Its name : Elijah
A Carmelite vocation
An ecumenical vocation
Dialogue with Orthodoxy
© Monastère Saint-Élie
The Monastery in Saint Remy is dedicated to St. Elijah. In the spirit of the Prophet Elijah, their "leader and father" - a prophet venerated by Jews, Muslims and Christians of both East and West - the Carmelite Sisters strive to live in the presence of God, constantly seeking His face and thereby becoming witnesses to His love.
Through Elijah, the Carmelite Order, a prophetic religious order, has a link with Israel that is unique in the Church. Confronted with the first schism, the break between the Church and Israel, Carmel is called to bear witness in the here and now to the expectation of what must be, what should be and what, one day, will be brought about by God, that is, the unity of two holy communities, the community of Israel and the community of the Church.
The Monastery of St. Elijah is a foundation within the spiritual tradition of Carmel. The Carmelite Order, where two streams of spirituality meet and merge, is a living storehouse containing the treasures of the East, where the Order originated, and of the West, through St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. It is part of the monastic movement established at the time of the great flowering of Patristic writing, and has the same capacity to bring about unity on every level.
The demands of the Rule of Carmel are these: to live in dependence on Jesus Christ, to meditate on the Word of God, to be vigilant in spiritual combat and in prayer. These ideals are expressed in the practice of remaining in one's cell and in one's participation in community life.
In the spirit of Elijah and the Carmelite Saints, and in accordance with the ecumenical policy of Vatican II, we intend to study the Fathers of the Church and the principal monastic writers on spirituality, especially the writers of the Christian East whose teaching forms part of the heritage of the undivided Church. (See the Decree on Ecumenism, 15).
God calls us to enter into the most intimate personal relationship with Him and Unity is bestowed on us through the fundamental unity of the Divine Persons. "That they all may be one, even as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." (John, Ch. 17, v. 21, RSV translation). We do not live this reality to the full, so "God's love poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Rom. Ch. 5, v. 5) enkindles within us a passionate desire for the unity of the Body of Christ.
Through the Fraternity of St. Elijah, which includes members of the Orthodox and Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, Anglicans and Reformed Christians, the Monastery of St. Elijah enfolds in its intercessory prayer all Christ's disciples, and maintains its concern for unity between the Churches.
The celebration of the Byzantine liturgy puts us in touch with Orthodoxy at its deepest level. We are gradually moulded by this liturgy, suffused as it is with Patristic thought. The intellect descends into the heart and in this way Teresian prayer, a journey to the "place of the heart", merges with Eastern spirituality. The Rule of Carmel and the Eastern monastic tradition travel in harmony along the road of continual prayer. To that intimate dialogue that becomes a reality in prayer, we must add the experience of sharing the life of Orthodox monks and nuns. The feast of St. Elijah (July 20) is an occasion when we are able to meet many outstanding Orthodox Christians for reflection, dialogue and prayer.