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COMMUNITY LIFE

Community life, as set forth in the Rule of Carmel and renewed by Saint Teresa, follows the example of the primitive Church. It requires that the sisters who have been called to form the little College of Christ should help one another advance toward sanctity. Their supreme law must be the love which the Master enjoined on His disciples, the very love which He proved in giving His life for us. When this mutual love is put into practice, it is a proof of authenticity of their life of prayer. It ensures for them the presence of the Lord in the midst of the community ~ Constitutions No. 87

"There are three things that last: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love"
~ 1 Corinthians 13:13 ~

Saint Teresa taught a community lifestyle which is that of a small family in which all are evangelically equal, relations are open and sincere, joys and sorrows are shared, and the members are committed to one another as sisters for their entire lives. All must be friends, all must love one another, all must be cherished, all must help one another, to create a joyful atmosphere that sets everyone at ease, an atmosphere that accords with the sisterly style of life and recreation that they have in common ~ Constitutions No. 88

"All must be friends, all must love one another, all must be cherished, all must help one another"
~ Saint Teresa ~

Fraternal life in community is an essential element of religious life. The relationship of communion is the manifestation of that love which wells up in the heart of the Father and is poured into our hearts by the Spirit, whom Jesus has bestowed on us. Fraternal communion reflects God’s own way of being and bestowing himself; it testifies to the fact that God is love. The consecrated life professes to believe in, and live by, the love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The community thus becomes a graced reflection of the God who is a Trinity of Love ~ Vultum Dei Quaerere Nos. 24, 25

"In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone"
~ Saint John of the Cross ~

Before being a human construction, religious community is a gift of the Spirit. It is the love of God, poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, from which religious community takes its origin. In order to understand the religious community, it is essential we start from its being a gift from on high, from its being rooted in the very heart of the Trinity, Who wills it as part of the mystery of the Church, for the life of the world ~ Cf. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor No. 8

"Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends "
~ John 15:13 ~