Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The National Carmelite Shrine

Well, the weather channel promised us rain again today but we decided to venture out anyway.   We are really getting tired of rain this summer.  We've never been anywhere where we have had such frequent and heavy down pours!  We decided to leave the Rhinebeck area and head to Middletown, New York to visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and we managed to escape rain all the way there!

Since I was raised Catholic I had heard of the Order of Carmelite Sisters but I really had no idea of their history.  In doing some research I came across a website:  


which gave the following history of the order:

"The first hermits lived on Mount Carmel in Israel in the time of Elijah the Prophet, hundreds of years before Christ. Later, many Crusaders went to the Holy Land to free such holy places as Bethlehem, Nazareth and many other sites associated with the Life of The Lord Jesus, from the Moslems. After they achieved their task of freeing the Holy Land, many of them stayed on Mount Carmel; a mountain range which juts out into the Mediterranean Sea near the present city of Haifa, along the southern border of present-day Lebanon.

We can read about the Prophet Elijah in the First and Second Books of Kings. There were also Jews and Moslem Hermits on Mount Carmel dedicated to the life of Elijah the Prophet. This all took place between 1190 and 1206. The first written document of the Carmelites, our RULE, dates to 1206. The Christian Hermits from Mount Carmel went to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, St. Albert, (not of Trapani) and asked for a Rule of Life. That was the official beginning of the Carmelites. In 1245, the Moslems recaptured much of the Holy Land. They massacred most of the Carmelites. Those who escaped returned to their home countries of Italy, France, England and Germany. It is from these 4 countries in Europe that the Order spread throughout the world. Today, there are 5200 Carmelites of all Branches of the Order, male and female, throughout the world."
The statue of St. Albert of Trapani greets visitors as they enter the parking lot. He is the patron of Carmelite schools.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was founded to encourage and perpetuate devotion to Mary and her scapular under the special title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The Carmelites are celebrating 125 years of 
service in the New York area.

 La Bruna is the oldest representation of 
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  This is a reproduction of the 13th Century painting of the Tuscan school.

This is the room you enter as you come into the shrine.  I lit a candle for my Mother here as I always do when we visit Catholic churches.  I hope Mom got the message because the candles here are battery operated and somehow it just didn't feel the same!

The stained glass windows were interesting at the shrine.  Instead of depicting Christ's life, they were all windows describing the history of the Carmelites.

The Sanctuary

The image of Our Lady with the infant child of Jesus looking over the assembly is distinctive of the national shrine.

The Shrine is home to many relics of Carmelite Saints, other Saints and even of the True Cross. They are housed in a beautiful medieval style setting. 

This stained glass window is over the entrance to the shrine.

St. Theresa  of Avila and other Carmelite Saints figure prominently in the history of devotion to the Child Jesus under the title "Infant Jesus of Prague." 

At the beautiful shrine of St. Patrick, visitors are welcome and special intentions and petitions are received.  Irish Relics are venerated here. 

Those devoted to St. Therese may visit her shrine and offer prayer before her relics. St. Therese was a Carmelite nun.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Saint Therese and Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory - 
Foundress of the Carmelite Sisters

The Meditation Garden is a place to sit in quiet 
and reflect upon God and nature.

The Cloister walk connects the main Chapel to other areas of the Shrine. The Cloister walk contains a series of Carmelite Stations of the Cross. These stations of the cross are uniquely Carmelite in their depictions. 

When we left the shrine it was starting to rain.  It was still early in the day so we headed over to Kingston and took in the movie "Third Person."  It was a movie about couples with issues in their relationships and was really quite depressing.  We hadn't been to a movie for awhile so I was really hoping to be more entertained than having to endure all the melodrama.  We'll have to try another movie one of these days.  

We arrived home late and Rhinebeck had really had a storm.  The campground had lots of branches down and the ground was just soaked.  I guess the electricity was off for awhile too.  We made the right decision when we left the area!

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