Pope Francis greets several Apostolic Carmel Sisters at Sacred Heart School Pope Francis greets several Apostolic Carmel Sisters at Sacred Heart School  (Vatican Media) #SistersProject

Apostolic Carmel Sisters grateful to receive Pope’s message of unity in Bahrain

As Pope Francis meets with young people at Sacred Heart School, the Superior General of the Apostolic Carmel Congregation, Sr. Maria Nirmalini, expresses her joy to welcome the Pope to Bahrain's only Catholic educational institution, which five of her sisters run in Awali.

By Devin Watkins and Linda Bordoni

“Pope Francis’ powerful message of unity within diversity that includes all people of all faiths is what we need to hear.”

Sr. Maria Nirmalini, Superior General of the Congregation of the Apostolic Carmel expressed this belief while speaking to Devin Watkins at Holy Mass on Saturday morning in Bahrain's National Stadium.

Her congregation works in many countries where Catholics are a minority, including her own country – India – where Apostolic Carmel Sisters teach in schools and run health services across the sub-continent.

All in all, Sr. Nirmalini says, the Order runs over 200 convents in India and abroad, working in ten different countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Kuwait, Bahrain, Italy, France, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The efforts of her congregation's sisters, she says, are focused mostly in education and in works of medical assistance, such as running clinics, dispensaries and day-care centers.

In particular, in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Apostolic Carmel runs the Sacred Heart School in Isa Town. Five Sisters are entrusted with management and logistics with the precious support of lay persons. The school is affiliated with the Sacred Heart Church in Manama.

The importance of spirituality

Pope Francis, Sr. Nirmalini says, is a precious reference point and a source of inspiration.

“To be apostolic we need to be grounded in spirituality.”

Furthering this concept, she upholds the beautiful image of a tree that Pope Francis referred to in his first discourse after setting foot in Bahrain.

He described the “Tree of Life” that has survived in a “desert area with very little rainfall thanks to its deep roots,” and whose roots need to go deep in order to absorb the nutrients from the soil.

“So it is for Apostolic Carmelites: we are very active but we need to be very grounded in our spirituality and in our charism.”

Listen to Sr. Maria Nirmalini

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05 November 2022, 14:34