Monday, 14 July 2008

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Years ago, when I used to work in a Sixth Form College, we'd have broken up for the Summer holidays by now and this would mean DH, myself and my intrepid MIL would be valiantly exploring the parched, staggeringly beautiful and vast region of Andalucia (S Spain). This would be a cheap holiday as other relatives had a flat out there we could use and I'd usually cook all the meals (Lancashire folk just can't get their stomachs round to eating when the Spanish eat).

We'd be there for the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and also take in the feast days of St Martha and St Mary Magdalene. The fishermen on the coast have a big devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Her statue can be seen being taken for a boat ride and a stroll along the prom at many of the coastal towns. It seems strange that the vision of a medieval English friar has left such a massive mark on people so very removed from the time and the place of St Simon Stock.

The fishermen want her protection. Most of the fishermen I have seen take part in these processions are hard looking men whose eyes are red and narrow from too much salt. There is great devotion and reverence, even in the brashest holiday destinations. The photos here are taken from other sites, I still don't use a digital camera and I dislike scanners, if anyone recognises one of their picture and wants credit or wants me to take them down, I will do so. There were no credits attached.

Though I've mentioned before that I often struggle to feel Our Lady in my life, I never tire of looking at Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Virgen del Carmen watches me from above my desk. She is of the earth, she is dressed in brown, she is a direct link back to the Prophets, she is veiled, yet she wears a crown and she and her Son together offer us the scapular (such powerful battle dress for those that take up the devotion).

I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. Ecclesiasticus 24- from the Mass of the Feast

This is my last week in my current place of work. I really don't want to be there after all that has happened, I'm ready to go. DH still has to find permanent work, we still have to sell this house, these are not good times! I've never been one for believing in "better times around the corner", we have to live in the present, but it is all rather uncertain and tiresome at the moment.


Tom in Vegas said...

Well, Rita, I have a bunch of relatives living in Asturias. Perhaps one day you, DH, and myself can sit down together close to a shore, or a paradisiacal countryside and enjoy a good meal. BTW, you'll still be doing the cooking:0)

Tough times are indeed tough. You know, the first time you wrote about this situation and the changes that are taking place as a result, I thought of one of C.S.Lewis' most beautiful poem. It's taken from the Four Sonnets, and he writes about the type of uncertainty you might be experiencing. I've tried desperately to look for it on-line, but I can only find a small fragment of it, with the best parts excluded. I do have a copy of it in a book dedicated to the poetry of C.S.Lewis, but unfortunately it’s inside a box in storage (in the U.S., anything that’s in “storage” is typically being warehoused at a location different than your house). I must look for it and share it with you. In the meantime, I will keep you in mt prayers.

Jackie Parkes said...

Fabulous post...happy Feast Day..

Sister Mary Martha said...

I'm glad to have found your blog! I love Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

And I was just mentioning St. Rita today! Love that picture you have.

Rita said...

Welocme back Jackie, haven't heard from you for ages!

Tom, it is a good job I like cooking!

Sr Mary Martha, Well what can I say? A visit from one of my favourite bloggers...glad you dropped by.

Maxima said...

Well said.