Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Thérèse


This blog offers news, reflections, and ramblings from the woods and hallways of Marylake Monastery, our province's house of prayer in rural Arkansas.

~Fr. John Michael Payne, OCD


In Memoriam


Fr. John Michael Payne, OCD, a Discalced Carmelite Friar of the Oklahoma Province of St. Thérèse, has passed away on January 8, 2017.

For those of you who frequent Blog Central, you would know him as one of our regular bloggers. To those of you who knew him even before he started Memos from Marylake, you would also know him as a Carmelite Friar, a priest, a brother, a friend.

It is a grace that Fr. John Michael died on the Feast of the Lord's Epiphany – a feast of the marvelous and glorious manifestations of the Lord. Let us pray that Fr. John Michael ever see the Lord face to face and live with Him forever.

As a memorial to Fr. John Michael, we will keep Memos from Marylake available for viewing. It will be henceforth in 'archived mode' – no further posts will be made. You may, of course, leave your thoughts, share your prayers, and comment, at the end of this post.

More information on his death will be forthcoming on our Provincial website, www.carmelitefriarsocd.com.

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(Belated) Happy Feast Day

Here’s wishing all of you (belatedly) a happy feast day of our Lady of Mt. Carmel. This mural, pictured here, is in our [O. Carm.] Carmelite parish., Iglesia de San Isidro, in Valencia. The artist is Paco Baños.

Happy birthday to Fr. Sam Anthony Morello (82 on the 15th), and Fr. Jenaro de la Cruz (76 on the 16th).

Happy anniversary of Profession to Fr. Henry Bordeaux in 1955, Fr. Ralph Reyes in 1961, Br. Bernard Joseph O’Neill in 1983, Fr. Stephen Sanchez in 1984, Frs. Bonaventure Sauer and Marion Joseph Bui in 1986, Fr. James Curiel in 1989, and Fr. Gregory Ross in 1990.

Happy priestly ordination anniversary to Fr. Stephen in 1992.

Hope I got all the anniversaries accounted for. May Our Blessed Mother bless ya’ll.

It has been, so far, an interesting journey, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to share it with all of you. You’d not find in all the world a better Carmelite province than ours.

And a final thank you to Our Lady for killing Saint Bonaventure on July 15, 1274, at the Council of Lyons, thus preserving her Carmelite Order’s entrance into the church’s garden of religious orders.


Written by Fr. John Michael Payne, OCD
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Late May in Marylake


It was one of those beautiful spring days this year as we celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi. Fathers Provincial and Ralph had come to visit on Friday in preparation for Sister Lucia’s jubilee Mass Saturday afternoon. It was her silver jubilee of profession, and their chaplain, Fr. Lawrence Fredrick’s golden jubilee as a priest. Our community at Marylake attended. The next day on Sunday morning, I concelebrated our Corpus Christi liturgy with the Provincial and Ralph at an early hour so they could hit the road to St. Louis by 8 O’Clock. I made them breakfast after Mass which delayed their departure by 10 or 15 minutes.

Spent the rest of the morning just enjoying the beautiful spring day. Everything was so calm and peaceful. What is that saying? “It’s always calm before the storm.” During siesta my i-phone’s weather app started buzzing, but I ignored it twice because it likes to interrupt my sleep by telling me it will start to rain in 15 minutes. No big deal. Except this time it was a big deal. By the time I got up from siesta, a major storm was in full force barreling down on us. Apparently Marylake was targeted for a circular swirl of congregating fronts coming in from two opposing directions. Jerome and I looked out the scullery door and saw sheets of rain coming in from the east; then coming in from the west. Jerome later found puddles of water on the floor of the chapel where the sheets of rain had come in from the north. Then we looked out the kitchen window to see a huge tree down on the road right where Father Provincial had his Toyota parked just hours before.


He got out just in time. Raphael then came to tell us another tree had fallen blocking the road to our carport.


Seven or eight years ago, a novice removed a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from a garden area on the east side of the monastery, and carried it to the bellstone in our circular driveway. Without any permission to do so, he used the historic millstone under our outside bell as a pedestal for that statue.


Although it was a nice enough statue, its placement on top of that millstone had always irked me. And the only reason I never moved it was that it was a very heavy statue, more easily moved by a strong young novice than by an weak-backed old friar like me. Well God kind of answered my prayers when He took down that tree in back of the bellstone.


Not only was the Sacred Heart knocked off its pedestal, but was decapitated in the process.


No one knew where our dog Basil sheltered out this major storm. We found him after it was over sitting on the felled tree under the bell, as if he had something to do with the fall of this mighty oak.


I claim a purple heart for clean-up efforts as I stumbled over a flooded curb and lost my big toenail.


Asked by the community if the loss of that toenail hurt, I thought back on the experience and realized the loss of my dignity splashing down on the mud soaked ground was what hurt the most.


Written by Fr. John Michael Payne, OCD
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