Friday, January 14, 2022

Novus Ordo Mt. Carmel Hermits

Counterfeit Carmel?

This is a follow up to the post anticipating the special report from Church Militant concerning the Cowboy Monks of New Mt. Carmel in Wyoming.  (My title is a take on their novus ordo of Carmelite rules.)  The report by Christine Niles was actually very good, non-sensational, well-researched and documented.  I found the whistleblower especially credible since he was backed up with a letter from a former Discalced Carmelite I had met.  Sr. Anne was a member of the monastery of nuns, adjacent to the original foundation of Carmelite Hermits the Wyoming founder came from.  I had no idea the nuns sponsored him for seminary and that Fr. Daniel left to found his own community so abruptly.  (Sr. Anne's dossier tells the story. It's a sad betrayal.)

I wasn't aware Sr. Anne left our Carmel (in good graces) to follow a call to found another community. She was a very practical, balanced religious, as far as I could tell in my interactions with her. I personally thought she would have made an excellent prioress. The letter reveals a lot about Fr. Daniel, and her account of his temperament and manner while he was here seems accurate. I found him rude and dismissive.

I don't want to add much commentary at this point, especially regarding the two Carmels here - both of which are very solid and healthy communities.  The Hermits - the male community - were taken in by the Carmelites of the Ancient Observance before Fr. Daniel left Lake Elmo.  Under the Calced Carmelites means they are a secure, autonomous community, within the Carmelite tradition, with what I assume are their own constitutions?  I'm not sure of the canonical terms.  Of course, our local Carmel of nuns is part of the Discalced Carmelite Order.  

That said, I'll post links to the Niles interview, the dossier of the whistleblower and Sr. Anne's account.  It's quite a story.  The Wyoming group sounds like a cult, the Prior - if all of this is true - sounds unstable and controlling to the extent of spiritual abuse.  

"Spiritual abuse is especially rampant in communities with sectarian aberrations." - Dom Dysmas de Lassus, O.Cart.