Our Carmel is situated in the lovely town of Loughrea so, in a sense, it belongs to Loughrea.
In close union with our Bishop John and the priests of Loughrea and of the Diocese of Clonfert we pray constantly for the people. By virtue of our consecration and giving of ourselves to God we have become God’s instruments in presenting to Him the needs of the people who come to us and of all for whom we should pray.
We meet these people every day. Mostly people come because they are in trouble: it may be some illness, a friend is sick, money problems, no work, relationship problems (and these are often so very sad), babies are due and a safe pregnancy is requested or others would dearly love to have a family or it may be an adoption is in process. Sometimes safe travel is asked from Loughrea to almost anywhere in the world or exams are due and mothers are worried: a farmer needs his cattle to pass some tests or maybe to sell hay or whatever.
Some come just to say thanks to us and to God. Many come with gifts with a song in their hearts and we rejoice with them.
It is a mystery why they keep coming. Who told them, we often wonder but they know instinctively that this is where they must go. They want to be included in our prayers. They trust us to pray for them. For us the mystery is that God is pleased to listen to our prayers for them. He wants us to present their needs to Him and He chooses to answer them because we have asked Him, in virtue of our having first given ourselves to Him, just as Christ gave Himself to the Father for us so our lives are joined to Christ’s perfect offering and all is given to God.
So we listen and we understand and we promise to remember them before God. So it is God wants it this way. God is happy to bless the people thro’ us. He could have done it without us but somehow this is the way God wants it done.
We are always inspired by Mary, God’s lowly handmaid. God chose Mary, He asked her permission and because she said ‘yes’ He was able to begin that wonderful love story with the title, “TO JESUS THROUGH MARY”. So we continue to be images of Mary for the people round about us. For us it is a privilege to dispense God’s blessings to God’s little ones, to all who come to ask, to seek to find and to love the God of love who hides in bread and wine and whose presence is everywhere for those who have Faith.
So it is that an immense bond of love and trust and understanding is created and develops between us and the people of the area and all who come to us. It has a divine origin but itself is a very human relationship of love and trust and over time it forms both us and them into an ever more profound likeness to Jesus, the Son of God who came on earth to show us, as clearly as He could, the way to our heavenly home. Our fidelity to God and his people is daily put to the test and as we learn to respond as Mary did, with that total giving of ourselves, we find the hundred-fold promised to the followers of Jesus is ours in full measure.
As the years go by, we realise more and more that we cannot live forever. We, too, must die and when God calls us we are very happy to go but the fact is we need others to come and carry on the work into the future. So we are always praying and hoping for good vocations, people called by God to this type of Apostolate, to carry on the good work begun here in Loughrea over three hundred years ago.