From the 19th to the 23rd of August 2014 the first part of the Carmelite European Youth programme “Awakening” took place at Casa São Nuno, Fatima, Portugal. In all there were 58 participants from the Spanish provinces, Ireland, The Netherlands and Portugal. Also participating were the novices from the European Carmelite Novitiate at Salamanca and a group with the Hermanas de la Virgen Maria del Monte Carmelo.
The “Awakening” Project, which was presented at the General Chapter of 2013 and supported by the European Provincials, is part of an on-going engagement with young people in Europe in Carmelite spirituality and history. This intensive programme of formation at Fatima was led by the Carmelite European Youth Committee, Sabrina Rubio Perez, Aoife Merrins, Victor Navarrro Poncela and Carmelites Luca Sciarelli, Dave Twohig and Tommaso Bacci, and coordinated by the General Councillor for Europe, John Keating. Speaking during the meeting were the Prior General, Fr. Fernando Millán Romeral (on Saints Nuno and Edith Stein and Blessed Titus Brandsma), Fr. Michael Plattig, (on Prayer with reference to Saints Teresa of Avila and John of Cross), Sister Rosario Alvaros, HVMMC (on the Virgin Mary in our tradition) and Fr. Desidero García Martínez (on the Carmelite Rule, history and tradition). Fr. Raul Maraví, Councillor General for the Americas also participated and helped with translations. During the gathering the group visited Batalha a place connected with the life of Saint Nuno, and they concluded their programme by participating in the Saturday evening candlelit procession at the Shrine of our Lady of Fatima.
The event was made possible through the generous hospitality of the Portuguese General Commissariat. The Commissary General, Fr. Ricardo dos Reis Rainho and the director of Casa São Nuno, Fr. Agostinho Marques Castro were present throughout the meeting.
The second part of the programme for the Carmelite “Awakening” Project will take place in August of next year (2015) at San Felice del Benaco, Italy. This second part is intended for the other half of the European Geographical Area - the Italian Provinces, Malta, Germany, Poland, France and the Czech Republic.