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Carmelites Gather to Thank Their Supporters

On, Saturday, October 21, 2017 the Carmelites of the St Elias Province gathered to thank and pray for the many benefactors to the Province in a Mass of Appreciation and luncheon organized by the Development Office. Fr Michael Kissane, O.Carm., Prior Provincial of the Carmelites was the main celebrant. Fr Michael Driscoll, O.Carm., the Editor of Direct Mail for the Development office was the homilist.

In his homily, Fr Michael Driscoll spoke on Titus Brandsma. Titus Brandsma was a Dutch Carmelite friar, Catholic priest and professor of philosophy. He was vehemently opposed to Nazi ideology and spoke out against it many times before and during the Second World War. He was imprisoned in the infamous Dachau concentration camp, where he was killed by lethal injection on July 26, 1942 – a little more than 75 years ago.

Fr Michael Driscoll then spoke of his devotion and connection to Titus Brandsma which started long ago when he entered St Alberts Jr. Seminary at the age of 14 in Middletown, NY. He spoke of Titus’ desire to be a Carmelite and remembered hearing about the “Dutch Carmelite” killed in Dachau from a Dutch Carmelite, Paulus Schmitt, who taught him at St Alberts.

Fr Michael noted that he has always been a supporter of the promotion of the cause for sainthood of Blessed Titus Brandsma. In order to be declared a saint, one miracle would have to take place through the intercession of Blessed Titus Brandsma.

Fr Michael recalled how about 13 years ago he had an appointment with his doctor for his annual skin exam. He said, first there was the checkup, and then there were tests. After the scans, x-rays, and MRI came the doctor’s grim diagnosis. It was fourth-stage and fifth stage cancer. It was an aggressive malignant melanoma that attacked his neck area behind the ear and spread to other parts of the body. The prognosis was poor. It is known that when cancer has spread to organs of the body and lymph nodes, there is a higher risk that the cancer might come back after surgery. Rarely do patients survive a long period of time following surgery.

In July of 2004, Fr Michael traveled to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for surgery. Before leaving he invited the parishioners of St Jude Church in Boca Raton, Florida where he was pastor to pray for healing through the intercession of Titus Brandsma. He also rallied his family and friends to do the same. Fr Michael knew everyone was praying for him through the intercession of Blessed Titus Brandsma.

In his homily he noted that he has been cancer free for 13 years and medical experts consider this a miracle. His healing has been presented as a miracle that happened through the intercession of Blessed Titus Brandsma. The Diocesan phase of the investigation of this miracle began in August of 2016 and is set to conclude in December of this year in Palm Beach. All the information will then be sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. Fr Michael invited all to continue to pray for the cause as it moves forward.

After communion, Fr Michael Kissane, Prior Provincial of the Carmelites thanked all those present for their financial and prayerful support of the Carmelites. He said that their generosity enables the Carmelites to continue to do the good work that is done by Carmelites here in the United States and in the Carmelite missions in Vietnam and Trinidad.

He also thanked all those who so far have contributed to the special campaign to build a new retirement residence on the grounds of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel in Middletown. He said that the final details of the building are being worked out and the hope is that ground-breaking will take place in November. This new building will be self-contained and will provide 8 bedrooms and will be entirely handicapped assessable.

Fr Michael concluded his remarks by thanking the choir under the direction of Maxine Martin for the beautiful music. He also thanked the novices for serving the mass, the development office staff for organizing the event, his secretary Wilma Ward for preparing the program and Fr Francis Amodio for being the Master of Ceremonies.

After mass all gathered in Pilgrim Hall for a wonderful roast beef luncheon prepared by John Botti and his staff from the former popular restaurant in Middletown – John’s Harvest Inn.

Anyone interested in cooperating in the good work of the Carmelites by making a contribution to the new retirement building or the work of the Carmelites can get more information by contacting the Carmelite Development office at: 845-344-0876.

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