Virgo Flos Carmeli
The Clerical Society of Apostolic Life Virgo Flos Carmeli consists of members of the Heralds of the Gospel who received the call to the priesthood after dozens of years of community life. It aims at a further blossoming of evangelizing activity, as outlined in Article III of its statutes:
“The Society is born as an expression of the charism of the Association Heralds of the Gospel, with the specificity of the priestly vocation, and expresses the intention of acting in unity of method and aim with the same association, particularly that the faithful, who feel attracted to this charism—especially those living in community—may receive ministerial assistance. (PC 10).”
There are also some members in this society, who without embracing the priestly vocation, have collaborated in its charism and mission for years in the various activities of apostolic and community life.
The origins of this group date back to the 1970s, when Monsignor João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, then a lay person, together with some Carmelite terciaries of the sodality Virgo Flos Carmeli (Carmelites of the Old Observance), initiated an experience of community life in an old Benedictine monastery in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. They divided their time between prayer, study and periods of silence with the aim of obtaining better fruits of evangelization. To more firmly identify this life with the choice of celibacy and religious flexibility, they used, among themselves, the habit of Carmelite terciaries, particularly for the recitation of the Little Office of the Immaculate Conception in the community chapel.
Not all of the first companions of Msgr. João Clá felt called to religious life. However, following his guidance, a group of young people established a Rule of Community Life in 1976, (commonly called an “Ordo”), which, over the years, developed and gave way to the Constitutions and Regulations now in place. Over subsequent years, following their example of community life, other groups of young people joined the first, not only in São Paulo, but also in other cities throughout Brazil and in other countries of the three Americas and Europe.
At the outset, the members of Virgo Flos Carmeli, consecrated themselves to the Blessed Virgin, according to the method of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, living out this surrender through the practice of celibacy, of submission of goods to be used by permission of the superior, by community life, silence, prayer, study, and by willingly undertaking works of apostolate.
This Consecration, renewed before the whole community in the chapel, marked the incorporation into the group of consecrated members, with the firm intention of assuming respect for the Rule of Community Life and with the manifest desire to proceed to take the vows of perfect obedience, integral chastity and complete poverty.
The emergence of priestly vocations formalized the desire to give adequate juridical form to this decades-long experience, as expressed in its statutes: “The Society aims to unite efforts toward evangelization and catechesis, collaborating in the “spreading of the Gospel throughout the world,” by means of fraternal life under the sign of charity, with the ardent desire to see that the supplication of the Church, by order of Jesus Christ, repeated for twenty centuries be accomplished: “adveniat regnum tuum.”
The first ordinations to the priesthood took place on June 15, 2005. One month later, the Most Reverend Lucio Angelo Renna, O.Carm., Bishop of Avezzano, signed the decree of erection of the Virgo Flos Carmeli, a diocesan public association.
At the first meeting for the election of the superior general, held on September 19, 2005, in the papal sacristy of the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, the founder, the Very Reverend Monsignor João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, was elected superior general.