April 25, 2008

Letters to the Editor

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Carmelites have been a welcoming presence in Indianapolis and surrounding area for years

During Easter, I was visiting family in Indianapolis.

My mother always saves The Criterion for when I am home. She had already marked a page of the March 21 issue for me to especially notice and read.

Since I am an Oldenburg Franciscan, I already knew that the Carmelites will be moving to Oldenburg this summer.

I was very happy to see the article near the front. Because of the photo, and perhaps the headline, I assumed the article was on the Carmelites and the gift that they have been to the Church of Indianapolis.

As I read the article, I was disappointed that the Carmelites were barely mentioned. The focus was almost entirely on the Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary that will be moving in.

Yes, it’s good that this will still be a place of prayer—but it will be very different—and the loss was not acknowledged.

The Carmelites have been a welcoming presence for many in the city and surrounding area. Many have worshipped with them and been fed by their style of prayer. Many have gone to them for spiritual direction.

Carmel has been a refuge, a place of hospitality, a place of quiet and discernment, for many.

Some of this—perhaps all of it—can continue in their new location, but it will be different in Indianapolis and different in Oldenburg.

In Oldenburg, we are thrilled that they have chosen to live among us—and we are also sad that they need to move—but the people of Indianapolis will no longer be blessed with their presence, a presence and a spirituality that I’m told one of the local TV stations even covered at length.

I hope that before their move in July you will write an article that recognizes the gift the Carmelites have been to the people of God in Indianapolis.

Yes, they will still be a prayerful witness and presence in the archdiocese, but this is a loss to the people of Indianapolis.

I grew up in St. Michael the Archangel Parish and have many memories of outdoor novenas and even visiting a teacher who entered Carmel. This will be another experience for many of letting go.

- Sister Noella Poinsette, O.S.F., Cincinnati

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