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Saints and Confraternities

Today is the Feast of Blessed Bartolomeo Fanti, a little-known Italian Carmelite who died in 1495. He was known for his love of the Eucharist and for his great love for Our Lady. He wrote the statutes for the Confraternity of Our Lady in the Carmelite Church of Mantua. These Confraternities were once very common in Catholic cultures, and they do still exist, but I would say with a somewhat low profile in these islands. I found on the Net for example that there is a Confraternity of the Holy Rosary and a Confraternity of St James (promoting and encouraging and resourcing pilgrimages to Compostela). The ethos of Confraternities seems to be rather similar to the ethos of the lay movements attached to the great Religious Orders - Dominicans, Franciscans, Rosminians and others all have lay branches, not to speak of ourselves. (Carmel has of course the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular, but I don't know whether this actually goes with groups and organised meetings and a structure.) At all events, we Secular Carmelites ourselves are surely a kind of worldwide Confraternity.

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