To me, this picture of Our Lord’s Holy Face is a perfect representation, the essence of what the Carmel of the Holy Spirit, Kirk Edge, Sheffield, in the UK – my home!, please God! – is. The Holy Spirit in the picture represents the name of the this Carmel and the wind that is heard and spiritually felt when you are in their public chapel. The wind that is out side – given they are located on the moors (a la Wuthering Heights!) and are in a beautifully, pretty much isolated area – is “felt spiritually” in a way as you can hear it blowing around the chapel and buffeting the glass stained windows and you hear it spiritually, emotionally as it calls to mind the in the Gospels and rosary books for the Glorious Mysteries of the Descent of the Holy Spirit: “…”there came from Heaven a sound similar to that of a violent storm or mighty wind and it filled the entire house in which they were sitting”. Sitting, praying in their chapel, hearing the strange, strong, and, at times, violent sounding wind made me feel the Holy Spirit blow through and around me.
The Holy Face of Jesus portion of this picture is a deep and special devotion for me and I was blessed to be given this as part of my religious name title. As this Carmel, as some others do, I was given my religious name BEFORE I enter. I am to be Sr. Mary Maravillas of Jesus and the Holy Face (see early posts on this) – after St. Maravillas of Jesus my favorite Carmelite saint and the Holy Face my favorite devotion.
The crown of thorns circling Our Crucified Lord’s head is the crown of thorns Jesus gives His Carmelite brides to wear as, like the empty cross on the wall over a Carmelite nun’s bed in her cell denotes, she is to place herSELF on this cross to be in union, be one with her Beloved. There are many crosses, sufferings and “thorns” that can prick one’s life as a Carmelite from many different fronts. But when she is totally abandoned, surrendered to God, these crosses, thorn pricks and sufferings are so many joys, graces and blessings!
The Sacred Heart has many meanings in relation to Kirk Edge Carmel. Some are: this Carmel, out of all the Carmels founded by the foundress, Mother Mary of Jesus, truly have the full deposit of her heart, the Carmel she intended to found and DID found in the UK. The bishops in her time asked her to ONLY found the true Carmel that was traditional and authentic to the Carmels of St. Teresa of Avila’s reform and only her original Rule and Constitutions (back then they were the 1582 Constitutions, known now as the 1990 Constitutions approved by Pope John Paul II). As the Carmel she came from, the Carmel Rue d’Enfer in Paris, was living this life (founded from a Carmel that Bl. Anne of St. Bartholomew – St. Teresa’s close companion, or “BFF”! – founded when she came from Spain), that is the ONLY Carmels she suffered long and hard for many years to found. Unfortunately, only the Carmel of Kirk Edge has kept her 1990/1582 traditional, authentic Carmel of St. Teresa of Avila. The others in the UK have gone to the mitigated 1991 constitutions. The 1991 Carmels report to the local Carmelite Friar General while the 1990s (Kirk Edge and other 1990 Carmels in the US and elsewhere) report to the Holy See. So Kirk Edge Carmel has the Sacred Heart of Our Lord and the heart of St. Teresa and Mother Mary of Jesus at IT’S heart and life.
Please God, I will enter soon and henceforth be called Sr. Maravillas! in this beautiful Carmel where in spirit and joy, I am sure St. Teresa of Avila walks the corridors and adores Our Lord in choir in the Mass, mental prayer and the Divine Offices with her faithful daughters who desire with all their hearts to live the Carmel she worked hard and suffered to found.