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A balanced life
Solitude within Community
When St. Teresa was inspired to reform the Carmelite Order in the sixteenth century, she looked back to the original Carmelites who lived as hermits on Mount Carmel, and she created small praying communities of hermits with a new vision - everything was to be at the service of the Church. To this day, we try to follow her ideal. We still refer to our individual room as our "cell" - to remind us of the hermit cells on Mount Carmel. Over the years, solitude and silence become needs of the heart. They heighten our awareness, slow us down, teach us interiority. They awaken our hearts to beauty and the healing harmonies of Nature. Mary of Nazareth is very near in this hidden side of Carmel. Enclosure and solitude does not insulate us from reality. It is not an escape, but a sacred space of encounter.
And yet, Carmelites don't come ready made! We are on a journey, a pilgrimage, and we need the shared goal and mutual support of each other along the way. Community life bonds us together, and brings a sense of comradeship. The Holy Spirit creates, out of a very mixed bag of individuals of all ages and backgrounds, talents and temperaments, a communion of hearts and minds, a warm family spirit.
"All must be friends, all must love one another, all must be cherished, and all must help one another" - St. Teresa
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