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Fifth Centenary Celebration Unifies Faithful through Spirituality, Technology and Music

7/22/2014 - 3:15 PM PST

Catholic PRWire

Reno, NV (July 22, 2014) - This year marks the 500th year since the birth of Saint Teresa of Avila -- reformer of the Discalced Carmelite Order, Roman Catholic saint and first woman Doctor of the Church -- with the 500th anniversary of her birth on March 28, 2015.

In commemoration of this upcoming fifth centenary, the Discalced Carmelites are having a year of celebrations in her honor throughout the world.

The Discalced Carmelite family of the western United States is inviting the public to attend the first, an early celebration called, "The Creative Spiritual Genius of St. Teresa of Avila Today," taking place in San Jose, Calif., August 21 through 23.

This three-day celebration will feature presentations by each branch of the Discalced Carmelite Order (Nuns, Friars, Seculars, Affiliates), a banquet, a special Eucharistic celebration and three world premieres: A concert, which will include an opera scene composed and performed by world-renowned Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick; and two virtual choirs comprised of members of the Discalced Carmelite Order from around the world.

A virtual choir is an assemblage of voices from around the world compiled into a single choir. Through means of technology, barriers between continents dissolve as Discalced Carmelite Nuns and Friars from their own monasteries, and Secular Carmelites from their homes, submit an audio/video recording of themselves singing their part in a "virtual" choir.

More than 250 Carmelites from 23 countries are participating in the virtual choirs, including the Superior General of the Carmelite Order: Fr. Saverio CannistrÓ, OCD.

Scott Haines, the producer of Eric Whitacre's virtual choir sensation Lux Aurumque (which has received more than 4 million YouTube views since its 2010 premiere), will produce the two virtual choirs of Carmelites: Nada Te Turbe, a Spanish piece sung by contemplative Discalced Carmelite Nuns world-wide, and Salve Regina, with lyrics in Latin sung by the nuns, friars and seculars.

Both pieces were composed by Sister Claire Sokol, OCD -- a member of Carmel of Reno and one of the moving forces behind the San Jose celebration.

The virtual choirs will be available on YouTube at beginning August 24, 2014.

"For the first time in our history, Carmelites from around the world will be able to literally and physically SEE each other singing as one choir unified through the use of technology, one family in all our diversity," said Sister Claire Sokol, OCD, composer of the two virtual choir pieces. "Saint Teresa was a great communicator in her own time. I believe she would be pleased to see her daughters and sons using technology in a way that unifies, builds up and inspires."

Work has already begun on a documentary produced by KNPB Channel 5 Public Broadcasting, the PBS Member Station in Reno, Nevada. The program, scheduled to air in late 2014, will capture the planning process, the production of the virtual choirs and the San Jose celebration itself, with interviews of key players including Haines, Sister Claire, Zajick and other participants. KNPB plans to offer the program for national distribution.

"This three-day event will provide a variety of doorways through which St. Teresa can be encountered today," said Cherry Caparas, a member of the secular Order of Carmelites and the coordinator of the San Jose celebration. "We hope that this celebration, which will include music, poetry, drama and the visual arts as well as prayer, will act as a conduit for each participant's unique encounter with St. Teresa, whose spirit is still very much alive after 500 years!"

For further information, and to register for the San Jose event, please visit

About Saint Teresa of Avila

Saint Teresa of Avila -- also known as Saint Teresa of Jesus -- was the reformer of the Discalced Carmelite Order, a mystic, a writer and the first woman Doctor of the Church. She is widely regarded as a friend to all who seek God in Spirit and Truth. During the dramatic years of her activity in founding 15 monasteries of nuns throughout Spain, Teresa resolved innumerable intercommunity, financial, legal andspiritual problems -- all while dealing with her own poor health. After 20 years of intense service to the Church, she died at the age of 67 -- though her teachings, wit and wisdom have transcended the centuries.


Estipona Group  NV, 89510 US
Mikalee Byerman - Director of Audience Engagement, 


St. Teresa, Fifth Centenary, Discalced Carmelites, Nuns, Catholic Church, Catholicism, Virtual Choir



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