Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Thérèse

History of Our Province
A brief history of the St. Therese Province of the Discalced Carmelite Friars

Beginnings
Our province of Discalced Carmelite friars began as a delegation from the Province of Valencia, Spain. Three friars from that Spanish province were thrown out of Mexico in 1914 by Pancho Villa, the revolutionary. They entered the U.S. at El Paso, Texas. After they had traveled many miles in the U.S., the Bishop of Oklahoma gave them permission to establish themselves in that diocese if they would undertake the care of the Mexican Catholics.

The three friars were Frs. Luis Benages, Bernard Brotons, and Cyril Corbato. Frs. Luis and Bernard had been classmates. Fr. Cyril, who was four years older than Luis, took charge of the two younger priests for he had more pastoral experience than they. Soon, Fr. Bernard wrote to their Father Provincial in Valencia, asking for Fr. Edward Soler, whom he had known in Mexico, as a superior more versed in the missionary spirit.

Fr. Edward, who was now in Cuba, sailed to New Orleans, where the Discalced Carmelites nuns had a guesthouse. While there he learned English well enough to tackle a train trip to Southeastern Oklahoma, where Frs. Bernard and Luis were ministering to the Mexicans. Fr. Edward decided they might as well lobby for a place in the capitol of Oklahoma City, which they did.

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