RG 16: Carmelite Guild of Baltimore (BCG)
Scope and Contents
The Carmelite Guild for The Building Fund was formed at a meeting which was held at the Baltimore Basilica Rectory, 408 N. Charles Street, on October 11, 1957, "for the purpose of helping the Carmelite Nuns materially on a large scale." It was to be a sustaining organization whose primary purpose was "to raise funds for the erection of a new monastery." (Minutes of Meeting, 10/11/1957).
When this goal was reached in September 1965, the executive committee recommended that the title of the Guild be changed to: The Carmelite Guild of Baltimore. This change was finalized at the general meeting of the members on December 5, 1965. The Guild members continued to aid the Sisters to meet ordinary and extraordinary expenses.
Twenty-nine persons, with Father Joseph P. Lane as moderator, attended the first meeting. The list of the names and addresses is attached to the minutes of the first meeting held on October 11, 1957. This small group continued to grow rapidly. The February, 1958 report stated that there were 1,337 charter members. A fluctuating membership (the Guild now has about 780 members) has contributed monthly and/or yearly dues. Additional funds have been raised in a variety of ways: A memorial project (which was completed in 1963); perpetual and yearly enrollments for the living and deceased members; yearly festivals; and privately sponsored fund-raising events.
The ten presidents of the Baltimore Carmelite Guild have been: Mrs. Robert (Donne) Megreevy McCaffrey (McDonald), Miss Marie Kernan, Miss Tillie Heretick (Papen), Miss Anne Deimel, John J. Bradunas (Ordained June 2, 1973), Francis J. Sweeney, Leo A. Schuppert, Mrs. Anders (M. Teresa) Persson. Mrs. Joseph A. (Eva) Barczak, Mrs. Dorothy Dilworth McDonald.
The four moderators of the Baltimore Carmelite Guild have been: Rt. Rev. Joseph F. Lane, Msgr. John C. Broderick (who died on December 15, 1959. See The Carmel Light, Vol. III, Nos. 2, 3.), Rev. Roger K. Wooden, Rev. Manuel Roman.
At the initial meeting of the Carmelite Guild, October 11, 1957, Mrs.Charles Warwick, sub-prioress of the Third Order of Carmel, spoke to the newly formed group of the history, the aims, and the spirit of the Carmelite Order. A copy of Mrs. Warwick's talk is attached to the minutes of the first meeting.
Guild papers include the constitutions and the by-laws, the foundation papers and histories of the Guild, the minutes of the executive and general meetings, the treasurer's reports, accounts of the festivals and the installation liturgies, and lists of those enrolled to share perpetually in the prayers of the Carmelite Community of Baltimore.
One of the most interesting series, (series 3), includes all of The Carmel Light bulletins, under the editorship of Marie Kernan, published from December 1957 to the present. Mrs. John Evans was editor from 1959-1960; followed by Mary Heckwolf (Staylor) whose continued service as editor for twenty-nine years and her capable editorial style have helped to make The Carmel Light an excellent source of both Guild and Carmelite history. Carmelita McGarvey became assistant editor from 1965-1968.
Regular features of The Carmel Light have been annual letters under the signature of the current prioress of the community; announcements of new officiers; times and places for general meetings and lists of guest speakers; special events sponsored by the Carmelite Sisters of the Guild; names selected in prize drawings; prayerful reflections of the editor. In 1976 a new feature was introduced: From Carmel to Each One of Us, consisting of articles written by various members of the community. The following Sisters have contributed to the series: Sisters Kathleen Kirk, Anita Schuman, Colette Ackerman, Maureen O'Brien, Robin Stratton, Barbara Jean LaRochester, Shalom Belnick, and Mary Eileen McNamara.
Of particular interest are series 6, 10, and 12 (highlighting special days planned for Guild members) because they detail the degree of dedication exerted by members of the Guild. Among events recorded are: 1. Yearly Eucharistic liturgies and luncheons celebrating the attainment of goals for fund raising and the beginning of new terms. Included are installation of officers and presentation of gift-check to the monastery; 2. Recollection days, begun in 1960 during the presidency of Marie Kernan: held at the Passionist Monastery, Marriotsville Spiritual Center, St. Ignatius Church, The Marion Retreat House, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, and the Carmelite Monastery; 3. Participation of Guild members: e.g., October 15, 1960: the first spade of earth turned at the site of the new Carmelite Monastery. The ceremony was performed by the spiritual director of the Guild, Msgr. Roger K. Wooden. (See The Carmel Light, Vol. IV, No 2.); the dedication of our new monastery on Saturday, July 7, 1962; Celebration ofthe 175th anniversary of the coming of Carmel to Port Tobacco, Maryland in 1790; Laity Day, planned and carried out by John Bradunas, conducted at the Carmelite Monastery on May 1, 1966; Second Laity Day conducted by Fredrick Gast, OCD. (See The Carmel Light, Vol X, No 4 and Vol XI, No 1.); 4. Reports of the bingo parties, the fall festivals, and the private benefits.
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- Carmelite Guild of BaltimoreRG XVII.GAMMS.17
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