In this particular program Mark and Frances discuss the reflections of a Carmelite Nun from England, Sister Mary McCormack. Sister McCormack has been a nun for forty years, and during that time she has served in a number of important positions, but none more important that that of Novice Mistress, where is was her responsibility to assist young postulants in learning the Carmelite way of life, especially prayer. She has written a wonderful book entitled “Upon this Mountain,” where she reflects on the most simple and yet most profound elements of what she has learned about prayer. She draws extensively on her own experience, but also on the writings of the two Masters of Carmelite prayer, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.
During this conversation Mark and Frances discuss the March 19 Feast of St. Joseph and the devotion to him, which has grown so much in the past 100 years in the Church. St. Joseph is a great role model for husbands, and this Feast in his honor has a special significance for Carmelites. A little known fact is that St. Teresa of Avila is credited a good deal with helping to spread devotion to this great Saint. In fact, St. Joseph is the Patron of the Discalced Carmelite Order formed by St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross. St. Teresa recommended in her writings that everyone should turn to St. Joseph, as she herself often did, to help them overcome the difficulties of our earthly life. Since St. Joseph was put at that head of the Holy Family, and provided for all their earthly needs, we should all feel comfortable turning to him to assist us in our daily needs. Just as importantly, as St. Joseph is also the Patron of the Universal Church, and we should feel comfortable turning to him for all of our spiritual needs as well.
During this conversation Frances Harry interviews Mark Olson, a member of the Dayton community of the Secular Order of Discaled Carmelites. This program in a continuation of the conversation on the article written by respected scholar and Carmelite Priest, Father Ernest Larkin, on St. Teresa of Avila on Prayer. Here Frances and Mark explore the goal of union with God (spiritual marriage, transforming union). The conversation focuses on “The Way” to the “Goal” via the mansions. Several points about the first 3 ascetical mansions are made which then reaches a transition point or bridge of the 4th mansion to the mystical mansions of the 5th, 6th and 7th mansions.
This particular program is a conversation on one of the lesser known, but very important Carmelite Saints, St. Teresa of the Andes. In this conversation Mark and Frances discuss the earthly life of this wonderful Saint. St. Teresa of the Andes, who died in 1919 at the age of 19, is a model for young people. Her remarkable, although short, life, is a testament to how our young people today can begin to develop an intimate relationship with our Lord. Though she came from wealth, and had the benefit of a good Catholic family and education, St. Teresa’s life was not without pain and trial. Her dark times, however, only served to deepen both her relationship and love for the Lord. John Paul II said of her, “The secret of her perfection could be none other than love, a great love for Christ, and a filial love for the Virgin Mary.” She is truely a Saint for our time.