Back home, I used to visit the Carmelite Monastery in Bajada, Davao City Philippines. The serenity of the place invites direct connection with Him which during those times I needed even up to now, and I believed you either.
There is a place I wanted to be at. I have had heard even before about a monastery in Bangkok but for some reasons, I did not visit and chose to attend Mass almost every Sunday at the Holy Redeemer Church in Ploenchit. But there are times you feel you want to release something that it is in you that makes you weak emotionally. Stress from work, feeling alone, problems which is actually normal or feeling lonely ( empty I guess is the right word…OFW Life). Even the beautiful music played by your favorite live band cannot cure nor the lively city life cannot fill, this is the time you will seek refuge and that is how my tired feet led me to this holy place.
Last May 05, 2019 after almost a decade, I finally visited the place I have been missing for the longest time. Yes, right here at the heart of busy Bangkok- the Carmelite Monastery in Silom.
The Carmelite Chapel
As I stepped in, there was this feeling I felt I cannot describe. I stayed inside the Chapel for hours, undisturbed while surrendering to Him all my wearies. The prayer sanctuary is small, with a simple altar adorned with fresh lovely flowers and big Holy Statues standing against the walls. There is also a small candle lighting stand where you can light candles for your loved ones.
The religious place is just small (9,800 sq. meters) surrounded with high fence and trees. The gate is always closed, you have to press the doorbell and someone will open for you and that is how I met Sister Andrea. As she opens the small gate, her lovely smile greeted me. Upon introducing myself and telling her my intention, she confidently let me in. She was so accommodating. I asked some information about the Monastery and herself which she eagerly shared. The first Carmelite Sisters arrived in Bangkok in 1925. There are four old or I should say senior nuns assigned to meet visitors and 10 monk sisters which means you cannot see them. She is 56 years old and have been in the Monastery for 29 years and she is a Thai. Even if she was having some difficulties in speaking in English but she understands me. I shared to her some of my personal background including my downs in life. My tears flow down to my chubby cheek when she gave me some piece of advice and said she will pray for me. We talked for hours and we laughed too, it was like we have met before. When the heart speaks, there is no language barrier, only an understanding heart does wonder.
More than a Lovely Day
Before I left, I wrote and gave to Sister Andrea my prayer requests and she gave me a hug as I stepped out through the small door gate. It was more than a lovely day. I have shouted in silence all my loads I felt heavy and I know through Him is the only relief. We are humans and we are weak and only through Him we become stronger. Energized and feeling light as I walked off from the monastery. I feel blessed knowing where to seek solitude while in the busy life of Bangkok yet sometimes lonely life of mine (and you I guess). I shall see Sister Andrea again as promised.
If you wish to surrender the baggage you have been carrying for a long time, seek comfort , say your prayers or pray the rosary in a more quite place, visit the Carmelite Monastery. It is open everyday from 7 am to 6 pm. There is Mass every Sunday at 7 am and in Thai. How to get here: please note the steps below:
Take BTS and get off at Sala Daeng then proceed to Exit 2. Walk straight to Soi 14 (Convent Road). When you reached the corner, turn left and walk for about 200 meters, you will see the Carmelite Monastery opposite of St. Joseph Convent School. Gates are closed but find the small door and press the doorbell.