The Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a relatively recent devotion that began in Hungary at the request of the Virgin Mary to a lay Carmelite, Elizabeth Kindelmann. I first read about Elizabeth Kindelmann a few years ago, and her story piqued my interest so I ordered her spiritual diary online. Here was a mother in her late 40s who, in the midst of her busy life as a working single mother raising six children, began having mystical experiences starting in the 1960s until her death in 1985 at the age of 72. In my spiritual reading to that point, I had a hard time truly relating to some of the saints as most of them were religious and didn’t have the worries of a family and work responsibilities. Elizabeth was extremely relatable.
When I first read her diary, I was also in my late 40s, with three children and managing a small business. Elizabeth even seemed to have a similar temperament to me. Early on in the locutions she received, Jesus said to her “The Eternal Father knows how He created you. He knows that you are intense, forceful and irritable, and you must be transformed according to My Heart. In the future, use your intensity only against evil.” (p.18) “I see how much it costs you to concentrate, My little one. Off key notes irritate you. The words through which you address yourselves to Me are heedless and insincere. I wait with patience and love that your words and your voice become clear and vibrant. Be more patient with yourself and others.” (p. 71) “Your bad temper will go on, but out of this evil nature, I will accomplish a masterpiece if you agree to submit to my Divine Hand.” (p. 170) Elizabeth was a regular, ordinary woman with faults like the rest of us. What a comforting and hopeful message!
Throughout the diary, Jesus and Mary refer to Elizabeth often as “my little Carmelite” and remind her many times to remain humble, hidden, little and continue to make small sacrifices for the salvation of souls. Jesus: “Be a burning sacrifice among your family. You must especially make the small, insignificant sacrifices…Do not be upset that you can only do small things. Just continue to be the little one. Dissolve yourself in Me like a drop of water in wine.” (p. 19) Mary: “It is precisely because of your littleness, incapacity and humility, that my Flame of Love will move ahead gently and without disturbance. Therefore, be careful and remain hidden in humility.” (p. 81)
While reading the diary, it didn’t occur to me at first to wonder what a lay Carmelite was. I was fascinated by the way Jesus and Mary spoke to Elizabeth, what they asked of her and her response. She gave herself totally to them, and agreed to make herself a little victim soul to help blind Satan in order to save souls. The whole diary is immersed in Carmelite spirituality. Mary: “My Flame of Love will go forth from Carmel. They are the ones who honor me the most, or rather, they are the ones most called to honor me.” (p. 29)
However, it wasn’t until towards the end of the diary that I read the following from an entry in Spring 1981:
“The Blessed Virgin asked that we urge the competent authorities for the restoration of the Third Order of Carmel throughout the world. This must happen quickly and everywhere. Humanity needs lay people who have a spirit of prayer….While the Blessed Virgin was speaking about the Carmel, Jesus interrupted: ‘Because the Flame of Love of the heart of My Mother is Noah’s Ark.’” (p. 293-294)
I read those words in December 2018 and felt an immediate and intense desire to learn about the Third Order of Carmel. In January 2019 I researched online to find out more about Carmel and reached out to one of the coordinators in Ontario who put me in touch with the St. John of the Cross Lay Carmelite Community. I attended my first community meeting in February 2019 and the rest is history. I was received into the community on October 1, 2020, on the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, the little, hidden and humble Carmelite who became a Doctor of the Church. I know Mary has led me on this journey and continues to lead me where she wants me to go. As I look forward to continuing on the journey of ascending Mount Carmel, I am so thankful to Elizabeth Kindelmann for her beautiful spiritual diary that offered a window into the riches, wisdom and charism of Carmel.
For more information on the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
 All quotes are taken from the First Edition (2014) of The Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, The Spiritual Diary by Elizabeth Kindelmann