Brief History of the Order
The Prophet Elijah was told to stand at the mouth of the Cave on Mount Carmel for the Lord will pass by. Earthquakes, thunder and lightning occurred but the Lord was not in these momentous events. Then there was a gentle breeze and Elijah covered his face and fell to the ground because he knew God was in the silence. Mount Carmel forever after is holy ground.
Holy men who stayed on Mount Carmel after the Crusades, built a monastery with a chapel dedicated to Our Lady. They called themselves the hermit brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel in 1253 AD. Pope Urban VI called them Carmelites in documents in 1379. The Carmelites went on to establish monasteries in Europe.
Saint Teresa of Avila with the help of Saint John of the Cross reformed the Order in the 16th century. The new Order was called discalced meaning without shoes – poor.
The charism or mission in the Church of the Order of Discalced Carmelites is prayer, for the Church, for Priests and theologians, and for the salvation of souls.
The Community of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Thunder Bay
Before the establishment of our community in this area, there were three people who became OCDS by correspondence with the Secretariat of the OCDS in English-speaking Canada, under the Province of Malta. They were called Isolates.
The founder of our community was attracted to these quiet, gentle people, when she met them at a tiny church, St. Philip’s. She joined them in prayer, and they gave her contact information for the Order. She began her Aspirancy Year in 1997 from the Community of St. Joseph in Toronto as an Isolate. In 2003 she made her Definitive Promises at St. Theresa’s Church in Kakabeca Falls.
In 2004 two more women began the journey in Carmel through correspondence. The next year four more started. The group began to meet at St. Theresa’s Church, and in 2006 another OCDS who had made Definitive Promises came back to the area. It was then possible to be an official “Study Group”. A President and Formator, a counsellor and a secretary were appointed by the Secretariat.
A retreat was organized at a borrowed camp on a private lake. Father Dominic Borg, OCD, the Provincial Delegate came from London, Ontario.
Father Henryk Augustynowicz was appointed our Spiritual Assistant until he moved in 2014. Father Terry Sawchuk became our Spiritual Assistant and we moved our meetings to St. Peter’s until 2016. We now have our “home” in Corpus Christi Parish. Four members are from Corpus Christi, and several others attend daily Mass here often. Father Terry remains our Spiritual Assistant.
Our Community continues to grow, with twelve here, one extended member, and three women from Saskatchewan also extended members, receiving formation and guidance from us, until they can form their own community.