Easter 2013


Carmelite Monastery

52 Halswell Road

Christchurch 8025

New Zealand




Dear Family and Friends and our Carmelite Family,


May the Risen Lord’s gift of peace fill your hearts and homes at this grace-filled time.


Although the note of joy predominates we are very much aware that many hearts resonate with the sombre tones of Holy Week, conscious as they are they that the Way of the Cross leads to Easter.  So, in our prayer these days we remember all those who carry the cross of bereavement, of sickness, of anxiety in its many forms, and we ask the Risen Christ to speak to you His words of peace and comfort.


 Everyone will surely agree that this past Lent has been an unusual one.  The announcement of Pope Benedict’s retirement seemed to shock and sadden the whole world softened,  however, by the outpouring of affection and appreciation that flowed in from all quarters.   He was truly God’s gift to us all and we can be grateful for the legacy he has left us in his writings. 


The “Sede Vacante” period seemed a strange time to live through…..and then our sadness was turned to joy with the arrival of Pope Francis!  A surprise in more ways than one!   Already he has endeared hearts with his freshness and simplicity and his love for “All creatures of our God and King!”   Many will have endorsed his injunction expressed in his inaugural homily that we must be protectors not only of each other, but of the whole of creation


Well, life goes on in our own little portion of creation although I must say that like all Christchurch folk our sense of security is not what it used to be.  Also, we cannot be  indifferent to the plight of so many who have lost their homes or who await new ones; we keep them all in our prayers. As for our own home, while the monastery itself is structurally sound, there are many repairs to be done, but all will be attended to in due time.  As you may have read in previous newsletters, our concrete block wall did suffer considerable damage, but after numerous inspections by experts in a variety of fields—engineers, geoscientists etc etc, and after all the results had been discussed and analysed, repair work began several weeks ago and has proceeded at a rapid pace, thanks to the hard working team that began at 7.30 a.m.  Exteriorly, the wall may appear much the same, but on the inside a row of buttresses –braces may be the correct word—and many injections of concrete and epoxy, mean that our enclosure wall has never been so strong. For this we are most grateful to all those involved in any way in this big work.  We have been impressed by their courtesy, their efficiency, and cheerfulness.  Our enclosure wall is very important to us, ensuring as it does the seclusion and solitude necessary for our contemplative life of prayer.


Fortunately, while the above work was in progress we were blessed with almost unbroken summer weather, while at the same time we were acutely aware of the near drought conditions throughout the country, so prayers for rain are foremost in our petitions. But in spite of everything the belladonna lilies are a cloud of pink bloom and the michaelmas daisies as pretty as ever, and while the roses dislike the heat, the petunias are putting on a brave show.  So there is always much to be grateful for…


  Holy Week has been its usual time of retreat as we prepared for the climax of the Church’s year and a climax it has been with the Easter Triduum culminating in an explosion of joy on Easter Day!  The flickering light of the Easter Candle and our journey through all the readings of the Vigil gave us the full sweep of Salvation history.  The church was all white and gold with masses of lilies and chrysanthemums and sparkling brass, while a large cross adorned with sunflowers formed a background to the container of Easter water, and proclaimed that Christ was truly risen.  And Father Paul Williamson sm, led us through what must have seemed at times an “exodus journey” to the joyful Alleluias which are still ringing in our ears. Fittingly, Father’s homily was all filled with joy---the joy of all creation, and there is no better note on which to end this letter.

May the peace and joy of Our Risen Lord be with you now and always.


Your loving sisters of the Carmel of Christ the King, Christchurch