Carmelites launch St Teresa of Avila’s Quincentennial Birth Anniversary

On March 28th, the Carmelite Family of Cape Town: priests, nuns and secular Carmelites celebrated the launching of the 500th Anniversary of the Birth of St Teresa of Avila, Reformer of Carmel, teacher of prayer and Doctor of the Church. The theme of the 5th Centenary Year is taken from one of St Teresa’s poems: “Lord, I am Yours, I was born for You, what is Your will for me?” The mission of the Carmelite contemplative Order is prayer for the needs of the Church and the world, especially for priests.

The Launching Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Stephen Brislin at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Retreat, with many priests, deacons, religious and lay friends participating. Fr Mari Joseph OCD preached a lively homily, pointing out that St Teresa was a Spirit-filled, joy-filled person, who once said, “From sour-faced saints, deliver us, O Lord!”

After the homily, two members of the Carmelite Secular Order, Margaret van der Berg and Renee Roussouw, made their first promises for three years, and Monica van der Berg and Alshaun Bosch received the Brown Scapular to begin formation as Secular Carmelites.

The seminarians from St Francis National Orientation Seminary formed the choir with drums and shakers, and the local liturgical dance group accompanied the entrance song, ”I Will Sing For Ever” – one of St Teresa’s favorite texts.

After the Mass, the CWL of the parish provided refreshments in the hall.

The Carmelite Family of Cape Town wish to thank our beloved Archbishop Stephen for his loving support and encouragement, and may St Teresa shower special blessings on all who contributed to making this event such a joyful and memorable occasion.

May this year of grace be a prayerful journey with St Teresa as our guide drawing us into God’s presence within ourselves, as she said, “in my opinion, prayer is an intimate, heart-to-heart conversation with Him whom we know loves us.”

We are very grateful to all our beloved priests in the Archdiocese who have shown special interest in the Teresian Carmelite Spirituality and sharing with joyful enthusiasm the charism of St Teresa of Avila.

The following are the program activities for the year-long celebration:

June 7, 2014 – A Day of Recollection for the Religious of the Archdiocese at the Holy Cross Sisters Convent, Moderdam Road, Parow by Fr Sean Wales CSsR and Br Richard Maidwell CSsR

June 16, 2014 – A Day of Recollection for the Catholic Women’s League of Retreat by Fr Mari Joseph OCD

June 29, 2014 – St Teresa of Avila and the Blessed Virgin Mary, to the Legion of Mary at St Stephen’s Parish in Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain by Fr Mari Joseph, OCD

August 16, 2014 – St Teresa & the Deacons – Prayer in the Ministry of Deacons at St Joseph’s Parish in Goodwood by Fr Mari Joseph OCD to the deacons of the Archdiocese by August (date to be confirmed)

St Teresa & the Life of Prayer: For the Seminarians of St Francis Xavier National Orientation Seminary by the Carmelite Fathers & Nuns at the Carmelite Convent, Retreat.

September 6, 2014 – Teresa of Avila & the Eucharist – An Experience of Christ’s Real Presence : For the Ministers of the Eucharist at St John’s Church, Maitland by Fr Peter-John Pearson, VG

September 13, 2014 – Prayer & Intimacy With God according to St Teresa: St Mary of the Angels Parish, Athlone by Fr Wim Lindeque

September 20, 2014 – Day of Recollection for the Carmelite Family at Carmel Retreat with Fr Hugh O’Connor

September 27, 2014 – St.Teresa & Carmelite Spirituality: For Cathecists, at Immaculate Conception Parish in Parow by Fr Roger Hickley.

October 15, 2014 – Feast of St Teresa of Avila. We invite all to join us for this occasion. The homilist will be Fr Christopher Clohessy.

January 24, 2015 – St Teresa of Avila & Friendship with God: For the youth of the Archdiocese at the Parish Hall of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Retreat by Fr John D’Souza OCD

Frs Christopher Clohessy, Wim Lindeque & Fr Graham Pugin, SJ will be organizing activities for the University Students

We also announce that the Carmelite Nuns have prepared a simple gallery of photos and drawings, to showcase the life and teachings of St Teresa of Avila in their convent. If there are groups interested in looking at the gallery and having an audience with the Sisters, you can make an appointment after Easter

For enquiries, please contact the Carmelite Sisters: Tel: 021 713 6744, or email:


(Click on image to enlarge, then click again on enlargement to browse through the gallery)

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