After years of preparation and experiences of mutual cooperation in various fields between the Italian monasteries, including through annual meetings of the prioresses, the Carmelite nuns belonging to three areas in Italy, namely the Italian, Neapolitan provinces and the General Commissariat of “La Bruna”, have agreed to formalize this process. At the last meeting of the prioresses held in Sassone from April 26 – 28 of this year, 11 of the 12 canonically established monasteries have decided to join the Federation.
The Apostolic See has granted the petition and on July 16, 2010 the “St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi Federation of the monasteries of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel was canonically erected in Italy, and it’s statutes approved. At the same time, Fr. Matthew Palumbo, O.Carm. of the Italian province was appointed for three years as the first chaplain. The Federation has taken the name of the Florentine saint, Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, the great Italian mystic whose life and doctrine could be an inspiration to this new reality. Preparations are already underway for the first assembly to hold elections and to set policies for the Federation, to be held in Sassone at the annual meetings of the prioresses, from March 28-31, 2011.
Overall, the Federation is “a forum for mutual support and coordination among the monasteries to help them adequately fulfill their vocation in the Church”. According to their statutes, the Federation of Italian nuns, following the path taken years ago, “aims to further promote cooperation, mutual assistance, spiritual support and genuine fraternal communion between the monasteries (…) either by the study of the problems of modern life, or through the exchange of services of all the monasteries of the Federation, especially those most in need.” The task of the Federation Assembly is twofold: to elect the management and coordination bodies (the president and four counselors) and to discuss important matters (issues and initiatives) of the Federation.
Issues to be addressed are currently being collected from the various monasteries. They will be organized by a committee and sent back together with the convening letter. The nuns can then discuss these issues and make concrete suggestion to be presented and voted upon at the assembly. Later, delegates will be elected from the various monasteries who together with the prioresses (ex officio members) are the decisive body of the Federation.
With the establishment of the St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi Federation, the number of federations in the Order has risen to five. Three are located in Spain: the “Mater et Décor Carmeli” Federation in the province of Andalusia and the General Commissariat of Portugal (10.12.1980), the “Mater Unitatis” Federation in the provinces of Castilla and Argo-Valentina (10.2.1980), and the “Verge Flower of Carmel” Federation in the province of Catalonia (16.12.1980). The Federation “Stella Maris” (09.21.1996) is part of the General Commissariat of the Philippines.
Like the other associations and unions between monasteries of nuns, we pray that this new federation helps them to further grow for their own sake and for the good of the Order and the Universal Church.