Serving the Lord with gladness has been the hallmark of the Carmelites in Trinidad and Tobago said Fr Anton Dick CSSp, presiding at Mass for the Corpus Christi Carmelites at the L’Hospice, November 14. The Mass culminated a nine-day novena and coincided with the date when the first Carmelite sisters arrived in T&T a century ago.
Fr Dick said the Carmelites have been serving the poor and underprivileged in a quiet and beautiful way. He recalled his first encounter with Sisters of the Congregation when he was a boy and visited a convalescent home for children in Diego Martin with his mother. He was amazed to see children who had been “abused” and had physical injuries. “I am sure that had an effect on me becoming a priest,” he said.
Fr Dick told of meeting Sr Maria Immaculata Tobas O Carm, whom he said left an “indelible mark” on his mind and life, observing the Sisters happily caring for unfortunate children and bringing happiness to them.
Fr Dick caused laughter when he recalled Sr Ann Theresa O Carm, who worked with girls at the then Catholic Girls’ Reformatory, later known as St Jude’s, was given the nickname ‘walkie talkie’. “She worked, prayed, was kind to them,” he said.
As a former chaplain of the L’Hospice he “saw and learnt many things”. It was Sr Ramona George O Carm who led him through the “twists and turns” of the L’Hospice and he was surprised to see the flour, rice and sugar collected in big bags from Pound Day contributions were untouched by rodents.
She had told him “St Anthony takes care of them”. Noting the various areas of involvement of the Carmelites, he said they carried out their work with love and kindness and left a mark on the lives of people.
The Carmelites gave a lesson for living: “We can do what we have to do to serve our God simply but as faithfully and with substantial love”. He said the Carmelites were known as the “galloping virgins”, which was not meant to be derogatory but it was because they were always seen in their brown habits moving quickly, “galloping in the work of the Lord”.
Fr Mario Esposito O Carm, Prior Provincial, North American Province of St Elias concelebrated the Mass with Fr Gerard Tang Choon O Carm and Fr Anthony de Verteuil CSSp. Fr Esposito read a letter from the friars of the Province and presented a gift to the Sisters to support their charitable work and community life.
Sr Katrina Charles O Carm gave the thanks. She said, “An attitude of gratitude is one of the greatest gifts God has given to us”. –LPG