Reflections from Lay Carmelite Annual Retreat October 2019 – Reflection 1

Our members share their reflections on Blessed Titus Brandsma from the October 2019 annual retreat at the Carmelite monastery in Niagara Falls, Canada

“Titus was a witness and man of hope in very difficult times.”  He had great hope because he knew and recognized the presence of God in life and in others; “contemplating the little, weak and fragile signs of the presence of God in his life.”   Sometimes we hear that called as living in the Divine Will.  No matter what circumstances you are in, knowing in the core of your being that “we are in the hands of God”, can’t help but give us hope in all circumstances.  Titus was the embodiment of this attitude.

This was my first Carmelite retreat.  I’ve been on silent retreats before and have always enjoyed them.  By learning about Blessed Titus Brandsma and seeing some of his family photos I felt very much at home as my family is from the part of Holland where he was ordained and studied. I’ve even visited a concentration camp, Camp Vught, near Den Bosch (not the same one he was at), so could picture the circumstances in which he lived.  The picture of his little niece looked just like my mom when she was a small child!  Learning about his spirituality and more about the spirituality of all Carmelites from the former Prior General was a tremendous blessing.  The weekend was filled with graces.

This is what I wrote in my journal while sitting outside:  “My heart is full – you have once again surprised me with your graces. I was almost in tears during mass while singing Blessed Titus Brandsma’s poem he wrote in the concentration camp. It felt like he was there with us…I feel like learning about him and his spirituality is again God’s way of illuminating for me that this is truly my charism as well.  Praise be to God!”

Bedankt Titus Brandsma en bedankt Fr Fernando!

Corina (Formation I candidate)

Reflections from Lay Carmelite Annual Retreat – Reflection 2

Lord, we just finished a retreat led by Fr. Fernando Romeral (who looks like a brother of Tony)

Jezzee , our incumbent Director requested our feedback regarding the talk of Fr. Fernando regarding Titus Brandsma. Lord, Blessed Titus is blessed to have such religious be his spokes-person… Fr Fernando is deep.

I asked this question of him:

Is the effectiveness and efficacy of prayer depend on the intercessor (or prayee) being “Holy”?

Fr. Fernando’s answer was: “ Yes, No. I don’t know”

First answer, “Yes”

The bible ( “Trust in him at all times, O people. Pour out your heart before him. God is a refuge for us.” Psalms 62:8) attest to this fact.


Second answer “No”

There are instances that an evil man, or sinful man prays and the prayer is also granted. (the bible is replete with examples and real life dramas)

Third Answer: – “ I don’t know”

We are delving on the mystery of prayer and that is beyond us.

I agree with Jezzee that the last 3 days is the best retreat I’ve attended at Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre: The keynote speaker is a model of Carmelite attitude and spirituality. He doesn’t have NOTES. He spoke extemporaneously, with wit and humour! I believe he can talk about any other saints (which he includes in this talk) and would be able to weave all the Carmelite spiritualities and his experience as Prior General. He is so humble (an example on humility) that he lines up with the “unwashed” His favourite saint is Blessed Titus Brandsma, but I bet you if he talks about St X, the audience would still find the talk interesting and can resonate with his words.

(But of course, I might be bias, because he somewhat looks like Tony)

Loving in Carmel,

Onette (Formation Director)