Retreats | Sabbaticals | Silence | Solitude | Ireland

Friends of Carmel

IMG_1542-webFriends of Carmel: A contemplative way of life

“I will allure her, and lead her into the desert, and I will speak to her heart.” (Hosea. 2:14)

The Friends of Carmel at Holy Hill is an association of lay people, sisters and priests, who, in response to a call from God want to be his “good friends” by living the Gospel in the spirit of Carmel and under the guidance of the monks of the Spiritual Life Institute. Love calls to us and we do want to surrender. Deep down we need to give everything. We want to commit ourselves to something Absolute. The desert way is for those who want a life of simplicity and authenticity with God.

SLI—Slì means “the way” in Irish.

The Incarnation of Christ present in daily life became the bedrock of the Celtic Christian spiritual path. There was no conceivable separation between their spiritual life and their secular one.

Esther de Waal, in Every Earthly Blessing: Celebrating a Spirituality of Creation,  describes the sense of acclaiming God in and through the world, of his creating in and through the material things of daily life, for example, lighting the morning fire.

“I will kindle my fire this morning
In the presence of the holy angels of heaven,
God, kindle thou in my heart within
A flame of love to my neighbour.”

In the daily life of the people there were prayers and blessings for milking the cow, churning the butter, making the cloth, walking the journey to the field, blessing the planting and the harvest and the cloth and the bed and the newborn babe.  Nothing was left out.  Prayer was not a formal exercise; it was a state of mind.

“Praying is not separated from singing or working or any other aspect of life.  Because of the way in which they saw their world they were ready to accept, enjoy, transform whatever lay at hand.  The pattern of the day, of the year, and of the whole of life itself, was lived out totally in the presence of God and the saints.  There was nothing self-conscious about this; rather, it seemed entirely natural. Life was lived at two levels—the practical tasks of daily life are done for their own sake carefully and competently, but simultaneously they become signs of God’s all-encompassing love. It matters that the butter is made well or that the herds are driven carefully, since God himself is involved.”
Esther de Waal.

This new group was launched on 28th March 2015, with the approval of Bishop John Fleming includes people from different backgrounds ages and nationalities. In the midst of their normal family lives, in the work place, in their social commitments and other relationships, members seek out the hidden way of God. They follow a personal rule of life in order to attain holiness through their own vocation.

Formation and Spiritual guidance is offered to each member through regular meetings at Holy Hill as well as website input.
Those with questions can contact:
friendsofcarmel@holyhill.ie