The Carmelites of the Ancient Observance, Hudson, celebrated the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel with Bishop James P. Powers the afternoon of Sunday, July 16. Here, the nuns and their guests greet one another during the Sign of Peace. (Superior Catholic Herald photo by Anita Draper)

Anita Draper
Catholic Herald staff

Bishop James P. Powers celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel with the cloistered Carmelites Sunday, July 16, at their monastery in Hudson.

About 20 people attended the 3:30 p.m. Mass in the chapel, including the resident Carmelites of the Ancient Observance; Sr. Kristine Haugen, a Carmelite hermit from rural Luck; and two visiting Dominican nuns from Nashville.

There are currently six nuns in the Hudson Carmelite community, one of whom suffers from multiple sclerosis and lives in a nursing home. Sr. Trish Erickson, who was featured in the Catholic Herald in 2015, will profess her permanent vows in April.

Just back from a three-day Steubenville conference spent with 1,800 teens, Bishop Powers said he felt the “good tired” grandparents experience after a visit from their grandkids.

“We celebrate the Carmelite community here and throughout the world,” he added in his opening remarks.

In his homily, the bishop touched on reoccurring themes in the readings and the Gospel – the importance of Mary and of family, and the role of mountains – here, Mount Carmel and Calvary – as places where people go to get closer to God.

In the first reading, Mount Carmel is the site from where the prophet Elijah brings down rain to end a drought and ease the peoples’ suffering.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is so named because ancient Carmelite hermits had a special devotion to her.

“We come together to celebrate Mary and the role she plays in our salvation,” said Bishop Powers. “Our God gives each and every one of us to Mary as her child.”

He spoke of the importance of faith, of trusting in God.

In the Gospel, even as Jesus is being crucified, he does not abandon his mother, the bishop said. Jesus entrusts John with being her son and Mary with being John’s mother.

“Had Jesus not done that, Mary would have been left a childless widow, she would have lost any rights she had as a Jewish woman,” he explained. “Our Lord doesn’t abandon any of us either.”

This is not the first time humanity has wandered far from God, Bishop Powers added. In these difficult times – where family is devalued, moral relativism is the cultural norm and the dignity of human life is denied – we are not alone.

“Our God doesn’t give up on us. He continues to shower us with His love,” the bishop concluded. “Let us always rejoice in the constant love of our God.”