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Majella answers call to Carmelite community

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As a mum to 11 children and 20 grandchildren, Majella Partridge knows the meaning of caring for others.

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So when she was looking for “something more” in her Catholic faith a few years ago, it is not surprising she found her vocation was with the Lay Carmelites.

“The charism for the Carmelites is prayer, service to God’s people and community… and it seemed to fit in well with the life I’ve tried to live,” she told The Southern Cross.

On Saturday October 13 at The Monastery, Majella became a professed member of the Lay Carmelite community during a special Eucharist celebrated by the Carmelite Provincial Fr Paul Cahill from Melbourne.

For Majella, this was the culmination of her five year journey with the Lay Carmelites, which started when she discovered a leaflet about them at the back of Our Lady of Victories Church, Glenelg.

“Being part of the community is a gift from God,” she said, adding that her profession was a “very happy and grace filled day” shared with fellow Lay Carmelites, friends and family including two of her daughters, Fiona and Megan.

The Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was founded by hermits living on Mt Carmel in Palestine early in the 13th century. The first Carmelite friars arrived in South Australia in 1881.

Since then they have been actively involved with Australian communities through parish ministry, schools, spirituality and retreat centres, offering pastoral and spiritual companionship to people. In 2001 the Carmelites began working with the people of Timor-Leste, both spiritually and by helping them to rebuild their communities.

As the name suggests, the Lay Carmelites are Catholic men and women who commit to living the Carmelite way of life through the ordinary circumstances of their family and social life.

After sharing in the life of the community for about two years and becoming familiar with the spirit of Carmel, the candidate may make an initial commitment for three years. At the end of this period he or she can make a commitment for life and be professed.

In Adelaide, the Lay Carmelite community meets once a month at The Monastery for prayer and formation in Carmelite spirituality.

The meetings are also a time when members grow together in friendship and form a deeper commitment to the values of Carmelite life.

For more information about Lay Carmelites, go to www.carmelites.org.au or contact Keith Belton on 0413 234 531.

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