November 1, 2023
Our Lady spreading her mantle over us

November: Dedicated to the Holy Souls

OCDS Shield

By Megan O'Boyle OCDS & Megan Emery OCDS,
Christchurch President & Formator

Dear Carmelites,

Am penning this November newsletter (dedicated to the Holy Souls), with a few thoughts around our upcoming retreat, and some thoughts as your Formator.

We joyfully received Catherine, Ann-Marie and Therese into Formation with a Liturgy at our October meeting.

Let us continue to pray for vocations to our Community and reflect on how we can examine the quality of our response to our Christian and Carmelite vocation…

  • how am I responding generously, charitably, faithfully, zealously?
  • Am I making my best effort daily to do so, or do I find it easy to make excuses?
  • Does a vocation to Carmel fulfil my inner longings to be holy and to love God more?
  • Do I love the Carmelite life, becoming my heaven on earth?
  • Am I blind to my faults… am I aware of my faults?…
  • feel free to also ask yourself any further questions😇


Please continue to keep our November Retreat and Fr Michael-Thérèse in your prayers to ensure a truly blessed spiritual time. Here’s a thought from St Mother Teresa of Calcutta…

The aim of taking a retreat is to advance in the knowledge and love of God, to purify ourselves, and to reform and transform our lives according to the life of our model, Jesus Christ. It is not so much a looking back on the achievements and failures of the past, as a looking forward to a more generous imitation of our Lord himself.

New formants for OCDS Christchurch in Oct 2023
We joyfully received Catherine, Ann-Marie and Therese into Formation with a Liturgy at our October meeting.

Let us also reflect on the quote from St Thérèse for our Retreat…

Since He has shown me that He alone is perfect happiness.

How much our world needs to take that thought to heart in these increasingly troubled times. His Mother Mary, as a humble daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit entrusted a great gift to all the world in Bethlehem… let us continue to await His coming again… Deo gratias!

Our group study Formation continues with “Story of a Soul” and am including these recent words from Pope Francis as his letter on St Thérèse also arrived on our Feast Day of St Teresa of Avila. Pope Francis says that St Thérèse is a “Doctor of synthesis”, leading the Church to an understanding of the essentials of the Gospel to what is “essential and indispensable”. And the first line quotes the little Saint: “C’est la confiance et rien que la confiance qui doit nous conduire à l’Amour.” (“It is confidence and nothing but confidence that must lead us to Love.”)

The bishop of Rome stressed that St Thérèse “lived devoted to God, forgetting about herself, loving and consoling Jesus, and interceding for the salvation of all.” The 150th anniversary of her birth and the 100th anniversary of her beatification are celebrated this year.

For the occasion, the Holy Father has granted a Jubilee Year in honour of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus that will last until Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, and has the theme “For trust and love”, the last words of her autobiography, Story of a Soul.

Blessings in Carmel,

Megan Emery, OCDS

Christchurch's Peace of Christ Community Formator

Read more in November’s newsletter