To call the recently concluded General Assembly ordinary would be to downgrade it. For it is anything but ordinary and unexceptional.
As the first General Assembly after the Sacred Congregation gave us Cor Orans last year, it was the most opportune time and occasion to study the significant and radical changes the document made in our lives, in our communities and as an Association.
And as only a loving and merciful Father would design it, we had the Secretary General for the Nuns, Rev. Fr. Rafal Wilkowski, and a Canon Lawyer himself for four days to explain the document and patiently answer our questions.
It was also the first General Assembly for the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Kuching, East Sarawak, Malaysia since their acceptance to the Association last May 16. For us, Filipina Carmelites, it was equally the first General Assembly to try to break the language barrier, forgetting ourselves and our natural inclination to express ourselves in our native tongues.
The first few years of the Association was spent in bridging the gap between the federated Carmels and non-federated Carmels, more popularly known by two points in the compass. The South Federation willingly dissolved itself to give way to the Association on 14 June 1983.
The Association has grown in age and in spirit and has now spread its wings to include a sister Asian Carmel to face together the challenges of the present times as presented by Vultum Dei Quaerere and Cor Orans.
Aside from the task of revising its Statutes, the Assembly signified its desire to be an authentic “structure of communion” by changing its name.
The road ahead looks challenging, even intimidating but the novelty and radicalness of some of the norms could be exciting. And what makes the 13th General Assembly momentous is the fact that our efforts today will serve the Carmelites who will come after us. May all our endeavors follow closely the footsteps of Our Holy Mother, who declared, “I am a daughter of the Church.”