OCDS Community Apostolates

September 2, 2014

Here’s what Communities throughout the Oklahoma Province are doing to spread Carmelite spirituality and to serve those in need.

This information may be helpful to those OCDS communities that are trying to discern an apostolate.  Communities may wish to contact other communities to consult on how they set up their apostolate.  Contact information may be found on the provincial website: http://www.thereseocds.org/find-a-community/ocds/ or http://www.thereseocds.org/contact-us/.

Those apostolates that meet the criteria for an OCDS Community primary apostolate are highlighted in bold.  These apostolates should include:

  • The spread of Carmelite spirituality
  • Personal contact with those being reached out to
  • Involvement of all (or nearly all) the community members

Secondary apostolates, assisting God’s “little ones” are certainly worthy.  Communities are highly encouraged to continue them.


Carmelite Doctors Study Group, Atlanta GA

1) Invite guest speakers to Atlanta generally twice a year.  These events are open to the public.  Speakers base their presentations on Carmelite topics.  Sometimes they have an OCD friar speak, and also invite speakers such as Susan Muto or Ralph Martin.  The group has a table with OCDS information and books for sale at these events.

2) Attend the Archdiocesan Eucharistic Congress each year, selling books for ICS publications, rosaries, scapulars and miscellaneous other Carmelite items.  They hope to incorporate a scapular enrollment during one of the session breaks. 

3) Support diocesan priests by giving them scapulars and scapular books at their ordination.  Included in this gift is an OCDS brochure.  Working on sending anniversary and birthday cards to them as a reminder that the Carmelites are there praying for them.  (This is a new position in the group called “Archdiocesan Liaison”).  By raising awareness, it is hoped that local priests will remember to refer persons interested in deeper prayer to the Study Group.

4) Participate in St. Francis Table for the poor.  (secondary apostolate)


Mary, Beloved of the Trinity Community, New Iberia, LA

1) Provide monthly teachings on Carmelite spirituality at two church parishes.

2) Provide monthly teachings on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other matters of the Faith at a third church parish

3) Provide cleanup apostolate for a local retreat center several times a year. (secondary apostolate)


BVM of Mt Carmel & the Holy Mother St. Teresa of Jesus Community,
Gulf Coast MS

1) Pray for and maintain contact with the seminarians studying for the Diocese of Biloxi, sending small gifts and items of Carmelite spirituality.


BVM of Mt. Carmel and St. Teresa of Jesus Community,
Oklahoma City, OK

1) Distribute the ICS pamphlet, St. Teresa’s The Prayer of Recollection.

2) Sister BJ Pantry – providing cash donations, food/supplies and service to feed and clothe the poor. (secondary apostolate)


Mary Spouse of the Holy Spirit Study Group, Covington, LA

1) Participate in the Annual Mass of the Roses each October in honor of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.  Members serve as lectors for the Mass.  Members are assigned to the various Carmelite booths – vocations, Holy Face, Carmelite saints, Carmelite readings, works of art by the Carmelite Sisters, etc. 

The Secular Carmelites’ children and grandchildren under teenage years and the little girls Society of St. Thérèse participate by carrying the roses up to the altar after Mass for blessing and distribution.

2) A prayer card is sent to all who have requested group’s prayers. (secondary apostolate)


St. Joseph Community, St. Louis MO

1) “Our media apostolate began in 1996: 

“Through prayerful inspiration, after much discernment from our Secular Carmelite community and with much help and support from our Carmelite Nuns at the Carmel of St. Joseph, we began our “New Media” podcasting apostolate on the feast of Pentecost June 4th, 2006.

“Today our Podcast contains over 100 different meditations to help “jump start your prayer” and lead you into a deeper prayer and quiet meditation. The reflections we have gathered through the plethora of writings from the great Saints of Carmel (and from lesser known Carmelite Religious) will aid in your education of the wonderful and historic tradition of mystical prayer found within the Holy Catholic Church. It is a form of prayer which begins and ends in a deep longing for loving union with the Eternal Triune God where a soul seeks “the light of truth will come to purify, enlighten and enkindle his soul.”

“Our new media outreach continues today with an active social media outreach via Twitter.”

Community’s internet sites:

  • Website: www.meditationsfromcarmel.com
  • Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/515768725174908/
  • Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#carmelitesstl


Note: This apostolate does not involve all community members, but does effectively get the word out about Carmelite spirituality.  Keep up the good work! 

The Community is considering other apostolates that can involve all their members.


Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew Community, Little Rock, AR

1) Sponsor Days of Recollection advertised in the Catholic newspaper statewide.  Parishes are asked to put a notice in their bulletins.  In the past the community sponsored Days of Recollection with our Carmelite Fathers, advertised in the same way.

2) Work at vocation booths in local parishes.  The community regularly works at a vocation booth in a local parish every year, representing the Carmelite nuns and friars.  They have also sponsored vocation booths at Youth 2000 retreats in a local parish.


St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face Study Group,
Houston, TX

1) The community shares Carmelite Charism throughout the year, serving various functions at St. Theresa Church, Houston.

2) Each month, after their meeting, they bring food and other items to Casa Juan Diego for the poor and share the Carmelite charism with them.

 3) Members bring brochures to their individual parishes, inviting people to the community’s annual retreat which focuses on Carmelite spirituality.

Note: It is the person-to-person sharing of Carmelite spirituality that makes all these especially suitable as primary community apostolates.




St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Community Austin, TX

1) School of Prayer. 

2) Effort at vocations awareness is ongoing.  The Council evaluates ways to improve its effectiveness and implementation.


Our Lady of Lourdes Community (Natchez-Vidalia), Natchez, MS

1) Intercessory prayer

This very small community is faithful to doing God’s work as they are able.


St. Joseph and St. Thérèse of Lisieux Community, Jackson, MS

1) Community Brochures are displayed and distributed at the Carmelite Monastery Chapel entrance and bookstore. 

2) Community Brochures and Prayer of Recollection Brochures are distributed periodically in all the members’ parishes.

3) Members distribute these materials at the annual Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast Day Mass, to which all the area churches (12-15 of them!) and diocesan-wide churches are invited by the Carmelite Nuns.

The Community has been in charge of the music for this annual Mass, serving as the choir and leading the congregation in singing

Members serve as hosts, greeting people and talking about Carmel.  They have served as hosts for the nuns’ Art Sale and talked with guests about Carmel.  They participated in an article written by our diocesan Catholic newspaper, “Mississippi Catholic.”

4) Due to their small size, this community has opted to try to have a triennial timeline for these days of reflection, rather than every year.  A Day of Reflection was held in 2012 with Father Bonaventure as Presenter.  Members distributed The Prayer of Recollection brochures and Community brochures along with other materials.

5) Once a month members assist the Carmelite Nuns in providing food for the homeless who come to the Carmelite Monastery in Jackson to be fed. (secondary apostolate)


St. Teresa of Jesus Community, Cedar Rapids, IA

1) Prayer and support for priests and priestly vocations through shared prayer at meetings and diocesan vigils for vocations as a Carmelite Community.
(secondary apostolate)



St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and St. Raphael Kalinowski of St. Joseph Community, Sioux City, IA

1) Class on learning Lectio Divina offered at a member’s home, open to OCDS members and the local parish.

Note: This meets the criteria because all the members helped in some way.

2) The community prayed and fasted for a month for an apostolate.  The majority wanted prayer time as the community apostolate.  They made a Eucharistic Adoration schedule showing which parish in the city and surrounding area was offering Adoration.  The community decided to pray especially for the following:

  • Priests
  • Seminarians
  • Those who have left the church
  • Souls in purgatory
  • Parents and caregivers
  • Carmelite nuns
  • Carmelite mission in Kenya
  • Growth and success of community and our apostolate”

(secondary apostolate)


Blessed Miriam of Jesus Crucified, McAllen, TX

1) Provide scapulars to confirmation classes and assist with their investiture by providing the parish priest with the rite from the Scapular Rite and Ritual and giving a brief presentation and talk beforehand to give those confirmandi receiving the scapular a correct understanding of it.

 2) Members give talks at parish and diocesan events about prayer and the Carmelite saints.


St. John of the Cross and St. Anthony Community, Baton Rouge, LA

1) Visit local nursing homes and members who are shut-ins.

2) Serve the needs of the Missionary of Charity Sisters at St. Agnes Parish by providing food, goods, and volunteers. (secondary apostolate)

3) Donate to the local OCD nuns and seminary fund; donate religious prayer cards and literature for the prison ministry. (secondary apostolate)


Holy Spirit Community Mobile AL

1) Working on:

“We are working on a new apostolate moving forward.

A building is being built on the Carmelite Monastery grounds for meeting/reception group gathering space.  We are hoping to bring Carmelite Instruction to the Local Church Community when the building is complete.”

2) Assisting our Carmelite Sisters in Mobile.  With the arrival of our Vietnamese Sisters the community helped the Nuns in learning English. (secondary apostolate)


St. John of the Cross and St. Paul the Apostle Community, Birmingham AL

1) Host a day of Prayer: Introduction to Carmelite Spirituality 


St. Joseph, Guardian of Carmel Community, Lafayette, LA

1) Present a series of talks on prayer open to the public.

2) Developed a brochure to be disseminated to church parishes describing the community and the OCDS vocation. 

3) Offer twice a year the services of a team of 4 or 5 community members to provide parish and diocesan organization (upon their request) with presentations on the brown scapular and on prayer using audiovisual materials and relevant hand-outs.


Triumph of the Cross Community, Georgetown, TX

1) Participated in parish ministry fairs. 

2) Yearly talk or day of reflection open to the public.  The community brings in OCD friars or other speakers knowledgeable about Carmelite spirituality.


The Prophet Elijah and Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified Community, Alexandria, LA

1) Host an annual retreat at Maryhill Renewal Center. 

The focus of the retreats includes the teachings of the Catholic Church, the writings, lives, and spirituality of Carmelite saints, and devotion to Mary.

The theme for the retreat held October 3 – 5, 2014 was: St. Teresa of Avila – Spiritual Wisdom for a New Millennium.

2) Assist with the upkeep of Maryhill and contribute financially in deep gratitude for the blessing of having this spiritual facility near by. (secondary apostolate)


San Juan de la Cruz Community, Houston, TX

1) Give talks on the Prayer of Recollection at St. Edwards Church.  Also given at the nearby prison.

2)  Give talks at different churches on Carmelite Saints.

3) 2014, in August and September: Booths at church festivals handing out pamphlets in English and Spanish on the Prayer of Recollection.


These are all wonderful apostolates.  Those OCDS Communities without a primary apostolate are encouraged to continue to discern what would fit their community’s talents and resources.  Apostolates do not have to be “big and burdensome.”  Simple and from the heart are perfectly fine.  A once-a-year event would also be appropriate.

What to aim for:

  • The spread of Carmelite spirituality
  • Personal contact
  • Involvement of all (or nearly all) members of the community

A word about that last aspect, “Not all are apostles, not all are prophets, not all are teachers…”  However, each can contribute according to his or her own ability.  It may be submitting bulletin announcements, it may be helping with set up or clean up, it may be greeting people as they come in, it may be providing or serving refreshments.  Involving everyone in some way creates a sense of camaraderie and celebration.  Ideally, community apostolates are truly community apostolates.