Brother Alfredo Guillen, O.Carm., the province’s first candidate from El Salvador, professed solemn vows in the Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary on July 20, 2011, at the Church of Nuestra Señora de Lourdes, in San Salvador. Very Reverend Carl J. Markelz, O.Carm., Prior Provincial, received his vows.
Brother Alfredo’s family were all there; his mother, Alicia; his sisters, Mercedes, Alicia del Carmen and Rosa; and his brother, Benjamín. His father, though, passed away five years ago. Friends from throughout Brother Alfredo’s life were also in attendance ranging from old school friends and members of the Liberation Movement in El Salvador (FLMN) to his current Carmelite brothers and members of the parish and surrounding communities where Brother Alfredo has served for many years. A 20-voice choir provided the music. The overflowing crowd was estimated at over 500 persons.
In his homily, Father David Blanchard, O.Carm., pastor of the parish, referenced a talk that Archbishop Oscar Romero had given on the importance of the Scapular to the people of El Salvador, and that this work will now be extended in a new way with this Profession of Vows.
When asked what why he chose to profess Solemn (final) Vows in the Carmelite Order, Brother Alfredo, former FMLN member, referenced Chapter 16 of the Carmelite Rule; in particular, “necessity knows no law.” Freedom is important to this liberation movement member, but he adds that the freedom the Rule provides is not a carte blanche freedom; rather it is a freedom to find Christ and to serve Christ as Christ calls each individual. He notes that this freedom allows for great diversity in the Order seen in the various Carmelite ministries, in various styles of community life, and various prayer styles.
Alfredo joined the Carmelites in 2006 when he entered the pre-novitiate program in Tlalpan, Mexico. He became a novice in January, 2007 in Lurin, Peru, and professed his simple vows January 11, 2008. He then returned to El Salvador where he finished his theological studies at the Universidad de Centro America. He spent last year at Whitefriars Hall in Washington, DC, where he studied English.
Eleven days later on July 31st, Brother Alfredo was ordained a deacon by Most Reverend Gregorio Rosa Chavez, Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador, in the chapel of San Laureano.
For the upcoming year Reverend Brother Alfredo Guillen, O.Carm., will reside at Carith House, the pre-novitiate community in Chicago, where he will be attending a program in spiritual formation at Catholic Theological Union and serving as a deacon at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Joliet, Illinois. He anticipates being ordained to the priesthood in 2012.