It is rather unusual to come across such "coincidences", and yet this is indeed the case of the foundation of this Carmelite convent, still located in Lourdes...
Let's put it in context...
Here we are in the depths of the Corrèze in the 19th century. At that time, the Carmelite Order was very dynamic, especially in Tulle. Having more and more vocations, the sisters of Corrèze founded the Carmel of Le Puy en Velay in 1860, then the one of Lourdes, sixteen years later in 1876.
A "random" date?
Mother Theresa of Jesus arrived in Lourdes, therefore, to "found" the community of the Carmel of Lourdes, on July 16, 1876. If you are familiar with Lourdes, you will have made the parallel with July 16, 1858, the date of the 18th and last apparition of Mary to Bernadette!
What a coincidence! And you will also have noted that this same July 16 is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel - the Carmelites' particular devotion to the Virgin Mary. In short, it seems that the date was not random!
A perfect place
In fact, to conclude in beauty, the current garden of the Carmel of Lourdes is located right where Bernadette saw the Virgin on July 16, 1858, an apparition that was not at the grotto!
Between prayer, music and... cookies!
But what about the Carmelite convent in Lourdes? Today, it has about twenty sisters who live withdrawn from the world, in strict respect of the enclosure. Recollection and silence are therefore part of their main characteristics of life, their vocation in Lourdes being to pray for the many pilgrims passing through the grotto of Lourdes.
But besides that, there is also the community aspect, especially for prayer and fraternal moments. They are also great musicians! Clarinet, flute, violin, accordion, organ, guitar, castanets, the sisters like to play a few notes, which they accompany with dance...
And yes, although they live in recollection, the feast days are sources of a joy that they express with simplicity!
In addition to all of this, there is of course manual work, which is an important part of any contemplative life. Indeed, they make and sell artisanal products that they distribute in their small store. Chocolates, cakes or small cookies, but also embroidered stoles, scarves and statuettes. Very strong these carmelites! You can buy here online the products of the Carmel of Lourdes.
A habit to spot
When you go to Lourdes, you will discover the Carmelites, all dressed in dark clothes. According to the instructions given by Saint Teresa of Avila, the great reformer of the order in the 16th century, the Carmelites wear a monastic habit that is meant to be simple. Each sister wore a black veil and a white cap or "guimpe" on her head, as well as a brown habit. To the main tunic, which constitutes the habit, is added the "scapular" which is also brown! This sober color represents poverty, and invites the sisters to put on humility and simplicity every day.
But the best thing is to go there: will you have the chance to see them?
17, route de Pau
65 100 Lourdes
Tel : 05 62 94 26 67
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator