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The community of the St. Albert’s International Centre (CISA) made its Lenten retreat in the Retreat Centre of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, in Focene (Rome) on the weekend of the 16th and 17th of March. This year the house’s commission for spirituality, made up of members of the community, chose the theme,” Discernment in life, from an open mind to an obedient heart” . The person who guided the retreat was Sr. Noemi Malagesi, O.Carm., the prioress of the Carmelite community of Carpineto Romano (Rome).  The warm welcome given by the sisters made for a very suitable environment for what was a brief but intense time of prayer, reflection, silence and sharing.

Discernment, in the view of Sr. Noemi, is something that has to be exercised throughout the whole of life. It means that we learn to listen to the voice of God in the great and small matters of life, and especially when choices and decisions have to be made. It means that we have to look at what is happening in our present world and read the signs of the times. Sr. Noemi’s numerous references to the Scriptures and to the Church’s tradition, espicially to St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Pope Paul VI,  helped us to understand how discernment helps the person to grow to maturity, enabling the person to give of self and to be of service to others. Discernment allows people to recognise the fruits of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5,22) and the gifts of the Spirit (cf. Is 11.1). Through proper discernment,  as individuals and in community, we learn to “fare bene il bene” (do well all that is good), and to overcome the fragmentation and dispersion that are so much part of life in the world of today.

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As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven. 

All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister."