A Call to Carmel as an OCDS” with Colleen Sollinger, OCDS

OCDS stands for Order of Carmel Discalced Seculars. Many have never heard of this 3rd part of the Order of Carmel. Guest, Colleen Sollinger, a professed Secular Discalced Carmelite, answers lots of questions on this topic. What is an OCDS? What kind of people are attracted to and suited for the OCDS? What happens at their meetings? How do you discern if you are being called to Carmel? What is required? This program sheds light on what one might expect when making their first visit to an OCDS meeting.
RESOURCES
Books:
“Welcome to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites” by Fr. P. Aloysius Deeney, OCD
 
“Carmelite Spirituality in the Teresian Tradition” by Paul-Marie of the Cross, OCD
 
“The Springs of Carmel” by Peter Slattery
 
“Climbing the Mountain: the Carmelite Journey” by Johan Bergstron-Allen, T.O.C.

What to Read?? Suggested Reading for Carmelites

“What are you reading these days?” That’s a question Mark and Frances often get asked. Every now and then, we stop our regular programming and do a catch up on great “Carmelite Reads.” There are some suggestions to help you in prayer, of course, as well as some newly published books of interest to those who love Carmelite spirituality. Some are “classics” and others are still in the process of being discovered. Over 20 books are reviewed.
RESOURCES
“Carmelite Devotions, and Prayers for the Special Feasts of the Liturgical Year” compiled by a Carmelite Tertiary; Treasure of Carmel Publication.
 
“A Companion to Saint Therese of Lisieux: Her Life and Work & the People and Places in Her Story” by Joseph P. Kochiss; Angelico Press
 
“Little Catechism of the Act of Oblation of St. Therese of the Child Jesus” Foreword by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV; Sophia Institute Press.
 
“Praying in the Presence of Our Lord with St. Therese of Lisieux” (series) by Monica Dodds; Our Sunday Visitor.
 
“A Call to a Deeper Love: the Family Correspondence of the Parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, 1863-1885” by Bl. Zelie and Louis Martin, translated by Ann Connnors Hess and Edited by Dr. Frances Renda; St. Paul’s.
 
“A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary: Biography of Sister Maria LUCIA of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart” by the Carmel of Coimbra; English Translation by James A. Colson and Edited by Barbara Ernster; World Apostolate of Fatima, USA.
 
“The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living” by Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV; Crossroad Publishing Company
 
“Elijah: Prophet of Carmel” by Jane Ackerman; ICS Publications. (Note: His feast day is July 20th)
 
“When God is Silent: Finding Spiritual Peace Amid the Storms of Life” by Luis M. Martinez, Archbishop of Mexico City; Sophia Institute Press.
 
“God, the Joy of My Life: St. Teresa of the Andes” by Michael D. Griffin, OCD with the Saint’s “Spiritual Diary;” Teresian Charism Press.
 
“This is the Day the Lord Has Made: 365 Daily Meditations” by Wilfrid Stinissen, Carmelite Friar; Liguori Publications
 
“Listen to the Silence: a Retreat with Pere Jacques” translated and edited by Francis J. Murphy; ICS Publications.
 
“Distractions in Prayer: Blessing or Curse? St. Teresa of Avila’s Teaching in The Interior Castle” by Sr. Vilma Seelaus, OCD; St. Paul’s.
 
“A Mind Less Travelled: a Way to Empower Your Prayer” by Rudolf V. D’Souza, OCD; Dhyanavana Publications (Bangalore, India).
 
“The Science of the Cross” by Edith Stein (aka St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross); Trans. By Josephine Keoppel, OCD; ICS Publications.
 
“John and Therese: Flames of Love: the Influence of St. John of the Cross in the Life and Writings of St. Therese of Lisieux” by Guy Gaucher, Aux. Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux; St. Paul’s.
 
“The Ascent of Mount Carmel: St. John of the Cross: Reflections” by Marc Foley, OCD; ICS Publications.
 
“Dear Master: Letters on Spiritual Direction Inspired by St. John of the Cross” by Susan Muto; Epiphany Association.
 
“Sermon in a Sentence: A Treasury of Quotations on the Spiritual Life, Vol. 4 St. Teresa of Avila”; Selected and arranged by John P. McClernon; Ignatius Press.
 
“The Four Teresas” by Gina Loehr; Servant Books.

Reflections and History of Carmel

It is so very important for all of us to stop at times, take a breath and just reflect on the many blessings God has provided. For those who are either members of a Carmelite Community, or have a devotion to Carmel, it is especially important that we pause to recognize what a wonderful blessing we have in Carmel. In addition to our great Saints, including three Doctors of the Church, our great teachings on prayer, we also have a wonderful spiritual legacy going all the way back to Elijah. During this program, Mark takes us on a brief history of both the founding and evolution of the Order of Carmel, not by way of a history lesson, but more so we can see how powerfully and mercifully God has worked throughout history to provide this great blessing to the Church and to each of us. In addition, it is always important to remain very focused on the peace, glory and love to which we are called as Baptized Catholics. In that regard, it is good to remind ourselves of the mystical teachings of St. John of the Cross. This is best discovered in his commentary on the Living Flame of Love, where he gives us insight into the elevated condition of his own soul, the same high degree of union with God that we are all called to in this life.

Genuine Prayer and Reflection

There is a lot of teaching on prayer, a lot of discussion on prayer, a lot of reading from those who have practiced prayer, but in this interactive program, Mark and Frances walk you through a genuine prayer experience. Using the Psalms, writings from the great Saints of Carmel and some of their own reflections, they take you through about a 30 minute session of vocal, meditative and ultimately contemplative prayer. The affect is of course limited by having to participate through radio, but depending on the listeners commitment and environment, one can experience some of what it must be like to enter into a genuine encounter with our Lord through prayer. Find a quiet spot, turn down the lights and quietly listen to this contemplative conversation.

Help from the Heights of Carmel – on an Ordinary Day, in an Ordinary Way

Special guest, Colleen Sollinger, member of the Dayton, OH OCDS, is interviewed by hostess, Frances Harry. Too often people think to become a Saint means to have done extraordinary things, build cathedrals, form new communities, have supernatural experiences, be only for those in the religious life! Well, our Carmelites have left us plenty of food for thought on this topic. We are ALL called to HOLINESS…ALL called to UNION with GOD! Listen in for the simple ways to LOVE…because at the end of life, it’s not what you’ve accomplished but how well you’ve LOVED that really makes the difference. Colleen Sollinger has collected lots of quotes and categorized them to help us make progress in our ordinary day in ordinary ways! She gave us some solid spiritual challenges that will help us all to grow!

Conversation with aspirant, Tim Bete

For this conversation Mark and Frances welcomed into the studio one of the new Aspirants in the local Carmelite Community in Dayton, Ohio, Tim Bete. Tim is actually married to one of the long time members of the Secular Carmelite Order, so Mark and Frances wanted to explore what it was like to have be a ‘couple in Carmel.’ They also asked Tim what it was that drew him personally to Carmelite Spirituality. In addition to their own journey in Carmel, Tim and his wife are also the parents of a daughter who is pursuing a vocation as a Dominican Sister. This led to an interesting discussion on what it takes to raise and keep our children Catholic in our modern culture. Not surprisingly the main points focused on prayer, witness and continued exposure to things spiritual.

What Should Go Into A Rule of Life

The original founders of the Order of Carmel found it necessary to identify a Rule by which they could conduct their daily activities and stay focused on what was most important. This is no less important for us today. We all need to have some basic guidance that helps stay focused and make progress along the Spiritual Journey. In this conversation Mark and Frances discuss the elements of what should go into a Rule of Life. They also discuss how the development of a Rule can be tailored to our individual circumstances and those elements we need to work on in our own spiritual path. They also discuss some of the best thinking on a Rule from the writings of the Saints and the Church Fathers.

The Importance of Community

Continuing on the theme from the previous program, Mark and Frances reiterate the importance of community, and the need to participate in community as a way to continue to grow. Again, echoing the ideas of St. Teresa of Avila, they outline the important elements that must be found in community. The virtues of kindness, compassion, patience, openness, trust and of course humility are all important. But they also emphasize the need for Joy, we must be able to find real Joy in knowing that we are working to become the very people God called us to be, and we do this most effectively in community. Mark and Frances also read from a letter by Pope Francis written specifically to the Carmelite Order world wide. In this encouraging and yet challenging document, the Holy Father tells the Carmelite Community they must again capture the spirit of the Brothers of Mount Carmel, both by fulfilling our call to contemplation, but also by fulfilling our mission by becoming Prophets of Hope to a fractured and disoriented world.

Mary and the work of Evangelization

During this program Mark and Frances continue on the theme of Mary and the work of Evangelization. Here they discuss a presentation by Carmelite Friar and General Delegate to the OCDS, Fr. Debastiani, on our Carmelite call to mission. The presentation begins by reflecting on the contemplative nature of the call to Carmel. The importance of encountering the living God in the intimate experience of personal prayer. Fr. Debastiani then goes on to explain the importance of the call to community. Echoing the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, Fr. Debastiani points our that for Carmelites, and for that matter all Christians, must nurture the fruit of prayer in a community of faithful believers. It is in a supportive community that we both engage in conversation about our faith, are both challenged and supported on our journey and enter into community prayer to lift up the entire body of Christ.