Introducing Brother Neil Bartholomew Conlisk, O.Carm.
From: LaGrange, Illinois
Born: Saint Valentine’s Day, 1987 (age 33)
Education: Lyons Township High School
Marquette University (Political Science/Spanish)
Favorite Carmelite Quotation: “The more we drink of this Sea, the more thirsty we are.” – Blessed John of Saint Simon
Neil ‘owned’ his faith during his college years, becoming active at Saint John of Arc Chapel at Marquette. After college he joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and ministered at the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, including as the chapel’s music minister. The chapel was dedicated to Saint Therese of Lisieux so he started reading the Carmelite authors. When he returned to Chicago, he met the Carmelites at Carith House. He entered the prenovitiate there in 2014.
During his novitiate in Middletown, New York, he was introduced to the works of the Carmelite mystic, Blessed John of Saint Samson. There was little of John of Saint Samson’s work in English and he mentioned this to Father Kevin Alban, O.Carm., who encouraged him to learn French and read Blessed John of Saint Samson in the original language. Brother Neil did this and has just published an English translation entitled, “The Goad, the Flames, the Arrows, and the Mirror of Divine Love: Spiritual Exercises for Disposing the Soul to Love God in Himself.”
Brother Neil consider Blessed John of Saint Samson his patron and his inspiration.
Brother Neil describes Carmel as “a ‘Garden of God dedicated to Mary’ where we can grow deep roots along running streams in order to bear fruit for the kingdom.” He sees himself doing retreat house ministry and parish ministry when he completes initial formation. His hobby is music – playing guitar all his life, learning piano, and his favorite composers are Bob Dylan, Arvo Pärt, and Claude Debussy. He also describes himself as a “negligent vegetable gardener.” His favorite Scripture passage is Matthew 28-30: “Come to me, all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”