Chronicles from Mount Carmel: Cardinal Bourne

This high prelate of the Church of England was a good friend of Fr. Francis of the Cross (Lamb). Both were English. Lamb was Vicar of Mount Carmel from 1918 to 1935. We believe he was appointed Vicar of Mount Carmel, in addition to his qualities as a religious, for being English. Since after the Great War (World War I), Palestine became an English protectorate.

Cardinal Bourne was a good ally so that the Order of Discalced Carmel could register his possessions of Mount Carmel. The Cardinal’s name was Francis Alphonsus Bourne. He was born on March 23, 1861. He was ordained a priest of the diocese of Southward (Great Britain). Of this diocese, he was coadjutor bishop and later holder. On September 11, 1903, he was appointed archbishop of Westminster. Elevated to Cardinal on November 27, 1911, with the title of Cardinal priest of Saint Pudenziana. He died on January 1, 1935.

The Vicar of Mount Carmel, P. Lamb, tell us: «At the moment I entered to our convent, in the parish of Haifa; they presented to me an announcement from the Military Governor, according to which the eastern part of the Carmel Mountain (which for more than several centuries is owned by the Order of Carmel) was declared a Public Park.

The next day, I was at the Military Governor’s home a little before 7.15 and he receives me telling: «You will be surprised to learn that S.E. Cardinal Bourne is my guest, and he wishes to see you ». His Eminence had approached Nazareth and on the way back, he had been delayed by a blowout, as normally happens after a war, by the poor state of the roads.

As we listen to him, Mr Governor tells me, among other things: «His Eminence the Cardinal has made me underline that he had made a mistake in declaring Public Park, the property of the Order of Carmel». In addition, he continues telling me that he did not want to take away the property of the Carmelites, unlike he had no other desire than to help us repair the robberies made by the local population during the war, and that he was willing to help us with his own funds.

I thanked him for his generous offer and ask him that if he could have a written certificate, that neither he nor the governor intended to take away the property from the Carmelite Order. (…)

We had just taken this happy agreement, when His Eminence arrives. The Governor tells him: «We have just finished, Fr. Vicario and me, to overcome the difficulties regarding the property of the Order, and we will work together to repair the damage and destruction done during the war». His Eminence shows us his satisfaction for the rapid solution of an issue that could have been delayed and entertained the new Vicar (…).

During the war, the Turkish government had confiscated the domain of the Fathers of Mount Carmel, also comprising the part considered by the Military Governor as a Public Park. Later, thanks to the influence of the first Civil Governor, all property was returned to us. So, he registered under the name of the Order of the Carmelites, dated November 14, 1921.

A year after his first visit, the Cardinal returns to visit Mount Carmel once again and gives us a beautiful photograph of him, which is dedicated: In perpetual memory of my visit to Mount Carmel, January 28, 1919. Francis Cardinal Bourne, Archbishop of Westminster.

Fr. Óscar I. Aparicio Ahedo, ocd

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