests living east of Mission are hoping their new Stations of the Cross trail is deepening the faith of pilgrims and retreatants visiting their monastery. ”  Read more

Click here for photos    Virtual tour: Carmel Hill

Annual Silent Retreat at Carmel Hill

Carmel Hill, Deroche, BC
Aug 4-6 and Aug 11-13, 2017

The Secular Discalced Carmelites of the Lower Mainland held their Annual Retreat at Little Flower Monastery, Carmel Hill, located in the beautiful country side of the Fraser Valley. The retreats were held over the first two weekends of August 2017. Fr. Alexander Braganza, OCD, newly-appointed Superior of the Monastery, was the Retreat Master. The weekend provided all with an opportunity of silence and prayer.

Fr. Alex began the retreat with a reflection on three important things: “ (1) What we are seeking (2) Where and how deep is our thirst and hunger for God, and (3) What is going on in our lives?”

The talks during the retreat aimed to build and strengthen the spiritual life. Among the topics were discipleship, prayer and the stumbling blocks in our spiritual life.

Being a true disciple is not concerned with the spiritual gifts, but willing to stand at the foot of the Cross of Jesus. How much one is committed to Jesus and how much one is willing to give one’s life for Him. He cited the Blessed Virgin Mary as a good example of a true disciple. She walked by faith, not by sight, committing her life with Jesus in his passion, death, and resurrection.

Fr. Alex livened the retreat with his humorous stories and expressions. When silence broke, members had time for fellowship over lunch before heading home after another enriching, faith-filled retreat.

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Stations of the Cross at Carmel Hill

Carmel Hill, Deroche, BC
July 29, 2017

The Little Flower Monastery now has an outdoor Stations of the Cross along a trail more than a kilometer up a mountain behind the monastery. The inauguration celebration will be led by Fr. Charles Serrao, the Provincial, when he makes his pastoral visitation in September of this year.

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Mount Carmel Spirituality Centre

1225 Township Rd 535
Parkland County, AB
July 20, 2017
(Excerpts from an article by Andrew Ehrkamp)

Ephphatha House has new owners and a new name, but its mission will be the same.

The Carmelites have taken charge of the spirituality and retreat centre, about 15 kilometres northwest of Stony Plain, and renamed it the Mount Carmel Spirituality Centre. They will still focus on prayer, spirituality, meditation, and silent and directed retreats.

“We’re really excited to be involved this institution,” said Father Rudolf D’Souza, the regional superior for the Order of Discalced Carmelites of Western Canada. “Even though the name has changed, nothing else has changed. It will be a Christian spirituality combined with Carmelite spirituality.”

The Mount Carmel Spirituality Centre includes a chapel, a main hall and roughly 30 cabins on the 32-hectare grounds. On July 20 it was inaugurated by Auxiliary Bishop Gregory Bittman and Carmelite priests from Western Canada, India, and Ontario.

“It’s overwhelming,” said Father Mario Fernandes, the new director of the centre. “Our main goal is to bring God to the people especially through our way of living, especially through meditation, contemplation and also teaching people how to pray.”

Fernandes said the Carmelites are focused on quiet contemplation, which makes the centre a perfect fit.

“We are living in a very materialistic world, and there’s so much noise pollution, so we wanted to come into a very remote area so people can have stillness and have God in their lives.”

Father Raymond Guimond, the founder and former director of Ephphatha House, said the need for such a facility is even greater than when it opened 27 years ago.

“People need a deeper spirituality and to develop a prayer life, and the Carmelites now can help people to develop that. The Carmelites can do much more than ever. They’re continuing a similar mission.”

Auxiliary Bishop Gregory Bittman agreed, noting the “deep spirituality” and community involvement of the Carmelites. “I think it’s fantastic. I think they have something great to bring to the Archdiocese. It’s something ancient but brand new.”

The Carmelites have big plans to renovate the centre. They have already spent about $45,000 upgrading, and D’Souza said they plan to spend about $50,000 more, including building a separate monastery on the grounds.

“It’s part of the future of the Carmelites in Canada to increase the number of local vocations, build new monasteries and spread the good news of Christ,” D’Souza said, noting that in October 2015, they opened the Little Flower Monastery in Vancouver.

There will be some changes to programs at Mount Carmel, but it will “have same mission and spirit of Father Raymond, with a focus on Christian spirituality, training and prayer,” D’Souza said.

Click here for videoclip on Facebook

Carmelites in the Lower Mainland Celebrate Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

St. Edmund’s Parish
North Vancouver, BC
July 15, 2017

The Carmelite friars and Secular Carmelites of Western Canada in the Lower Mainland gathered to celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Saturday July 15th at St. Edmund’s Church in North Vancouver. The Most Reverend Joseph Nguyen, Bishop of Kamloops, celebrated Mass, which was concelebrated by Carmelite friars Fr. Rudy D’Souza, Fr. Jerald D’Souza, Fr. Steny Mascarenhas, Fr. Alex Braganza, and Fr. Vincent D’Souza, Fr. Rajesh Madtha, Fr. Alwyn Sequeira.  Fr. James Comey and Fr. Vincent Hawkswell also concelebrated.

In his homily, Bishop Nguyen reflected that the Blessed Mother in the Gospel for the day is not the typical Mary of the nativity scene, but rather the Mother who stood beside the cross of her beloved Son. This same Mary is beside us in our sufferings and in the sufferings of our brothers and sisters.

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Annual Curia Meeting, Western Canada OCDS

Seton House of Prayer
Kelowna, BC
July 7-9, 2017

The Annual Meeting of Western Canada OCDS took place on July 7-9, 2017 at St. Elizabeth Seton House of Prayer in Kelowna, British Columbia. Fr. Jerald D’Souza, Provincial Delegate, met with Secretariat Officers, Community Presidents and Directors of Formation. Fr. Jerald D’Souza introduced and welcomed Norma Lo as administrative assistant to the Secretariat.

After prayers, Mass and a simple evening meal, those in attendance settled in and got to the business at hand. Annual community and financial reports were presented from all quarters at the first session with further discussions on challenges, possible solutions, goal setting and the formation syllabi the following day. The key topic on the agenda was the review of a draft for the Western Canada OCDS Statutes to ensure these would encompass and provide comprehensive guidelines to uphold the OCDS Constitutions. During the afternoon break, some members elected to visit the fruit stores and wineries for which the area is well known. Upon reconvening, all the agenda items were completed and the evening was left free for a leisurely dinner and recreation.

The final day of the meeting concluded with prayers and Sunday Eucharistic celebration followed by a hearty breakfast. It was determined that the next meeting would take place at Carmel Hill, on July 6-8, 2018.

Click here for photos.

Inauguration of Mount Carmel Spirituality Centre

July 20, 2017

The Discalced Carmelite Friars of the Karnataka-Goa Province Canadian Carmelite Community have invited Edmonton’s Auxiliary Bishop, Most Reverend Gregory J. Bittman to preside in the Solemn Eucharistic Celebration at the inauguration of the new spirituality centre.  The new centre is located at 1225 Township Road 535 Parkland County in Alberta.

Fr. Rudy D’Souza the Regional Superior for Canada will be there along with Fr. Mario Fernandes, who will head the new centre, and Fr. Raymond Guimond.

A reception will follow the event.

Click here for videoclip

Letter to the Secular Carmel

June 4, 2017

The Discalced Carmelite Superior General, Fr. Saverio Cannistra, wrote a letter to the Secular Carmelites on the anniversary of the liturgical feast of Pentecost:

“Greetings and joy and peace in the Lord!

In the letter I sent you last year, I reminded you of some essential areas for the life of the OCDS, in response to your suggestions and expectations to the chapter on the occasion of the General Chapter in 2015. This year, … I would like to offer for your consideration, the issue in which the Church is asking everyone to make a greater effort: the mission of evangelizing, of being a ‘Church which goes forth’, a sign of the joy of the Gospel. “How I long to find the right words to stir up enthusiasm for a new chapter of evangelization full of fervor, joy, generosity, courage, boundless love and attraction!” (Pope Francis, Evangelium Gaudium (EG) 261). Words which I make my own!”

To read more (click link).

Election of Provincial Superior
Karnataka-Goa Province of Discalced Carmelites

April 28, 2017

The 13th Provincial Chapter of the Discalced Carmelite Friars of the Karnataka-Goa Province has re-elected Rev. Fr Charles Serrao as Provincial Superior for 2017 – 2020.  Fr. Charles has been Provincial Superior since 2014.

The Karnataka-Goa Province comprises the civil states of Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat, with a mission in Tanzania and communities in Italy, South Africa and Canada. The friars also serve in dioceses and other Carmelite Provinces around the world. There are currently 190 friars and 109 students in formation.

Living Flame

April 25, 2017

Living Flame is a Catholic podcast on Carmelite Spirituality and Catholic Theology hosted by Fr. Rudolf D’Souza, pastor of Guardian Angels parish in Vancouver, BC.  It contains daily Gospel reflections, homilies, and meditation and prayer reflections, available in various social media applications (YouTube, Facebook and a new media app on iTunes).

Saints Louis & Zelie Martin:
The Little Things, and the Hard Things, With Much Love

Webinar on December 12, 2015

“Saints Louis and Zelie Martin went through many trials in their life, but God always strengthened their faith to bring them much peace and joy. They are an inspiration to us, no matter what our vocation may be.”

This webinar was sponsored by the Carmelite Institute of North America.  Link to the webinar is available in our Links webpage.

Click here to view

OCDS Admission Ceremony

St. Thomas More Parish, Calgary, AB
October 25, 2015

Bernadette Hart with Fr. John Pinto, OCD and Leslie Blair, OCDS

OCDS Investiture and Profession Ceremonies

St. Thomas More Parish, Calgary, AB
October 10, 2015

Carmel and Jane Gatt, Louise Adams and Ann wilson, OCDS with Fr. Provincial, Fr. John Pinto, and Fr. Godwin Pinto, and Leslie Blair

OCDS Investiture and Profession Ceremonies

St. Edmund’s Parish, North Vancouver, BC
October 24, 2015

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V Centenary of the Birth of Saint Teresa of Jesus

St. Edmund’s Parish, North Vancouver, BC
October 17, 2015IMG_2916 (1)

20151017_102724_001_resized (3) (1)
The Secular Carmelites of Western Canada celebrated the close of V Centenary of St. Teresa of Jesus, Reformer and Founder of the Order of Discalced Carmelites.

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Click to view skit about The Life of St. Teresa of Avila

Inauguration of Little Flower Monastery

Carmel Hill, Deroche, BC
October 15, 2015


BC Catholic article on inauguration
Little Flower_Souvenir Program
See Video Clip

2015 Annual Secular Carmelite Retreat
Know Thyself: From the Spiritual Life of St. Teresa of Avila

Westminster Abbey, Mission, BC
August 7-9, 2015
DSC01732In August 2015, the Lower Mainland Secular Carmelite communities and guests held their annual silent retreat at Westminster Abbey in Mission, with Fr. Steny Mascarenhas as Retreat Master.

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Annual Silent Retreat

Mt. St. Francis Retreat Centre, Cochrane, AB
May 2015
Calgary community

In May, 2015, the St Joseph OCDS Community and guests held their annual silent retreat at Mt St Francis Retreat Centre in Cochrane, AB, with Fr. Jerald D’Souza as Retreat Master.

Papal Medal

The medal for the third year of the Papacy of Francis will bear the image of Saint Teresa June 30, 2015 (Communicationes).- On June 29th, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the commemorative medal for the third year of his papacy was presented to Pope Francis. By the express request of the Pope, the medal was not minted with his portrait on its reverse, but with the portrait Saint Teresa of Jesus instead. This decision is yet another gesture of Pope Francis on the 5th Centenary of the Birth of
Saint Teresa of Jesus.

The Father General, Saverio Cannistrà, on being made aware of the news, addressed a personal letter to the Holy Father thanking him for this gesture to Holy Mother Teresa, one among many signs of appreciation that Pope Francis has directed to the Teresian Carmel during his papacy.

Fr. Saverio Cannistrà re-elected Superior General

The General Chapter has re-elected as Superior General our brother Saverio Cannistrà, who was elected General in April 2009 in Fatima and now has been reelected again to guide our Order and accompany us on our way for another six years.

We recall that Fr Saverio (Antonio Gennaro) Cannistrà of the Sacred Heart was born in the Calabrian city of Catanzaro on 3rd October 1958. He studied philology at the Scuola Normale and later worked for Einaudi.

He entered the novitiate of the Italian Province of Tuscany in the Order of Discalced Carmelites in 1985 and made his simple profession on September 17, 1986. He made his solemn profession in 1990 and was ordained a priest on October 24, 1992.

Doctor in Dogmatic Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, Saverio Cannistrà is a member of the Italian Theological Conference (northern area) and has participated in numerous conferences of the Order.

Knowing several languages, he has taught at the Faculty of Theology of the Teresianum of Rome and in the Faculty of Theology of Central Italy in Florence.

We ask your prayers for our brother Fr Saverio and ask St. Teresa of Jesus from heaven to continue guiding our family along the paths that lead to God and that beside her, all of us show with our life that “God alone sufficeth”.

Message from Pope Francis to the Discalced Carmelite Order

To the Reverend Father Saverio Cannistrà

Superior General of the Order of Discalced Brothers
of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel

Dear Brother:

On the 500th anniversary of the birth of Saint Teresa of Jesus, I wish to unite myself, together with the entire Church, to the great family of the Discalced Carmel –religious women and men and seculars– in their act of thanksgiving for the charism of this exceptional woman.

I consider it a providential grace that this anniversary coincides with the Year of Consecrated Life, in which the Saint from Ávila shines like a sure beacon and role model of total surrender to God. It is yet another reason to look on the past with gratitude and rediscover “the inspiring spark” that has driven founders and their first communities (cf. Apostolic Letter to All Consecrated People, November 21, 2014).

How beneficial to us is, even to this day, the testimony of her consecration, born from a direct encounter with Christ, her experience of prayer as a continual dialog with God, her life in community grounded in the maternity of the Church!

1. Saint Teresa is above all a teacher of prayer. The discovery of the humanity of Christ was central to her experience. Moved by the desire to share this personal experience with others, she writes about it in a vital and uncomplicated style, accessible to everyone, because it consists simply in “an intimate sharing between friends….with Him who we know loves us” (Life 8, 5).

Many times that same phrase becomes a plea, as if wishing to draw the reader into her interior dialog with Christ. Teresa’s prayer was not reserved for any single moment or part of the day; it sprang spontaneously during the most varied circumstances: “It would be a hard thing to bear if we were able to pray only when off in some corner” (Foundations 5, 16). She was convinced of the value of continual prayer, even if it were not always perfect. La Santa asks us to faithfully persevere, even in the midst of dryness, personal difficulties, or urgent needs that claim us. 

To renew consecrated life today, Teresa has left us a great treasure full of concrete proposals, ways and methods to pray, that, far from closing us off into ourselves or merely providing a path to seek inner balance, makes us begin over again, always from Jesus as a starting point. It is an authentic school in growth of love of God and neighbor.

2. As a result of her encounter with Jesus Christ, Saint Teresa lived “another life” (cf. Life 23, 1). Wishing to serve the Church, and in view of the grave problems of her day, she did not limit herself to simply observing the reality that surrounded her. From her circumstances as a woman and with the limitations of her health, she says: “I resolved to do the little that was in my power; that is, to follow the evangelic counsels as perfectly as I could and strive that these few persons who live here do the same” (Way 1, 2). That is why she began the Teresian reform, in which she asked her sisters not to waste time “discussing with God matters that have little importance” when the “world is all in flames” (Way 1, 5). This missionary and ecclesial dimension has always characterized the Discalced Carmel.

As she did then, so also today la Santa opens up new horizons for us, calls us to a great endeavor, to see the world with the eyes of Christ, to seek what He seeks and love what He loves.

3. Saint Teresa knew that neither prayer nor mission could be sustained without authentic community life. For this reason, the foundation of the monasteries she created was fraternity: there, “all must be friends, all must be loved, all must be held dear, all must be helped” (Way 4, 7). She placed great importance on warning her religious about the dangers of self-concern in fraternal life, which properly “lies in losing concern about ourselves and our own satisfaction” (Way 12, 2) and placing ourselves entirely at the service of others. To avoid this risk, the Saint from Ávila exhorts her sisters, above all, to practice the virtue of humility, which is neither to belittle oneself exteriorly nor interiorly shrink the soul, but for each to know what one can do and what God can do in her (cf. Spiritual Testimonies 30). The opposite is what she calls “accursed honor” (Life 31, 23), source of gossip, jealousy, and criticism that seriously harms relationships with others. Teresian humility is made of the stuff of self acceptance, awareness of ones’ own dignity, missionary courage, gratitude, and abandonment in God. 

From these noble roots, Teresian communities are called to become houses of communion that witness to fraternal love and the maternity of the Church, presenting to the Lord the needs of our world torn by division and war.

Dear brother, I do not want to end without thanking the Teresian Carmels that entrust the Holy Father with special tenderness to the patronage of the Virgin of Carmel, and who accompany with their prayer the great challenges and threats the Church faces. I ask our Lord that the example of his life, like that of Saint Teresa, translucent in the joy and beauty of living the Gospel, may call many young people to follow Christ closely

I impart my Apostolic Blessing on all the Teresian family.

From the Vatican, March 28, 2015


The Little Flower Formation House – Blessing of Construction Site

The blessing of the construction site of the Little Flower Formation House and Spirituality Centre was officiated by Fr. Rudolf V. D’Souza on the morning of February 24th.  It was also Fr. D’Souza’s 28th anniversary of priestly ordination. Steve Paone, chief Managing Director of the Alfred Horie Construction Company, oversaw the start of construction with the uprooting of approximately 100 trees at the site.  In attendance were members from St. Edmond’s Parish, and Secular Carmelites Molly Dias, Susan and Larry Hauck, Marilyn Cunada, and Alice Arce among others. Staff from Guardian Angels Parish, Riz, Oscar and Heidi, attended along with Francis Wong, Stewart Hayashi, and representatives from the First Nations Community. Helen Chua Tiampo, the project’s major benefactor, announced that completion of construction will be in time for the formation house’s inauguration on October 15th, the V Centenary of St. Teresa of Avila. Fr. D’Souza expressed thanks to all those present including Fr. Steny Mascarenhas and Bro. Josef Giroux for their help in the preparations leading to the event, and to Darrel Wickstrom, Jim Leith and Steve Creighton for their support and advise.

Click to view photos

The Holy See


From the Vatican, 15 October 2014

To Bishop Jesús García Burillo of Ávila

Dear Brother,

On 28 March 1515 in Ávila, a baby was born who in time would become known as St Teresa of Jesus. As the fifth centenary of her birth approaches, I turn my gaze to that city to give thanks to God for the gift of this great woman and to encourage the faithful of the beloved Diocese of Ávila and all the people of Spain to learn the history of this distinguished Foundress, as well as to read her books which, along with her daughters in the numerous Carmelite convents scattered throughout the world, continue to tell us who and how Mother Teresa was and what she can teach us men and women of today.
At the school of the saintly traveller, we learn how to be pilgrims. The image of a path can very well summarize the lesson of her life and her work. Teresa understood life as a way of perfection, along which God leads man, from task to task, up to Him and, at the same time, puts him on a journey toward mankind. Along which paths does the Lord wish to lead us, following in the footsteps of St Teresa who takes us by the hand? I would like to recall four that do me much good: those of joy, of prayer, of fraternity and of time itself.

At the school of the saintly traveller, we learn how to be pilgrims. The image of a path can very well summarize the lesson of her life and her work. Teresa understood life as a way of perfection, along which God leads man, from task to task, up to Him and, at the same time, puts him on a journey toward mankind. Along which paths does the Lord wish to lead us, following in the footsteps of St Teresa who takes us by the hand? I would like to recall four that do me much good: those of joy, of prayer, of fraternity and of time itself.

Teresa of Jesus asks her Sisters to “go cheerfully about whatever services you are ordered to do” (The Way of Perfection 18, 5). True holiness is a joy, for “an unhappy saint is a pitiful saint”. Saints, before being courageous heroes, are the fruit of God’s grace to mankind. Every saint shows us a feature of the multifaceted face of God. In St Teresa we contemplate God, who, being the “sovereign Lord, of majesty supreme” (Poems 2), reveals himself close and a companion and feels joy conversing with men: God becomes joyful with us. And feeling his love, a contagious and unconcealable joy was born in the Saint that she radiated around her. This joy is a journey that must be followed throughout life. It is not instantaneous, superficial, tumultuous. It must already be sought by “at the beginning” (Life 13, 1). Express the inner joy of the soul, it is humble and “modest” (cf. The Book of Foundations 12, 1). It is not reached by an easy shortcut that bypasses sacrifice, suffering or the cross, but is found by enduring labour and pain (cf. Life 6, 2; 30, 8), looking to the Crucifix and seeking the Risen One (cf. The Way of Perfection 26, 4). For this reason St Teresa’s joy is neither selfish nor self-referential. Like that of heaven, it consists in the “joy in the rejoicings of all” (The Way of Perfection 30, 5), placing oneself at the service of others with unselfish love. As she told one of her monasteries in difficulty, the Saint would also tell us today, especially the young: “Do not stop going cheerfully about!” (Letter 284, 4). The Gospel is not a bag of lead which one drags arduously, but a font of joy which fills the heart with God and impels it to serve one’s brothers!

The Saint also travelled the path of prayer, which she beautifully defined as “being on terms of friendship with God, frequently conversing in secret with Him who, we know, loves us” (Life 8, 5). When times are “difficult”, “the friends of God should be strong” in order to support the weak (Life 15, 5). To pray is not a means of escape, nor even to place oneself in a bubble or to isolate oneself, but to go forward in a friendship; and the more this friendship grows, the more one comes into contact with the Lord, the “true Friend” and faithful “companion” on the journey, with whom “everything can be borne”, because, always, “He helps, He strengthens, He never fails” (Life 22, 9). In order to pray, “it is not so essential to think much as to love much” (Interior Castle IV, 1, 7), in turning one’s eyes in order to look at those who do not fail to look lovingly at us and to patiently support us (cf. The Way of Perfection 26, 3-4). God is able to lead souls to himself through many roads, but prayer is “a safe way” (Life 13, 19). Leaving it means getting lost (cf. Life 19, 6). This counsel of the Saint is of perennial relevance. Thus, go forth along the path of prayer, with determination, without stopping, until the end! This applies particularly to all religious who are committed to consecrated life. In a culture of the provisional, you live the faith of “for ever, ever, ever” (Life 1, 4); in a world without hope, you demonstrate the fruitfulness of a “heart with love fast bound” (Poems 5); and in a society with so many idols, you witness that “God alone suffices” (Poems 9).

We cannot undertake this journey alone, but together. For the reformer Saint, the path of prayer passes by the way of fraternity in the bosom of the Mother Church. Her providential response to this, born of divine inspiration and of her feminine intuition, to the problems of the Church and of the society of her time was to: to establish small communities of women who, by imitating the “Apostolic College”, followed Christ, living the Gospel in a simple way and supporting all the
Church with a life made prayer. For this reason “sisters”, were “brought here” (The Way of Perfection 8, 1) and this was the promise: “that Christ would be in the midst of us; (Life 32, 14). What a beautiful definition of fraternity in the Church: to journey together with Christ as brothers! To this end, Teresa of Jesus does not recommend many things to us, only three: love for each other, detachment from everything, and to have true humility, “which, although I put it last, is themost important of the three and embraces all the rest” (The Way of Perfection 4, 4). In these times, how I should like there to be more fraternal Christian communities where one makes this journey: going forth in the truth of the humility that frees us from ourselves in order to love others more and better, above all the poor! There is nothing more beautiful than to live and die as children of this Mother Church!

Precisely because she is mother with open doors, the Church is always on the way toward men to lead them to the “living water” (cf. Jn 4:10) that irrigates the garden of their thirsty heart. The holy writer and master of prayer was, at the same time, Foundress and missionary on the streets of Spain. Her mystic experience did not separate her from the world nor from the concerns of the people. On the contrary, it gave her new impetus and courage for daily work and duties, because
“the Lord goes along with you” even “amidst the pots and pans” (The Book of the Foundations 5, 8). She experienced the difficulties of her time — which was so complicated — without giving in to the temptation to bitter complaining, but rather, accepting it in faith as an opportunity to take a step forward on the journey. For “at all times God is ever ready to bestow good favours upon those who serve him in earnest” (The Book of the Foundations 4, 5). Today Teresa tells us: pray more in order to truly understand what is happening around you and thus to act better. Prayer conquers pessimism and generates good initiatives (cf. Interior Castle VII 4, 6). This is Teresian realism, which requires work instead of emotions, and love instead of dreams; the realism of humble love in the face of anxious asceticism! At times the Saint shortens her pleasant letters saying: “We are on the path” (Letter 469, 7.9), to express the urgency of continuing the task begun until the end. When the world is aflame, one cannot waste time on affairs of little importance. If only everyone were infected by this holy haste to go out to journey along the paths of our time, with the Gospel in hand and the Spirit in the heart!

“It is time to walk!” (Anna de san Bartolomeo, Últimas acciones de la vida de santa Teresa). These were the words St Teresa of Ávila said shortly before her death, which summarize her life and become for us, especially for the Carmelite Family, for her fellow citizens and for all the people of Spain, a precious legacy to be treasured and enriched.

Dear Brother, with my cordial greeting, I say to all: “It is time to walk”, to set out on the paths of joy, of prayer, of fraternity, of time lived as grace! Let us be taken by the hand of St Teresa as we go through the journey of life. May her footsteps always lead us to Jesus.

I ask you, please, to pray for me, for I need it. May Jesus bless you and may the Virgin Mary protect you!


©   Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana


ONE Conference 2015

February 14, 2015




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Farewell to a great soul – Lourdes Torroba OCDS

August 3, 1934 – February 8, 2015


The Secular Carmelites of Western Canada OCDS mourned the loss of one of their own, their sister in Carmel Lourdes Torroba OCDS, a founding member and pillar of our Lower Mainland communities.

A nurse by profession, Lourdes was very instrumental in the foundation of the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order in the Lower Mainland, British Columbia. Lourdes went to the Lord on February 8, 2015 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. She is survived by her spouse, Greg Torroba OCDS, her son Maximo, his spouse Dawn and grandchildren James and Sophia.

In May 1994, through the encouragement of an OC nun who told her that her spirituality was that of the Discalced Carmelites, she made her first contact with Fr. David Centner OCD and Dr. Maria Orallo OCDS of the California-Arizona Province. With the assistance of Dr. Orallo, the first community in the Lower Mainland was established. This was the Community of St. Teresa of Jesus in Richmond where Lourdes resided. Thanks to her initiative, St. Teresa of Jesus Community has since blossomed into three Lower Mainland communities and continues to grow. Lourdes was passionate about the OCDS and strived to live the charism of Camel to the fullest. Her favourite words were “patience and obedience” and that she was. Her biggest and dearest wish was to have the presence of Discalced Carmelite friars in Western Canada. She worked on this so quietly and discreetly that even Greg, her spouse, was unaware of her many emails and correspondence towards this goal.

Her wish came to fruition in July 2003 with the arrival of our friars, Fr. Jerald D’Souza OCD and Fr. Mario Fernandes OCD of our Karnataka-Goa Province. On May 15, 2008 the General Definitory conceded the Canadian Civil Provinces of British-Columbia and Alberta to the Carmelite Province of Karnataka-Goa (India) and in a decree it was declared that the convents of our Carmelite Nuns and the Secular Carmelite properties under their jurisdiction. This marked the beginning of the Western Canada OCDS with Fr. Jerald D’Souza as Provincial Delegate and today we are blessed with fourteen OCD friars under the Canadian Carmelite Community and Fr. Rudolf D’Souza OCD as Regional Superior.

“May the choirs of angels come to greet you.
May they speed you to Paradise.
May the Lord enfold you in His mercy.
May you have eternal life.”


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Click for photos of Lourdes Torroba and the OCDS Communities

Father Provincial meets Carmelite Friars in Canada

St. Edmund’s Parish
North Vancouver, BC on October 27, 2014

The Secular Carmelites were pleased to make a presence at the opening Mass of the Regional Meeting of the Discalced Carmelites of the Kanataka-Goa Province in Canada which was held on October 27-28, 2014 at St. Edmund’s Parish, North Vancouver, B.C. Mass on the evening of October 27th was officiated by Very Rev. Fr. Provincial Charles Serrao and concelebrated by sixteen Carmelite friars of Canada. The Secular Carmelite Choir sung at Mass accompanied by the parish organist.

Fr. Rudolf D’Souza gave a spirited homily, expanding on the Reading of the day, St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. ….Be imitators of God, as beloved children and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” He related a story of a hunchback king who had a statue of himself made with a straight posture. Every morning, he would look at the statue and straighten himself up so that he ultimately regained an upright posture. Like the king in the story, the purpose of their meeting is to straighten and examine themselves. “We are to be like the king! We are to stand at the Cross of Jesus everyday and be transformed until we become like Him”.

After the Mass, Fr. Jerald D’Souza officially welcomed the friars and presented each with a long-stemmed rose.

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Profession Ceremonies and Meeting with the Provincial and Lower Mainland Communities

St. Edmund’s Parish
North Vancouver, BC on October 25, 2014


Another two memorable days for the Secular Carmelites of the Lower Mainland Vancouver area occurred on October 18 and October 25, 2014.

On October 18th before the celebration of the Mass, with Fr. Jerry D’Souza officiating, we witnessed the investiture of three aspirants.

On Saturday, October 25th, the weather forecast predicted a cold, rainy Saturday, but this did not dampen the spirits of the Secular Carmelites as they walked into a warm and brightly lit St. Edmund’s Church for Mass and Profession ceremonies officiated by Father Provincial Charles Serrao and Provincial Delegate to the OCDS, Fr. Jerald D’Souza. Five candidates made their First Promises and two candidates made their Definitive Promises.

It was a delightful first ‘meeting’ with Fr. Charles, who immediately captured our hearts when he spoke of Mary’s complete trust, faith and love for God, and charity and service to neighbor. In his introduction to Father Provincial, Fr. Jerry spoke of their early acquaintance from his childhood, as both our Provincial’s and Fr. Jerry’s families were neighbors. He also gave an inkling of Father Provincial’s enormous responsibilities and the extent of his travelling requirements, and yet he remains simple, humble, and approachable and focused on what is essential.

Molly Diaz, President of the Secretariat, welcomed Father Provincial on behalf of the OCDS members and expressed everyone’s great appreciation for his presence. As well, she conveyed the Secular Carmelites’ gratitude and appreciation to Fr. Jerry for his love and service to the OCDS. Everyone enjoyed the potluck brunch with the ever ready assistance of the ladies of the Catholic Women’s League.

To everyone’s delight, Father Provincial spent the rest of the morning sharing his experience in Rome and responding to questions. We look forward to his 2015 visit for the 5th Centenary celebrations of St. Teresa of Avila and the inauguration of the Little Flower Formation House.

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Annual Meeting of Western Canada OCDS

Seton House of Prayer
Kelowna, BC on August 22-24, 2014

The 5th Annual Meeting of Western Canada took place over the weekend of August 22 to 24, 2014 at the Seton House of Prayer, Kelowna, BC. Rev. Fr, Jerald D’Souza OCD, Provincial Delegate, met with Officers of the Secretariat, Community Presidents and Directors of Formation.

The weekend commenced on Friday with Evening Prayer and Mass in the Chapel on the hill overlooking the 160-acre retreat centre. After dinner, the meeting convened during which the reports and business matters were dealt with leaving the following day free for a formation workshop and open forum on challenges and resolutions. Amendments and revisions were made to the monthly community meeting formats and the formation syllabi as well as clarification on community matters. A committee was formed to spearhead the 5th Centennial Birth of St. Teresa. The meeting concluded with dinner and recreation and was adjourned to October 16, 2015 at St. Edmund’s Parish, North Vancouver.

Sunday was made available to the Community of St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes, Vernon for their ceremonies and meeting with the Provincial Delegate.

We thank the management and operation staff of Seton House for their extended hospitality and delicious fare.

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Annual OCDS Retreat: “Colegio de Cristo”

Westminster Abbey
Mission, BC on August 8-10, 2014

More than 40 Secular Carmelites of the Lower Mainland Communities, British Columbia, came together on August 8 to 10, 2014 for the Annual Retreat at Westminster Abbey in Mission, BC. The theme was “Colegio de Cristo” (College of Christ), led by Rev. Fr. Jerald D’Souza, Provincial Delegate for OCDS of Western Canada.

The theme, one that examined community life and prayer life, was also this year’s theme of the XII Provincial Chapter of our Karnataka-Goa Province in India.

Fr. D’Souza’s passion and knowledge about the Secular Carmelite way of life was enthusiastic and very engaging. In his talks, he described the community life at St. Teresa de Avila’s Incarnation Convent before the reform and the salient features of Teresian Community. The community, the “small college of Christ”, is a product of divine grace. Its origin is from God. We are called to silence and our actions should convince others to holiness. Our way of life should inspire others to become good Catholics. The Secular Carmelite community life must be of humility, love and service.

Each day of the retreat was centered around the liturgy as the Secular Carmelites celebrated Mass and joined in prayer. There was joy in being together for the weekend retreat, but most inspiring were the words of guidance from our Provincial Delegate and the vision of Teresian community life he inspired all to achieve.

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Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

North Vancouver, BC on July 16, 2014

The Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was preceded by a nine-day novena to our Heavenly Mother and Patroness at St. Edmund’s Church, North Vancouver. The novena was notably well received and attended by parishioners of St. Edmund’s, Secular Carmelites and devotees as evidenced by the increase in numbers this year. On July 16, 2014 at 7:00 p.m., a solemn Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Bishop Stephen Jensen of Prince George and concelebrated by our Carmelite friars, Regional Superior Fr. Rudolf D’Souza, Fr. Jerald D’Souza, Fr. Godwin Pinto, Fr. Stany Mascarenhas and several priests of the Archdiocese including Monsignor Pedro Lopez-Gallo. The church was filled to capacity with standing room only. The celebration was thoughtfully and artfully orchestrated by Fr. Jerald in minute detail down to the Knights of Columbus in their fine regalia, the selection of the songs by the choir and his duet of the Flos Carmeli. In his homily, Bishop Jensen spoke of the role Mary plays in our lives as our model, our protector and our teacher, and like the Prophet Elijah and the hermits we should place ourselves under her protection and follow her example as she stood at the foot of the Cross. Bishop Jensen, a native of North Vancouver, was warmly welcomed, particularly by those who recalled his early days there. The celebration culminated with the blessing of scapulars which were distributed as everyone proceeded to the hall to partake of the beautifully displayed repast prepared by the Catholic Women’s League and volunteers.

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Secular Carmelite Retreat

Cochrane, Alberta on May 23-25, 2014

What a beautiful weekend it was, as our community gathered at Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre in Cochrane, Alberta for a weekend of intimate communion with Our Lord. Fr. Ranjan D’Sa OCD was the retreat master, and we are grateful to God for feeding us with His Holy Spirit through Fr. Ranjan’s discourse on scripture and Carmelite spirituality. We were challenged to ponder the question,“Why are you a Carmelite?” For many of us, it is very encouraging to know that not all vocations are revealed or received with absolute clarity. It is often more obvious to onlookers than to the recipient of the call. Fr. Ranjan shared many anecdotes and scriptural references to help us appreciate the breadth and scope of the path to Mount Carmel. The photograph includes both members and non-members who participated in the retreat. Many thanks to all who helped make this weekend a success. 


Two Popes, Two Saints: A canonization event

Vancouver, BC on April 27, 2014

Nine Thousand Catholics streamed into Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum on April 27, 2014 to mark an iconic event in the Church’s history: The canonization of two Popes on the same day.

The canonization was solemnized 12 hours earlier in Rome by His Holiness Pope Francis and the Archdiocese of Vancouver orchestrated a celebration to mark this history-making event. The event began with a procession of representatives from sixty parishes and numerous religious organizations including our Discalced Carmelite Secular Order. This was followed by the singing of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, one of Pope St. John Paul II’s favourite devotional prayers, led by a choir of 85 from seven parishes.

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, presided over a solemn Mass con-celebrated by many Diocesan priests and also of notable presence were con-celebrants Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, Eparch Ken Nowakowski of New Westminster and Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Ti Kang of Taipei. After Mass, everyone was invited to visit the display of first and second class relics of the two Saints. 

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