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Provide a Choir Enclosure for a Carmelite Convent in Albania
In February 2003, in Nenshat, Albania, the "Carmel of the Holy Family and Saint Michael" was formally consecrated. It is the first ever convent of the Discalced Carmelite Sisters in Albania.
It was Bishop Dodë Gjergji, who was at that time the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Sapa, where the convent is situated, who had first invited the Carmelite Sisters to come to Albania. He said at the time, "God wanted this convent, the Sisters agreed, and the benefactors helped – while many of the Catholic faithful of the region have actively helped it to become a reality. So for me this day is a day of joy."
The six Carmelite religious – four Croats and two Albanians – who made up the original founding community had come from various different convents in Croatia. ACN helped with a contribution of $108,500 for the foundation of the convent. Sister Veronica Anna was one of the "pioneers" of the new community. She said at the time, "As soon as I arrived here, I sensed immediately that a Carmel was needed.”
“We were able to make a spiritual gift to this country, since until then it could neither see nor hear. Everything that had anything to do with the Church was banned. Even to mention the Church could land you in prison. Priests were murdered and sisters were expelled. Hence our presence is a great gift for the people here and for me personally it is truly a blessing to be able to bring the light to this unique nation."
The Sisters have not yet been able to complete all the work on their convent and so have to finish the building of the enclosed choir within their church, for example. Since their vocation is to live in strict seclusion in the enclosure, it is essential for them also to have a separate area within the church where they can pray undisturbed and apart from the world during the celebration of Holy Mass and the Divine Office. This is becoming increasingly important, since the convent is attracting more and more visitors.
Since this element of the enclosure is an essential aspect of the contemplative life, ACN has promised a contribution of $16,300 so that they can build this enclosed choir.
Will you help us fulfill this promise to these Carmelites in Albania? We are sure they will remember you in their grateful prayers.
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