Testing and Discerning a Vocation to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites with Guest, Colleen Sollinger, OCDS

January 31, 2017

Who is called to be a Secular Discalced Carmelite? How do you distinguish between those who are called and those who are not called?  What are some principles that you can use to discern the vocation to the OCDS?  Guest, Colleen Sollinger, shares 6 distinct elements that, considered in totality, paint a good picture of a soul who is called to the Order of the Discalced Carmelite Seculars. Having been a formation facilitator for her community, she speaks from experience as well as from the guidance of Fr. Aloysius Deeney, OCD who has served as the General Delegate for the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites.



“Welcome to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites” by P. Aloysius Deeney, OCD; ICS Publications.

“Welcome to Carmel” by Michael D. Griffin, OCD, contributor and compiler; Teresian Charism Press.


“Christifidelis Laici” by Pope John Paul II.


 “Ratio Institutionis” for the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites at http://www.ocds.info/LegislativeDocuments/RatioInstitutionis.pdf


Fifteen Days of Prayer with Blessed Fr. Marie-Eugene and the Child Jesus (part 2)

January 23, 2017

In this second part of the two part series titled, 'Fifteen Days of Prayer with Blessed Fr. Marie-Eugene and the Child Jesus,' Mark and Frances explore more deeply the need for each of us, as we begin to make more progress in prayer, to begin to dispose ourselves more completely to the Lord's will. Our entire lives must become a total self-giving in exactly the same way as Christ gave Himself to His Father's will. This of course requires a great deal of confidence in God's faithfulness to His promise that He will always be with us, even if quite often His presence seems hidden. We must also begin to develop more intensely the virtue of Hope, which is often discovered in the midst of our spiritual poverty. Fr. Marie-Eugene teaches that we must become audacious in our trust, but we must also understand that God's action in our lives is to be found in the little, often monotonous events that make up our days. He also teaches that we draw strength from the realization that Christ is always with us, not only as our model, but also as our servant, as demonstrated by His willingness to wash the feet of His disciples. As one of the more outspoken proponents for our reliance on the Holy Spirit, Fr. Marie-Eugene advocates not only our need to pray to the Holy Spirit, but also to allow the Spirit to transform our prayer life from one of transforming ourselves, to one of transforming the world around us. Finally, as any good Carmelite, Blessed Fr. Marie-Eugene strongly encourages us to rely on the intercession of the Blessed Mother. No matter where you find yourself in your prayer life today, this two part series will have something to offer you to help move to the next level of intimacy with our Lord.

Lk 23:46, Romans 8:20; Mt 5:3; Mk 10:45; Jn 13:8; 1 Jn 4:19; Acts 10:38

“Fifteen Days of Prayer with Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, Carmelite, Founder of Notre-Dame de Vie” by Roselyn Declare and Joelle Guichard; St. Paul’s.

The Epiphany and Conversion of Sally Read

January 9, 2017

Mark and Frances chat with Sally Read, author of the book, Night's Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story. Sally was staunchly atheist yet converted to Catholicism in the space of only nine months. In 2010, she was heralded as one of the bright young writers of the British poetry scene. Feminist and deeply anti-Catholic, she was writing a book about female sexuality when, during her research, she spoke with a Catholic priest. The interview led her on a dramatic spiritual quest that ended up at the Vatican itself, where she was received into the Catholic Church. All along the way, Carmelite saints influenced her conversion. Also joining the conversation is Tim Bete, another member of the Our Lady of Good Counsel Secular Carmelite Community.


Night's Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story by Sally Read

Divine Intimacy by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen

The Christmas Grace and Epiphany of St. Therese of Lisieux

January 2, 2017

St. Therese of Lisieux is a Giant Soul among the Saints being one of the Doctors of the Church. On this her birthday (Jan 2), Guest Marika Zimmerman and Host Frances Harry talk about her famous Christmas Conversion. We go into a great deal of in-depth discussion about this moment. What was the conversion all about? When did it occur? How did St. Therese describe this event about the “magic shoes” at Christmas? In what way can we peer into her mindset at this pivotal time? What were some of the results of the graces given? What are some of the lessons learned? How was the one-hour old Jesus magnified in the rest of her life? How may we imitate her trust and abandonment to the Lord?


“The Story of a Soul” by St. Therese of Lisieux, Translated by John Clarke, OCD and Study Edition Prepared by Marc Foley, OCD; ICS Publications.

“Therese, the Little Child of God’s Mercy: Her Spiritual Itinerary in the Light of Her Autobiographical Manuscripts” by Angel de les Gavarres; ICS Publications.

“Everything is Grace: the Life and Way of Therese of Lisieux” by Joseph F. Schmidt, FSC; The Word Among Us Press.

The Signs, Saints, and Silences of Advent—to Help Us Grow Spiritually Guest: Colleen Sollinger, OCDS

December 12, 2016

Have you ever had the experience of arriving at Christmas and suddenly get this sinking feeling that you have hardly done anything to grow spiritually during the Advent season? Colleen Sollinger, our guest on Carmelite Conversation, helps us with some ideas on various ways we may prepare our hearts and souls for the Incarnation of Christ. What do the signs used in Advent mean and how might they help us? Have you ever considered asking a Saint or Advent figure to accompany you thru the season…to prepare in imitation of them…or gain insights from them? How beneficial is it to practice silence …and silent prayer during this time? It’s never too late to begin…just begin!



Scripture: Jn 1:29, Mt. 3:2, Mt. 3:8, Lk 1:38, Lk 1:45, Lk 17:21

Website Articles: “Degrees of Perfection” by St. John of the Cross; http://ocarm.org/ebook/John/minorworks.htm#DEGREES%20OF%20PERFECTION

“This Is Your Brain on Silence” by Daniel A. Gross; http://nautil.us/issue/16/nothingness/this-is-your-brain-on-silence

“Good Feet, Courage and Tenacity of Spirit” by a solitary bird; https://asolitarybird.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/good-feet-courage-and-tenacity-of-spirit/

“By the Manger in the Morning Prayer Journal” by Elizabeth Foss; https://blessedisshe.net/product/advent-2016-prayer-journal/

Books: “The Little Way of Advent: Meditations in the Spirit of St. Therese of Lisieux” by Fr. Gary Caster; Servant Books.

“St. John of the Cross Advent Saint” by Rev. John Saward; publ. by Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Philadelphia, PA.

“The Music of Silence: Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity for Everyone” by Elizabeth Ruth Obbard; New City.

“Divine Intimacy” from Second Week of Advent, by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen; Tan Books.

True Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a Message for Christmas 2016

December 6, 2016

It is always important for each of us to take deliberate steps to make the most of our preparation for the Advent Season. In this particular conversation, Mark and Frances present an interesting idea of one way we can begin and continue that preparation. Drawing from previous conversations on the prayer of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, they reemphasize the request of Elizabeth to have the Holy Spirit bring about within her another incarnation of the Word. This very prayer of course evokes the scene of Mary and the Nativity, which we can all reflect on at this time of year. For Elizabeth, Mary's silence and courageous acceptance of her mission, from the Annunciation to the Nativity, is the very model for interior souls, those souls who wish to be the resting place for God within them. With this as a backdrop, Frances and Mark then go on to explain each of our roles as members of the Mystical Body of Christ, Christ who is born within us, but of whom we are also members. They provide supporting scripture verses and other sources, including the Catechism and Papal documents, to explain this important teaching on our participation as members of Christ's mystical body. Finally, as it is clear that the heart is the very center and support of the physical body, Christ's Sacred Heart is the very center of our spiritual lives. If then, we are to 'incarnate' the word in our very person, we must also understand the importance of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and its role in our spiritual lives. This program provides a very good means of building on the theme of incarnation and leading to devotion to the Sacred Heart, as an Advent preparation for the arrival of Christ.

Scripture: Lk 1:35; Eph 4:15-16; Rom 6:4-5 1; Cor 12:3; Rom 8:26; Eph 1:9-10; Col 1:24

Encyclical: Mystici Corporis Christi: Pope Pius XEE on the Mystical Body of Christ

Cathechism of the Catholic Church: #790-791

Books: “The Complete Works: Elizabeth of the Trinity, Vol. One” Trans. by Sister Aletheia Kane, OCD; ICS Publications.

“God is Love: Saint Teresa Margaret: Her Life” by Margaret Rowe; ICS Publications.

Websites: www.stteresamargaret.org


Interview of Co-Host Mark Danis on a Week with the Friars…in Preparation for Advent

November 28, 2016

Taking time off from our regular routine and getting away to specifically ponder and pray features prominently in growing in the interior life of the spiritual journey. The Advent season is a perfect time for all to detach from the world and focus on the life of Christ in our soul. Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen said “The Spirit of the Advent liturgy, commemorating the age-long expectation of the Redeemer, will prepare us to celebrate the mystery of the Word made flesh by arousing in each of us an intimate, personal expectation of the renewed coming of Christ to our soul. This coming is accomplished by grace; to the degree in which grace develops and matures in us, it becomes more copious, more penetrating, until it transforms the soul into an alter Christus.” Co-host Mark Danis is interviewed in this program regarding his recent visit for a week with our Discalced Carmelite Friars. He shares some of his thoughts and experiences. We can profit from his sharing and get more inspired to dedicate this Advent season to a deeper preparation for the coming of Christ into our souls in a more intimate way than ever before. Will we make room in the “inn” of our souls for Christ to come in?


Book:“Divine Intimacy” by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD, Advent Week One; Tan Books.

Praying the Rosary

November 21, 2016

Many Catholics, even very faithful Catholics, have simply fallen away from the practice of praying the Rosary. This is indeed an unfortunate set of circumstances. Many of the Church's greatest Saints have consistently reminded us of the importance of the Rosary especially its use as a strong defense and even a spiritual weapon against the demons and their assaults. In this conversation Mark and Frances reexamine the importance of the Rosary as they look at it through the eyes and the words of some of its Greatest Champions. The list of individuals includes such notable figures as Saint Pope John Paul II, St Padre Pio and St Teresa of Calcutta. More than just advocating the recitation of the Rosary, however, Mark and Frances discuss how these Champions encouragement can be seen as a means of using to Rosary to confront the most difficult challenges facing our society, such challenges as Divorce, Abortion, Suicide and even Terrorism. In the second half of the conversation, Mark and Frances offer helpful hints for getting out of our Rosary rut, whether someone might have just become a bit bored with praying the Rosary, or whether someone may have stopped praying it altogether. If you have lost that loving feeling for the Rosary, this might be a good program to re-inspire you and get you back to praying this powerful prayer.

Introduction to Pere Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, OCD

November 14, 2016

Coming up Nov. 19, 2016, Pere Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, OCD (born Henri Grialou), will be beatified. Many Carmelites and those interested in Prayer and Carmelite Spirituality, will recognize his name from some of the prominent books he authored. Who is this Friar? What is he know for? How can he help us today on our spiritual journey? What was his testament? What is our responsibility? How can he help us grow in our bond with God? What did he say about the Holy Spirit? He challenges us to be resolved “to live with the Holy Spirit and seek Him out frequently.” What is his mission? Tune in to learn more.


Scripture:Jn. 7:38; Heb 11:27

Books: “I Want to See God; I Am a Daughter of the Church--a practical synthesis of Carmelite Spirituality, 2. Vols.” by Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, Trans. by Sister M. Verda Clare, CSC; Christian Classics.

“Under the Torrent of His Love: Therese of Lisieux, a Spiritual Genius” by Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, Trans. by Sister Mary Thomas Nobel, OP; Alba House.

“Where the Spirit Breathes: Prayer and Action” by Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, Trans. by Sister Mary Thomas Noble, OP; Alba House.

Websites: http://pere-marie-eugene.org www.notredamedevie.org

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity and our Incarnation in Christ

November 8, 2016

One of the most profound and important teachings of the New Testament is our need to, as St. Paul says, "Put On Christ." We must actually allow Christ to both continue to live His life through us, and renew His mystery of salvation for those come in contact with throughout our lives. Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, The Order of Carmel's newest Saint, was particularly taken by this teaching and made it one of the central themes of her famous "Prayer to the Trinity." Of course she drew much of her understanding of this deep Theological principle from the New Testament Letters of St. Paul. This particular program uses both the writings of St. Paul, and key phrases from St. Elizabeth's prayer to help explain, and make practical for our daily lives, the application of this teaching. Of course, in order to come to a true understanding, a soul must be prepared to expose themselves, in a state of docility, to the workings of the Holy Spirit. Mark and Frances also address these issues as they relate to our contemplative prayer and our response to the circumstances of our individual lives. This is a wonderful program for those who are looking for solid principles on how to deepen our awareness and adoption of the person of Jesus Christ in our daily lives.


Scripture:Phil. 3:10, Gal. 3:27, Heb. 12:29, Heb. 10:5, Rom. 12:1, Gal. 2:20, 1 Cor 2:2, Jn 15:5, Pa. 141:2

Books: “The Doctrine of the Divine Indwelling: A Commentary on the Prayer of Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity” by Rev. Mere M. Amabel du Coeur de Jesus, Translated into English by a Discalced Carmelite; The Newman Press.

“Teresa of Avila--The Way of Perfection: A Study Edition,” Trans. by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; Study prepared by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD; ICS Publications.

“Conversation with Christ” by Peter Thomas Rohrbach, Tan Books. “Divine Intimacy” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD; Tan Books.