Eight months from the arrival of our Discalced Carmelite sisters in Panama, we share a brief account of their first steps in this Central American country:
“We arrived enthusiastically in Panama on January 23, 2017. The foundation was inaugurated on the 25th with the participation of Bishop Bertram Wick, Bishop of Santo Domingo in Ecuador, and Bishop Manuel Ochogavía, Bishop of Colón, who petitioned us to come and in whose diocese we are. The provincials of Central America and Colombia, the provincial delegate of Ecuador, many priests, religious from various communities, and laity were also present. They had yearned and prayed for many years for a convent of Carmelites in their country. There were about 500 persons present.
In these past months we have felt the warm welcome, closeness, and concern of the people who with generosity and affection have given us support as far as their means allow. Spiritually, we are fortified with the daily Eucharist and with the accompaniment of our Carmelite fathers, who help us live our life of prayer, fraternity, and work.
The place the Diocese has donated to us is very beautiful, full of vegetation (it is a part of a 21-hectare ecological preserve), and the silent environment helps us in our way of life. Here everything speaks to us of God. We also have a Shrine of the Blessed Virgin to which is affixed a small house with five rooms and an oratory where we pray the liturgy.
For our financial sustence we are planning to make hosts, since in the entire countrly only one community does this work, and we perceive the need to collaborate in this.
Until we receive the machines to make the hosts, in about one year, we have occupied ourselves with making scapulars and once a week, we bake bread which is sold in the church of our Carmelite friars. This small income is a help to pay for the host machines little by little. The Lord himself provides everything necessary for our projects, and we feel his care and love for us manifested through the generosity of the people.
We are currently working on the plans for our Monastery and searching for the means to build it, always trusting in his Divine Providence.
For our part, we are very happy that there is another tabernacle where the Lord is loved and glorified and that our Order and Teresian Spirituality is spreading.
We ask for your prayer so that we may faithfully accomplish the mission entrusted to us and witness to the Presence of God in the world, and especially in this particular church of Colón Kuna Yala.
Carmelite Nuns of Panama”