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Carmelite 1

Veiled Nuns

Sister Cora-Ann from the Benedictine convent „Our Lady of Grace“ in Dayton (Ohio) should at the beginning of May 2011 have been bullied by other passengers to leave a plane because she was looked upon as a Muslim and because her prayers said in Latin was interpreted as „Taliban speech“. So tells Daniel Boyd’s Blog and the Huffington Post anyway. Further in spring this year (2015) a pilot from a major American airline decided, during a flight from Houston (Texas) to Portland (Oregon), to make an extra stop in Salt Lake City (Utah), to expel a family from the plane with a, according to reports, quiet fifteen year old autistic girl (Source: Fox News – among others). Accounts like these are far from unlikely in "the land of endless possibilities“; this shows from Huffington Post's odd humor which characterizes a story like that about sister Cora-Ann as „Comedy“. If comparing the habit of a Benedictine nun with the dress of a Muslim woman it is immediately obvious what low value the highly praised religious freedom has in reality:

Schwester Cora-Ann vom Benediktinerinnenkloster „Our Lady of Grace“ in Dayton (Ohio) soll Anfang Mai 2011 von Mitpassagieren aus einem Flugzeug gemobbt worden sein, weil man sie für eine Muslimah und das von ihr in Latein gesprochene Gebet für „Talibansprache“ hielt. So jedenfalls berichtet Daniel Boyd’s Blog und die Huffington Post. Und im Frühjahr dieses Jahres (2015) entschied sich ein Pilot einer großen amerikanischen Airline, auf dem Flug von Houston (Texas) nach Portland (Oregon) eine Zwischenlandung in Salt Lake City (Utah) einzulegen, um eine Familie mit einer sich dem Bericht nach ruhig verhaltenden 15-jährigen Autistin des Flugzeuges zu verweisen (Quelle: Fox News – und andere). Es ist nicht viel unmöglich im Land der „unbegrenzten Möglichkeiten“; da beweist die Huffington Post schon seltsamen Humor, indem sie eine Geschichte wie die der Schwester Cora-Ann als „Comedy“ bezeichnet. Vergleichen wir die Tracht der Benediktinerin mit der Kleidung einer Muslima, dann wird schnell klar, welch geringen Stellenwert die hochgelobte Freiheit der Religionsausübung tatsächlich hat:

Fratinon Cora-Ann de la benediktanina monaĥejo „Our Lady of Grace“ en Dayton (Ohio) laŭdire forpelis komence de majo 2011 la ceteraj pasaĝeroj el aviadilo, ĉar ili kredis ŝin islamanino kaj la Latinon de ŝia preĝo „taliba lingvo“. Tiel raportas la „Huffington Post” kaj la blogo de Daniel Boyd. Kaj dum printempo de tiu ĉi jaro (2015) decidis la piloto de granda usona flugkompanio, surteriĝi survoje de Houston (Texas) al Portland (Oregon) en Salt Lake City (Utah), por elĵeti familion kun 15jara aŭtisma filino. Kvankam tiu kondutis laŭ la raporto tute trankvile (fonto: Fox News kaj aliaj). Ne multo maleblas en la lando de la „senlimaj eblecoj“; tiel pruvas la „Huffington Post” jam strangan humoron, publikante historian kiel tian pri fratino Cora-Ann en sia rubriko „Comedy”. Se ni komparas la kostumon de benediktanino kaj la vestaĵon de islamanino, rapide evidentiĝas, kiel malgravas fakte la tiel ofte laŭdita religia libereco:

Nun hijab cartoon

Politicians of all views have for years poisened the public climate with their manic headscarf hate speech. They would be disabused if they just would take a quick glance in the Bible, 1st Corinthians chapter 11 verses 5-7 (Standard King James Version):

  5But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

  6For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

  7For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

and connect it with 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 17:

  17Pray without ceasing.

In addition it was for centuries long accepted by Christian believers that nuns concealed their faces. The most recent example of this is referred to as the „Barefoot Carmelites“. The Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel or Carmelites, which was founded in 1150, was in 1562 reformed by Saint Teresa of Ávila and Saint John of the Cross. After decline of the order due to neglection of their rules Teresa tried to take the sisters back to a life following the original the Rule of St Albert. This got a mixed reception. The disputes in the end led to a final split of the Carmelite order by the end of the 16th century.

Vergiften doch Politiker aller Parteien seit Jahren das gesellschaftliche Klima mit ihrer manischen Kopftuchphobie. Dabei würde sie schon ein kurzer Blick in den ersten Korintherbrief (1 Kor 11, Verse 5 bis 7) und im Zusammenhang damit in den ersten Thessalonicherbrief (1 Thess 5, Vers 17) eines Besseren belehrt haben. Zudem war es von gläubigen Christen über Jahrhunderte hinweg akzeptiert, daß Nonnen ihre Gesichter verbergen. Als bis in die jüngste Vergangenheit hinein reichendes Beispiel seien hier die „Unbeschuhten Karmelitinnen“ genannt. Der um das Jahr 1150 gegründete Orden der Brüder der allerseligsten Jungfrau Maria vom Berge Karmel wurde 1562 von St. Teresa von Ávila und St. Johannes vom Kreuz reformiert. Nach dem Niedergang des Ordens durch Vernachlässigung der Regularien versuchte Teresa, die Schwestern zu einem Leben nach der ursprünglichen Ordensregel des St. Albert zurückzuführen. Sie traf dabei nicht nur auf Begeisterung. Die Streitigkeiten führten schließlich zum Ende des 16. Jahrhunderts zur endgültigen Spaltung der Karmeliten.

Politikistoj de ĉiuj partioj venenas dum jaroj la socian etoson per sia mania kaptuka fobio. Sed jam rigardo en la unuan epistolon de la apostolo Paŭlo al la korintanoj (1 Kor 11, 5 - 7) kaj kuntekste en la unuan epistolon al la tesalonikanoj (1 Tes 5, 17) instruus ilin pri kontraŭo. La ‚Codex Iuris Canonici‘ el la jaro 1917 preskribis, surmeti kaptukon por Sankta Meso, kio validas dum aŭdiencoj de la Papo ĝis hodiaŭ. Cetere estis ankaŭ inter kristanoj dum jarcentoj vaste akceptita normo, ke la monaĥinoj kovras sian vizaĝon. Ekzemplo etendiĝinta ĝis la plej juna pasinteco estas la „Senŝuaj Karmelaninoj“. Ronde de la jaro 1150 estis la ordo de la fratoj de la plej beata virgulino Maria de la monto Karmel fondita. St. Teresa de Ávila kaj St. Johano de la Kruco reformis ĝin en la jaro 1562. Post kiam la ordo malprosperis pro neglekto de la reguloj, provis Teresa rekonduki siajn fratinojn al vivo laŭ la origina orda regularo de St. Albert. Ŝi rikoltis ne nur entuziasmon. La kvereloj kondukis fine de la 16a jarcento al definitiva dispartigo de la karmelanoj.

In „The life and letters of St. Teresa” by Henry James Coleridge (first volume, published by Burns and Oates London, second edition 1893) from page 162 and forward is a letter to Don Lorenzo de Cepeda in Quito:

In „The life and letters of St. Teresa” von Henry James Coleridge (Erster Band, herausgegeben vom Verlag Burns and Oates London, Zweite Ausgabe 1893) finden wir auf den Seiten 162 ff. einen Brief an Don Lorenzo de Cepeda in Quito:

En la libro „The life and letters of St. Teresa” de Henry James Coleridge (unua volumo, dua eldono de Burns and Oates London, 1893) ni trovas sur la paĝoj 162 kaj sekvaj leteron al Don Lorenzo de Cepeda en Quito:

„… I have already written you a long account of an affair which I could not help undertaking for reasons with which God had inspired me. I dare not explain myself more clearly here. I will only say that certain holy and learned persons think that I am bound to set aside all fear and to do my utmost that this affair may succeed. There is a question, as I told you, of founding a convent where there are to be only thirteen nuns, without possibility of increasing the number; they are to keep a very strict enclosure, to speak to no one except with their veils down; and lastly, they will have to be much given to prayer and mortification. I will enter into greater details in my letter which I shall send you by Antony Moran when he leaves here. …”

At the end of the letter she wrote: „Today is two days before the first day of the year 1562.” This was 30th December 1561 according to the Julian calendar. In this letter St. Teresa limited herself to three items to describe the characteristics of the order in the future: The convents should be small and stay small, the nuns had to live in strict seclusion and conceal their faces in the presence of strangers. Most imortant they should devote themselves to prayer and mortification.

Am Ende des Briefes schreibt sie: „Today is two days before the first day of the year 1562.” Demnach war das am 30. Dezember 1561 nach dem julianischen Kalender. In diesem Brief beschränkt sich St. Teresa auf drei Punkte, um die Besonderheiten des zukünftigen Ordens darzustellen: Die Klöster sollten klein sein und bleiben, die Nonnen in strikter Abgeschiedenheit leben und in Gegenwart Fremder ihr Gesicht verbergen. Und sie sollten sich vor allem dem Gebet und der Mortifikation widmen.

Je fino de la letero ŝi skribas: „Today is two days before the first day of the year 1562.” Do estis la 30a de decembro 1561 laŭ la julia kalendaro. Por priskribi siajn pretendojn al la estonta ordo, St. Teresa limiĝas je tri punktoj: La monaĥejoj estu kaj restu malgrandaj, la monaĥinoj vivu en severa retiriĝo kaj kovru dum ĉeesto de fremduloj siajn vizaĝojn. Fine ili dediĉu al preĝo kaj mortifikacio.

Carmelite with bell

Then it was commonly accepted that nuns concealed their faces. Because of that St. Teresa did not need to explain her words „with their veils down“. Despite this she spoke of the face veil right from the beginning to emphasize how import it was to her (page 233 of „The life and letters of St. Teresa”):

Damals war es allgemein akzeptierte Norm, daß Nonnen ihre Gesicht verhüllen. Daher brauchte St. Teresa ihre Worte „with their veils down“ nicht zu erläutern. Trotzdem nennt sie den Gesichtsschleier mit an erster Stelle und betont damit, wie wichtig er ihr ist (Seite 233 von „The life and letters of St. Teresa”):

Tiam estis ĝenerale akceptita normo, ke monaĥinoj kovras sian vizaĝon. Tial St. Teresa ne bezonis klarigi siajn vortojn „with their veils down“. Tamen ŝi nomas la vizaĝan vualon unuavice kaj substrekas tiel, kiel ĝi eminentas por ŝi (paĝo 233):

„ … The observance of cloister was to be as strict as might have been expected from St. Teresa, who had herself experienced so many of the dangers of intercourse with those outside the convent walls. The grille was not to be opened, or the nuns allowed to raise their veils to speak with any but the nearest relations and a few persons of interior spirit and edification of life and character. The object of the conversations which were allowed was to be the good of the soul alone. The novices might be freely visited, for St. Teresa wished it to be seen that they were in the house of their own good-will, and might leave it if they chose.”

For four hundred years the sisters of her order followed these rules. In the internet forum phatmass.com (thread "Great/grate Veils Of The Discalced Carmelite Nuns" - 3 pages) someone got this answer when interviewing a Carmelite nun:

Darin folgten ihr die Schwestern ihres Ordens vierhundert Jahre lang. So berichtete jemand im Forum phatmass.com (Thema "Great/grate Veils Of The Discalced Carmelite Nuns" - 3 Seiten), was sie/er hierzu von einer Karmeliterin zur Antwort erhielt:

Je tio la fratinoj de la ordo sekvis ŝin dum kvarcent jaroj. Tiel raportas iu en la forumo phatmass.com, kion ŝi / li eksciis de karmelanino:

„We assume that what you call the Great Veil, is actually the Parlor Veil that you are referring to. In the times of Our Holy Mother St. Teresa, she and other cloistered nuns would wear these veils covering their faces completely when meeting persons outside the cloister, particularly on her journeys when setting up new foundations of Carmelite Nuns. …”

For completeness it should be told that St. Teresa together with St. John of the Cross have founded monastaries for munks as well. But reading on:

Der Vollständigkeit halber sei hier erwähnt, daß St. Teresa zusammen mit St. Johannes vom Kreuz ebenso Mönchskloster gründete. Aber lesen wir weiter:

Por kompletigo ni aldonu, ke St. Teresa fondis kune kun St. Johano de la Kruco ankaŭ monaĥejojn por fratoj. Sed ni daŭrigu la legadon:

„… The purpose of these parlor veils was to maintain the spirit of the cloister even when certain duties were necessary to perform outside the cloister. This spirit was and continues to be a spirit of detatchment from the things of the world and being set apart from the world in order to maintain intimate converse with their Spouse, Jesus Christ.
Carmelite life is also a hidden life, and St. Teresa tried to even maintain this aspect of our life in tact when one needed to leave the enclosure. It also helps maintain recollection, custody of the senses, and maintaining religious decorum outside the monastery. In the days of St. Teresa, this was a very common practice and widely accepted as the norm since all of Europe was still predominately Catholic. …”

Staying within the privacy of ones own four walls, also when leaving it – here the perceptions of the holy cloistred nuns meet with that of Muslim women. This is also found in the book of Henry James Coleridge (page 437 and 438) where it says:

Sich die Privatsphäre der eigenen vier Wände auch dann zu erhalten, wenn man sie verläßt – dabei treffen sich die Vorstellungen der als Heiligen verehrten Katholikin mit denen von Muslimen. Das findet man auch bei Henry James Coleridge (Seiten 437 und 438) bestätigt:

Konservi al si la privatecon de la propraj muroj, kvankam oni forlasis ilin – je tio renkontiĝas la pretendoj de katolikanino honorigata kiel sanktulino kun la tiuj de la muslamanoj. Konfirmon pri tio troveblas ankaŭ ĉe Henry James Coleridge (paĝoj 437 kaj 438):

Carmelites Friedrichstadt Sankt Knud

„ … The journey was always made, if possible, in litters or closed coaches, and it is said that she had herself once met with some rudeness when she had travelled otherwise. She made a point of giving the impression everywhere that her nuns were people of quality, who were to be treated with consideration on their road. As soon as the journey had begun, all were to behave as if in the convent itself. They were never to lift their veils where anyone could see their faces. She herself always spoke, even to women, with her veil down, unless there was some strong reason to the contrary. There was always a bell that the times of silence and prayer might be observed. An hour-glass was taken, to measure the time accurately. When the bell had rung for silence, it was observed by all the company, not only by Teresa and her nuns, but by the priests and seculars, and even the servants who accompanied them.”

The charisma of St. Teresa and her sister nuns outside their own convents was clearly only possible because they followed their rules of living inside the convent while travelling as well. Doing this made their principles visible to everyone living at that time.
The West had in contrast long ago offered its ideals for profit and striving for power. We have for decades let the tabloid press poisen the social climate. We find it completely normal that a government lie to the parliament and the people. And like a duck take to water we close our churches: When this year the Heilig Kreuz church in Neumünster was closed down the local press asked the buyer about his plans for this plot of land. His answer was that he did not know but something which matches the surroundings.

Die Ausstrahlung von St. Teresa und ihrer Schwestern außerhalb des eigenen Klosters war offenbar nur deshalb möglich, weil sie ihrer klösterlichen Lebensweise auch unterwegs folgten. So standen sie für jedermann sichtbar zu ihren Prinzipien und lebten sie ihren Zeitgenossen vor.
Der Westen hat demgegenüber seine Ideale längst dem Profit und dem Machtstreben einzelner geopfert. Wir lassen es seit Jahrzehnten zu, daß die Schmierenpresse ihrer Auflagen willen das gesellschaftliche Klima vergiftet. Wir finden es völlig normal, daß eine Regierung Parlament und die Bevölkerung belügt. Und wir reißen mit der allergrößten Selbstverständlichkeit unsere Kirchen ab: Als in diesem Jahr Heilig Kreuz in Neumünster geschliffen wurde, fragte die Lokalpresse den Käufer, was er mit dem Grundstück vorhabe. Seine Antwort war, er wisse es nicht. Irgendetwas, was sich in die Umgebung einfüge.

La laboro de St. Teresa kaj siaj fratinoj estis tiel efika, ĉar ili ankaŭ ekstere ne rezignis pri sia monaĥeja vivmaniero kaj siaj reguloj, sed modelis ilin videble por ĉiuj siaj samtempuloj.
Kontraŭe la okcidento rezignis delonge pro la profito kaj la potencarogo de unuopuloj pri siaj idealoj. Ni toleras de jarcentoj, ke la klaĉgazetaro venenas pro sia vendokvanto la socian etoson. Por ni ne estas eksterordinara, ke la registraro mensogas al parlamento kaj la civitanaro. Kaj per pleja memkompreneblo ni detruas niajn sanktaĵojn: Kiam la dragmaŝino neniigis ĉijare la preĝejon ‚Heilig Kreuz‘ (Sankta Kruco) en Neumünster, demandis lokaj ĵurnalistoj la aĉetinton, kion li entreprenos per la grundo. Li ne scias, diras li: Konstrui ion, kio harmonios kun la cirkaŭaĵo.

In the phatmass.com forum one can read that not all of St. Teresas ideas were well received either:

Im Forum phatmass.com sieht man aber auch, daß nicht alle mit St. Teresas Vorstellungen glücklich waren:

La forumo phatmass.com montras ankaŭ, ke ne ĉiuj feliĉis pri la ideoj de St. Teresa:

„One of the former prioresses at Cristo Rey (who just passed away on Pentecost this year, and was one of the holiest people I have ever met!) told me she was VERY glad that they had done away with the face veil. She felt they were unsafe, even though they may have been 'filmy'. She told me at one point when they were still worn, she had been sent around with a workman who was working inside the enclosure. (She was one of the few truly bilingual sisters, and was very much in the forefront of the construction of the Cristo Rey monastery for that reason in the 1950s.) She said that she had an 'odd feeling' about him while she accompanied him with the hand bell (let me know if you don't understand that reference), although he was verbally pleasant enough. She couldn't see too much through that veil... but she accompanied him as he moved through the house. After he had left, still feeling something just wasn't right, she went back and found he had left open bowls of acid all over the place.
… Sometimes there really are practical reasons for re-considering some of those customs …“

Asiatische Nonne

For sure. But one must not throw his principles overboard because of this. Not because of the zeitgeist. And certainly not because of a criminal.
One could for a change leave a narrow slit between two scarves. Just like the nun from South East Asia shown to the left, who with a simple piece of white fabric adapts herself to the local ways, without renouncing her Catholic faith. With a constant yielding one gets neither the respect of others, nor will be left in peace, but rather it leads to more demands.

Sicher. Nur muß man deswegen seine Prinzipien nicht gleich über den Haufen werfen. Nicht wegen des Zeitgeistes. Und schon gar nicht wegen eines Verbrechers.
Man konnte ausnahmsweise zwischen zwei Tüchern einen schmalen Schlitz für die Augen frei lassen. So wie die Nonne aus Südostasien im Bild links, die sich mit einem einfachen Stück weißen Stoffes den lokalen Gepflogenheiten anpaßt, ohne sich deshalb als Katholikin zu verleugnen. Mit stetem Nachgeben erwirbt man bekanntlich weder die Achtung des Gegenübers, noch wird man in Ruhe gelassen, sondern handelt sich nur die nächsten Forderungen ein.

Certe. Sed pro tio ne necesas rezigni pri siaj principoj. Ne pro la tiutempa spirito. Des malpli pro krimulo. Oni escepte povintus lasi rigardo-fendeton inter du tukoj. Tiel, kiel la sudasia monaĥino ein la bildo maldekstre, kiu uzas simplan pecon de blanka ŝtofo por konveni al la lokaj kutimoj, sen malkonfesi sian kredon. Per daŭra cedado oni akiras nek respekton, nek trankvilon, sed provokas nur pliajn postulojn.

A third Carmelite nun tells in the phatmass.com forum:

Von einer dritten Karmelitin wird in dem Forum berichtet:

La forumo citas pri tio trian karmelaninon:

„Our Enclosure veils were of fine muslin type fabric, which effectively hides one from view but permits enough vision to the one wearing it, not be a danger.
We wore them for public Mass and for any occasion when in sight of the general public, ie, when accompanying a Sister in the Parlour. On Profession days we had permission to put back our veils in the parlour, and that was the only time people got to see our faces …”

Let us once more take a look at „The life and letters of St. Teresa” (page 305):

Werfen wir hierzu noch einmal einen Blick in „The life and letters of St. Teresa” (Seite 305):

Tiurilate ni refoje rigardu en „The life and letters of St. Teresa” (paĝo 305):

„Teresa, when she went to Toledo to negotiate with Dona Luisa, had with her the two nuns already mentioned, Anne of All the Angels and Antonia of the Holy Ghost. She sent for four more from Avila Mary of the Blessed Sacrament, Mary Magdalene, Isabel of Jesus, and Isabel of St. Joseph. These last four were taken from the Convent of the Incarnation, and the fact shows us that the little band of devoted friends whom St. Teresa had left behind her in her first convent was by no means exhausted. Thus she was able to recruit her new foundations without diminishing or greatly disturbing the community at St. Joseph’s.

When all was concluded, Dona Luisa took them all with her to Malagon, where they lodged in the castle until the house was ready to receive them. It was on Palm Sunday, a day to which Teresa had a great devotion, that the solemn founding of the convent took place. The parishioners came in procession to receive them, and the nuns walked in their white mantles, and with their veils over their faces, to the Church, where a sermon was preached, and then the Blessed Sacrament was carried in procession to the new house. It was a day of much devotion, and the people were greatly moved. This new convent, like that at Medina del Campo, was dedicated to St. Joseph. There were now, therefore, three convents of the Reform to attest St. Teresa’s devotion to the blessed spouse of Mary.”

More from the last quoted Carmelite nun above:

Und weiter von der letzten im Forum zitierten Karmelitin:

Kaj pli de la lasta karmelanino, citita en la forumo:

„When I entered, we had a big thick double grille in the Parlours, but it was replaced, when I was a novice, by a simple single lattice. Very soon after we were permitted to be in the Parlours without our enclosure veils too. Then the double grille came down in Chapel and this was replaced by a thin muslin curtain. In fact it was much harder to see the Sisters through the muslin than it had been through the grille – but this was because we did away with our enclosure veils for Mass. This was in 1970.”

Once again as a reminder from „The life and letters of St. Teresa” (page 233):

Noch einmal zur Erinnerung „The life and letters of St. Teresa” (Seite 233):

Ankoraŭfoje por memorigo „The life and letters of St. Teresa” (paĝo 233):

„… The grille was not to be opened, or the nuns allowed to raise their veils to speak with any but the nearest relations and a few persons of interior spirit and edification of life and character.”

Looking at the websites of the Carmelites today it nowhere shows how important the veil was to their Holy Mother Teresa of Ávila.
Is seeing through a piece of black muslin so awful when the sisters would wear it for four hundred years?

Sieht man sich die Internetseiten der Karmelitinnen an, so weiß nun scheinbar schon niemand mehr, daß (und um so weniger weshalb) das ihrer Heiligen Mutter Teresa so wichtig war.
Kann denn der Blick durch das schwarze Musselin so schrecklich gewesen sein, wenn die Schwestern vierhundert Jahre lang damit umzugehen wußten?

La retpaĝoj de la karmelanoj kaŭzas la impreson, ke jam neniu plu scias, kio (kaj des malpli pro kio) estis konsiderata tiel eminenta de ilia Sankta Patrino Teresa.
Ĉu la rigardo tra nigra muslino povis esti tiel terura, se la fratinoj kapablis elteni ĝin dum kvarcent jaroj?

Research and German text by Peter, July 2015
English translation of Peter's text by Bo_Emp.

Zusammengestellt und kommentiert von Peter, Juli 2015

Aranĝita kaj komentita de Peter, julio 2015