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And in a silence full of God.”
» Carmelecta

Mary, the Prophet and the Intra-Carmelite Formation Program

by Sister Lucille LaMontagne,
O.Carm., prioress of Carmel of the Sacred Heart, Hudson, Wisconsin

For years I had heard good things about the Intra-Carmelite Formation Program (ICFP), but had never had the opportunity to take advantage of it. After two former formators of the PCM Province advised us that participating in the Program would be the best thing we could possibly do for new members, we decided to go for it, and were very pleased with the experience.

Carmelite students, both discalced and O.Carm., both men and women, from across the United States

The theme for this year’s program, held at Precious Blood Spiritual Center in Columbia, Pennsylvania, July 18-27, was “The Prophetic Charism of Mary.” Father Eamon Carroll, O.Carm., professor emeritus at Dayton University, spoke on “Mary in the Carmelite Tradition.” Dr. Mary Hines, of Emmanuel College in Boston, addressed “Images of Mary in the Church,” and Megan McKenna, of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, challenged us to see Mary as a Jewish woman living in occupied territory in “Mary and Prophecy.” To help us express what we were experiencing, Sister Anne Marie Blakemore, OCD, of Carmel, California, opened up the possibilities of “pour painting.” In addition to the excellent presentations, however, was the opportunity to meet with other Carmelites on the same formation path, sharing experiences and forging friendships, during those days of study, prayer and recreation. We hope to return next year.

The ICFP began in 1990 when the then Carmelite Priors General, Camilo Maccise, OCD, and John Malley, O.Carm., proposed more cooperation between the branches of the Carmelite Order on the formation level. Each year the presentations follow a rotating schedule of Carmelite topics which include Mary, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, other saints of Carmel, Justice and Peace, and the Rule. The students who gather represent all the various aspects of Carmelite life,— cloistered nuns, active sisters, seminarians, friars—from both the O.Carm. (ancient observance) and OCD (discalced) Orders.