The Lord therefore will comfort Sion,
and will comfort all the ruins thereof:
and he will make her desert as a place of pleasure,
and her wilderness as the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness shall be found therein,
thanksgiving, and the voice of praise.
Since the last update, the Monastery has been blossoming as the Nuns joyfully settle into their new abode.
The opening Mass on 23 March was a momentous occasion, attended by around 500 people. Bishop Columba, the principal celebrant, was overjoyed to formally welcome the Nuns and spoke about how he had had a great desire to re-establish the Carmelite order within his Diocese ever since he was installed as the Bishop. He summed this up in his message:
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
What a special day today was! Today I welcomed the Carmel in my Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes. As many of you know we had a Carmel in Parkes but it closed down many years ago. Yet today thanks to the grace of God I officially welcomed them BACK with a Pontifical High Mass according to the Missal of 1962, a Liturgy of the Church said prior to the council that these 4 young women will live by and be nourished by. I am so overjoyed that in our Diocese we have a contemplative Carmel that will pray for us all day and every day! Not only for our Diocese but for our nation! We truly now have a powerhouse in our Diocese and knowing that they are here and praying for us, brings me so much comfort and peace. God is so good to us!
God Bless you all!
Pictures from the Opening Mass can be viewed here.
Modifications and improvements have slowly continued over the past months, as the Monastery and its environs are made fit for the Nuns' purposes. Every day, Holy Mass is offered in the little Chapel and the Nuns are able to live out their regular observance and liturgical life.
The Nuns have greatly welcomed the prayer requests received from around the Diocese and throughout Australia. They appreciate the kind donations, which they know are the fruit of many generous sacrifices. These donations assist the Nuns to live out their Carmelite vocation, devoted to offering prayers and sacrifice for the world.
The Nuns are especially appreciative of all the books that have been sent over the past months. Each book in their library is a tangible reminder of their many friends and supporters who are spiritually united with the Carmel.
When the Nuns first arrived, the paddocks surrounding the Monastery were barren and dry from the severe drought, which is widespread. They are most thankful for the recent rain, which has brought green to the local area and made the Monastery a sight to behold!
In keeping with the cloistered life of the Nuns, the Turn has now been installed through the handiwork of a local benefactor. The Turn is an enclosed turntable on which items (such as donated goods or prayer requests) can be placed and rotated into the the enclosure for the Nuns to collect; it is located near the bell, on the right-hand side of the Monastery at the corner of the house.
Important progress has been made on a fence to preserve the hidden life of the Nuns. Now is the ideal time to plant seedlings which, under the Nuns' careful care, will grow up quickly to increase the privacy of their enclosure. The Nuns' monastic life will be greatly enhanced by a variety of native shrubs and trees established along the perimeters of their property.
If you would like to assist with providing seedlings for this beautiful purpose, this can be done by ordering through a tubestock company such as Australian Plants Online. Deliveries may be safely made to the postal address (PO Box 150, Mathoura NSW 2710). The following varieties would be best for the purpose and locality:
The western fence line is approximately 200 metres long, with many other areas that would benefit from extra screening. Feel free to pass on this opportunity to others, as the Nuns will be delighted to have within their enclosure this living reminder of as many friends and supporters as possible.
Today is the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, the Patroness of the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes. Please join with us in prayer, seeking Her intercession on behalf of the Monastery today and always.