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Friday, September 30, 2016
Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland launched
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 The following announcement was released this morning: A new initiative has been launched to introduce the public to the treasures of Carmelite spirituality, one of the richest traditions of the Catholic Church. The Carmelite Institute of Britain & Ireland (CIBI) was formally established on 4 November, with the aim of allowing more people to learn about the heritage of 'Carmel'. The project is the result of collaboration between the British Province of Carmelites, the Irish Province of Carmelites, and the Anglo-Irish Province of Discalced Carmelites. The many different expressions of these religious orders make up the one 'Carmelite Family' which traces its roots to a hermit-community living on Mount Carmel in twelfth-century Palestine. Today the friars, nuns, sisters, hermits, and lay people within the world-wide Carmelite Family continue to follow their Rule of Saint Albert, and form praying communities at the service of God's people. Over the centuries the Carmelite tradition has produced some of the greatest Christian saints, poets, mystics, and philosophers, such as Teresa of Jesus (of Avila), John of the Cross, and Thérèse of Lisieux, all three of them 'Doctors of the Church'. In the twentieth century the Carmelite Family has borne witness to the Christian Gospel in the martyrdoms of Titus Brandsma, Edith Stein, and Isidore Bakanja. It is this rich heritage that the Carmelite Institute of Britain & Ireland hopes to communicate to anyone looking for a structured way of studying in a scholarly yet accessible way one of the most influential Christian traditions. From September 2006 the Institute will offer part-time distance-learning courses in Carmelite Studies, which ­ for those who opt to sit for examination ­ will be accredited by both pontifical and civil institutions of Higher Education. The Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, Fr Antony Lester, O.Carm., speaking at Aylesford Priory in Kent after the legal establishment of the Institute, said: "We offer this initiative as a service to the Church. We hope that courses in Carmelite Studies will be of interest not only to those undergoing formation in our own Orders, but also to anyone seeking to deepen their appreciation of a wisdom whose contemporary prophetic voice is nurtured by over 800 years of experience in the spiritual journey." Speaking after his appointment as Director of Studies, Dr. Patrick Mullins, O.Carm., who is currently Dean of Theology at Dublin's prestigious Milltown Institute, said: "I am delighted with today's decision to proceed with this Carmelite Institute after years of planning. I am confident that this decision will support and spread the mission of the Carmelite Family into the twenty-first century, not only in Britain and Ireland, but beyond. Thanks to the generosity of the founding provinces, our teaching will be well resourced, not simply financially but also in the expertise offered by Carmelites who are internationally renowned as academics, retreat-givers, and speakers." Among those expected to direct courses are the influential ecclesiologist, Christopher O'Donnell, O.Carm., the authors Ian Matthew and James McCaffrey, O.C.D., and the historian Richard Copsey, O.Carm. The Carmelite Institute of Britain & Ireland claims to be exceptional in its array of contributing tutors, who reflect the Carmelite Family's appeal among women and lay people. This is typified by Dr. Heather Ward, who brings to the project's Executive Board considerable expertise from her work with the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham. She will be offering lectures and study-days on the role of lay people within the Carmelite tradition, together with Johan Bergström-Allen of the University of Fribourg's Institute of Medieval Studies. Initial publicity for the Carmelite Institute in both Ireland and Britain has generated more widespread interest than was originally anticipated. According to the Executive Board Secretary, more than 150 people had registered for the Institute's prospectus even before it had been formally approved. Further information about the Carmelite Institute of Britain & Ireland is available online at: www.carmelite.org/cibi
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