Meet Our New Contributing Writers – Carmelite Sisters

We are pleased to introduce our new contributing writers, the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart (of Los Angeles). I first met these wonderful and gracious sisters when I attended the National Catholic Bioethics Center’s Conference held at Santa Teresita Hospital in Duarte, California in November, 2005.

“Santa Teresita is a Catholic non-profit organization that dates back to 1930 when the Carmelite Sisters established a tuberculosis sanatorium for young women and girls.  Santa Teresita Hospital opened in 1955 and numerous medical services were added over the years. In 2004, the focus of care at Santa Teresita changed to short and long-term care for the elderly.”

The sisters will be writing on a variety of topics, with a focus on Carmelite spirituality. Each article will provide an opportunity to subscribe to their print magazine, Spirit of Carmel.  Their motherhouse is located in Alhambra, California, just down the road from Duarte.

Their first article will appear on Sunday, November 21, 2010.

About the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart:

“The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles strive to give striking witness as a vibrant, thriving community of dedicated women with an all-consuming mission. It is our God-given mission, a mission of the heart, a mission of loving service to the poor, the sick, the needy and the uneducated. Our loving service overflows from each sister’s profound life of prayer. We strive to reflect His life and hope and His promise to all that light has come into our world and darkness has not overcome it.

“A look at the history of our community, with its motherhouse in Alhambra, California, reveals how its life-giving presence has come about. During the beginning decades of the 1900s just as the epic Mexican revolution was subsiding, a ruthless religious persecution was gaining momentum in Mexico. This horrible persecution accompanied the birth and humble beginnings of our community, a legacy that Mother Luisita, our foundress, and her two companions brought with them as religious refugees entering the Unites States in 1927.

“Those seeds planted by Mother Luisita, now a candidate for sainthood, have taken deep root in the United States since those early days. People and places have changed throughout the years, yet the heart of our mission remains. As an autonomous religious institute since 1983 we continue to carry out our loving service in our healthcare facilities, retreat houses and schools which remain to this day centers of life and hope. Today we are moving forward together “Educating for Life with the Mind and Heart of Christ” in schools, being “At the Service of the Family for Life” through health and eldercare and “Fostering a Deeper Spiritual Life” through individual and group retreats. At the heart of our vocation is a passionate mission of loving service which facilitates our life-giving encounter with the living God.

“The heritage of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles is rooted in the spirituality of Carmel, the Gospels, the Church, with our particular charism derived from our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

“In His merciful goodness, God has graced our Institute with the Carmelite charism which has its roots in a long history and living tradition. The spirituality of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross is rooted in this tradition. Carmel means enclosed garden in which God Himself dwells. The divine indwelling in the soul is the foundation of Teresa’s doctrine. Thus our vocation is a grace by which contemplation and action are blended to become an apostolic service to the Church.

“Our ideal finds a living expression in the life and charism of our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament, whose spirit we faithfully preserve and foster.

“Our life is characterized by:

  • A life of prayer and union with God
  • A deep love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist
  • Devotion to our Blessed Mother
  • Steadfast fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church
  • Praying for priests
  • Commitment to works of the apostolate in ecclesial service”

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About the Author

Deacon Michael Bickerstaff is the Editor in chief and co-founder of the The Integrated Catholic Life.™ A Catholic Deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Deacon Bickerstaff is assigned to St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church where he is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization.

He is a co-founder of the successful annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference; the Chaplain of the Atlanta Chapter of the Woodstock Theological Center’s Business Conference; and Chaplain of the St. Peter Chanel Faith at Work Business Association and co-founder and Chaplain of the Marriages Are Covenants Ministry, both of which serve as models for similar parish-based ministries.

He and his wife have two adult children, one daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.

NB: The views I express on this site are my own. I am not an official spokesman for either my parish or diocese.

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