As you probably already know, in November 1965, a handful of Discalced Carmelite Nuns founded the Monastery of the Mother of God in response to Our Lady of Fatima's request to pray for the conversion of Russia from atheistic communism. It was here in Marinwood that they continued their study of the Russian Language, Liturgy, customs, history and all the facets of the culture of the people they hoped to join one day; people who are still very much in their hearts and prayers.
Saint Teresa of Jesus, Doctor of the Church and Founder and Reformer of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, envisioned the Order to be a family singularly devoted to prayer and loving trust in the Providence of the Almighty. She advocated a life face to face with God; a life of simplicity, joy and solitude. The Carmelites keep Him company day and night, whether reciting the Psalms, singing hymns, contemplative prayer, caring for one another, cooking , cleaning, gardening, sewing or other simple duties. She also desired that the Carmelites be a mendicant Order; that they would rely primarily on the alms of benefactors, but that they may earn a reasonable income in a way that was conducive to their simple life-style. Many Carmelite Nuns throughout the country earn extra money by doing crafts, printing, making liturgical vestments and baking altar breads.
Like all of us who live in these financially challenging times, the Nuns of Marinwood are also concerned with trying to make ends meet. Some of them are doing computer work for individuals and companies. This work includes the designing, production and publication of newsletters, bulletins, brochures, resumes, business cards, wedding invitations and programs, and other printed materials. However, these types of work are not always available to them, nor are they sufficient to cover living expenses.
A group of Sisters' neighbors and friends, designated as the Friends of Carmel, joined hands almost twenty years ago to help support this beautiful life of prayer in our community by praying and worshipping with the Sisters in the Monastery Chapel when possible, sponsoring occasional fund-raisers and also starting the 100 Club. The 100 Club began as a group of 100 people agreeing to send $10 each month. The goal was to provide a steady monthly income for the Nuns, which, over the years, has proven to be a dependable "cornerstone" for the Monastery!
As an expression of thanksgiving for this faithful support, the Sisters take great joy each month in giving cash gifts to two members of the 100 Club whose names are drawn in the raffle for that month. Sometimes it seems that the Holy Spirit knows just the person that needs help with a bill or some other urgent need. At other times, the monthly recipient quietly donates the entire gift back to the Monastery. (Of course, that amount, as well as the $15 monthly donation, is tax-deductible.) After the monthly drawing, each member of the 100 Club receives a letter with a thank you note from Mother Dolores, Prioress of the Marinwood Carmel, and included in the newsletter is a bit of current news from our Sisters in Finland. And, as always, a return envelope is included for the following month's contribution.
In 1988, the Nuns sent members of their Community to establish a Carmel in Finland (the first and only Carmel in that beautiful Scandinavian country.) The Sisters are very grateful for your faithful prayers and loving support of this foundation. Since there are almost no Catholics in that country to support our Sisters there (Lutheranism is the established religion of the State) and the cost of living is high, the Marinwood Carmel sends part of their share of our gift each month to the Finnish Nuns.
More recently (1994), the Marinwood Carmel saw the fruition of their thirty year dream for a Russian Foundation come true in a small apartment in Moscow. Due to the small number of Sisters now at Marinwood and also the unstable political and social situation in Moscow, the Sisters had to temporarily put the "Russian Carmel" on hold. Please join them in prayer that one day they may return and begin building a Carmel there once again.
When the 100 Club began, the goal was to bring in $500 monthly to the Sisters and we have been able to reach $2,000 in recent months. Of course, the Sisters in both monasteries are praying for you, whether God calls you to join us or not. We believe that Our Lord will provide for those whom He has called to serve Him.
Naturally, your continued prayers are of the greatest importance because we believe, as Saint Thèrése of the Child Jesus taught and lived, that prayer is the incredibly powerful fulcrum that lifts the world.
If you feel that the Holy Spirit is calling you to join our 100 Club, please contact us at the address below. Nothing is impossible with God, but the beautiful Carmelite life of the Nuns is impossible without you. May God reward you for your generosity!
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