My name is John McGowan and I am a Discalced Carmelite Priest. I am originally from London, born July 1950, one of seven children. Educated at the Redemptorist School in Clapham before beginning a six year career in Shipping & Fowarding.
I have now been a Discalced Carmelite for over 40 years. That’s a long time. I was 26 at the time and that seemed quite old. I was professed with three others, one of whom has gone to his eternal reward. I don’t actually remember that much about the day. I can recall it was sunny; that’s because we had the longest, driest summer in 1976 for many years. I remember longing for rain, even praying for it, as everything was dried up. It was the start of my life in Carmel. I thank God for it, because for several years before I joined I was wondering what to do with my life. I was working in a shipping and forwarding agency in London, my fifth move. I did not want to spend the rest of my life doing this but nor did I know what I wanted to do. So, I am grateful to God for inspiring me to join Carmel. It was a Jesuit priest who first put the thought of priesthood in my mind, then I saw a Benedictine monk at Ealing Abbey, who introduced me to the Discalced Carmelites. When I visited the Carmelites near Oxford, it was all very strange but I felt at home; I felt I was welcomed and accepted. So, I am so grateful to the Carmelites for accepting me. It has been good. I am so grateful for the many people I have met, and the places I have lived and ministered in: England, Scotland, Italy, Spain, the Holy Land and Malawi. I have seen many changes but essentially the Order is the same as the day I joined it. Now I am getting ready for the next 40 years