Sharing in the Spirituality and Life of the Carmelite Sisters

by Sister Timothy Marie, O.C.D.
Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

Our world needs prayer… It is crying out for love.

Mother Luisita, foundress of the Carmelite Sisters, wrote, “For greater things you were born.” She teaches us how to give God the first place in our lives and how to grow in our union with Him. She calls us back to our dignity as children of God made in His Image and Likeness. She draws us into the Eucharistic presence of Jesus Christ, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist, reserved in the tabernacles of Catholic Churches so that we may adore Him and receive Him in Holy Communion. Mother Luisita helps us discover or rediscover that we, too, are tabernacles of the Indwelling Holy Trinity, teaching us how to call to mind this presence during the ordinary duties of daily life. She also shows us how to affirm and respect the dignity and worth of each person by ministering to body and soul through prayer and the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The Carmelite Sisters continue that work today.

Associated with the Carmelite friars and cloistered nuns, Mother Luisita’s Carmelites are consecrated religious, following the Carmelite rule according to the specific charism given by God to Mother Luisita who “lived for Christ, taught by example, and offered herself in sacrifice in silence.” As Carmelites, they lead lives of contemplation blended with apostolic works as needed in the Church, and of reparation for the sins against Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. They help others grow in their union with God by means of prayer and by sharing with them the great treasure of Carmelite spirituality, which is based on the Gospel teachings about prayer, pure and simple. In addition, they spiritually support families in their task of preserving and passing on the Faith to their children, especially in times of religious persecution and always, in obedience to the magisterium of the Church.

Why did God want this new Community to be affiliated to the Carmelite Order? Why did He give Mother Luisita this specific charism? Perhaps, although we can never know the mind of God, it was because many of the people in our world are fast forgetting that above everything else, God made us for Himself.

Carmelite spirituality brings us back to this basic truth and helps us, like Elijah the prophet, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. John of the Cross, to come into the presence of the living God.

It shows us how to prepare ourselves to meet Him face-to-Face, for Carmelite spirituality prepares the Bride, the Church, to meet the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, Who is coming soon.

To learn more about the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, read their biography in the left-hand sidebar and visit their website (link provided at the bottom of the bio).

They publish a beautiful print magazine, Spirit of Carmel, and we encourage you to support the work of the sisters with your prayers and through donations and subscriptions to the Spirit of Carmel.

If you are able to help them, please click on the image of their magazine to visit their subscription and donation page.

– ICL Editors

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About the Author

Promoting a Deeper Spiritual Life Among Families through Healthcare, Education and Retreats

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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