Christmas Letter

    The English Convent        Christmas 2018 - New Year 2019

Dear Families and Friends,

This year has seen several changes in the life of our Congregation and of our Community. Sr. Françoise, who resides in Butare, Rwanda, was elected Prioress General during the  General Chapter, celebrated here in Bruges in April. Our own Community elected Sr. Mary Aline as Prioress. She succeeded Sr. Teresa Joseph who had valiantly held the helm for just over 20 years. Our prayer of thanksgiving accompanies her.

Canon Paul Depuydt, who had been our Chaplain for 39 years, died on 30th October, just 3 weeks after having happily celebrated his 90th birthday. The words of Guido Gezelle,(his 19th century predecessor), ” I am happy that I think that I have always lived in simplicity and Truth” could so well be applied to him. His Funeral took place in a Cathedral packed with about 50 members of his large family and of innumerable people whose lives he had touched. He had been a priest for 65 years. May he rest in peace.

We also hold Sr. Mary Victor of Yprès an our friend Mr. Vogels, Mrs. Grace Jones and so many other friends in our prayers. R.I.P.

We have made the important decision to reduce our living space to simplify our community life.  The former Infirmary building near Thomas à Kempis courtyard is being adapted. It was the original building.  We will be back there to celebrate the 390th anniversary of our foundation in 2019!

A small group of lay people, who are seeking to make Religious Life in Bruges better known, have a project. It is  called ’Sacred Books– Secret Libraries’. It involves the Carmelite Fathers as well. As with all our projects these last years, it is being closely followed by our competent and devoted Advisors.

Some of us have visited others communities and followed Sessions both in Belgium and further afield.

The communities in Rwanda and Tanzania are progressing well: the Aspirants, Postulants and Novices are deepening their Faith as they live our community life, centred round the life of the Church, imbibing our Spirituality. 

We collect used postage stamps still stuck to the envelope! After sorting, we are able to sell them by the kilo for a good price to help Rwanda.

The illness and death of our Chaplain has incited great generosity among a number of priests of the diocese who come to celebrate Mass here each day. This encourages us to pray more for all of them.

We would also like to thank our Helpers and to all those who help us benevolently in the garden, at the door, in the laundry and in other ways. Nothing escapes God’s eyes!

We even had an idea!  If any of you feel inspired to help us in any way they can possibly think of, they would be kind to fill in the little attached paper!

‘The Lord says - your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go’.  Is 48:17.

We send our good wishes and our prayers as Christmas approaches. May the Emmanuel accompany us all with light and Joy during this time and throughout 2019.

The English Convent,    Carmersstraat 85,    8000 Brugge     Belgium