Series 6: Worldwide Carmel, Nuns and Friars
Scope and Contents
Series 6 consists mostly of the correspondence and related materials received and collected from the Carmels in Europe, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Philippines (with the exception of those Carmels of Belgium, France, and England that had historic ties with founding cities of Hoogstraet and Antwerp).
Several subseries are particularly important. Thus, with respect to correspondence from Europe, there is, for example, a series of fascinating letters written by the nuns at Compiegne Carmel during the late 1890s and early twentieth century encouraging efforts toward the canonization of the Carmelites martyred during the French revolution yet indicating the ironic situation in which the very authors of the letters found themselves because of the extremely delicate, anti-religious atmosphere; correspondence from Lisieux at the time of the allied invasion of Normandy (only miles away) in 1944 that gives fascinating details concerning the trauma endured by French rural folk and religious women caught in the cross fire of war; from bombed-out Cologne immediately after the war which refer to Sister Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein); or from equally devastated Poland and other countries already beginning to be scourged by the new Communist front.
Perhaps the most valuable of the letters received by the Sisters in the post-World War II years, however, are the letters received from the two sisters who volunteered to help Jaro Carmel in the Philippines and later founded a Carmel in Naga, Philippines. Because of their insights into the sacrifice of becoming missionaries, Sisters John and Aloysius provide an excellent view of the Carmelite missionary vocation. Other correspondence from Hong Kong, during the war years, or other areas of the mainland that would soon become Communist are also illuminating.
Letters or other materials sent to Baltimore Carmel from their brother Carmelites are also included in this collection. Most of this correspondence is of a missionary nature. When Aloysius Benziger, OCD, became Bishop of Quilon, India, for example, he began a correspondence that would total ninety-two letters that spanned the years 1904 to 1932, and provided numerous insights into the development of the missionary church of India during the crucial war and depression eras. Other correspondence indicates the degree to which the Friars understood the close link their Carmelite sisters had with them for the sake of mission.
Arranged by topic, subseries, in chronological order.
- Majority of material found in 1850-1980
From the Record Group: 3.5 linear feet