For God…For Others

by Sister Maria Goretti, OCD

Photography © by Carmelite Sisters

Photography © by Carmelite Sisters

“Sisters, there is nothing in our life that can’t be for others.”

These words of Father Patrick Angelucci, SDB, the main celebrant and homilist for First Profession, continually run through my mind as I reflect on the meaning of my First Profession of Vows. Since First Profession, I daily reflect on the tremendous grace that my Spouse has so generously poured out upon me. My life is no longer mine. No, it belongs entirely to Jesus, my Community and the Church. Through my consecration to Jesus, my entire life has become one continuous act of worship—a statement of which I will never be able to completely plumb the depths. I am His bride, His beloved. I am all His and He is all mine. This is such a beautiful truth to reflect upon and as I continue to pray over this I realize that this must find concrete expression in my daily life, especially in my interactions with others.

As Sister Gianna and I joyfully processed out of the Chapel at the end of our vow ceremony having just received Jesus for the first time in the Holy Eucharist as His brides, I cannot help but think how fitting it was that we were the first ones to practically speed our way out of the Chapel. We had just been espoused to Jesus and we were commissioned to go forth in haste, like our Blessed Mother, to bring Him to the world! Yes, like her we are called to be “Christ-bearers”, as our beloved Mother Judith so wisely reminded us when we received the Holy Habit on the feast of the Annunciation. My hands must be His hands and my feet, His feet. But most of all, may it please Him to give me His Heart. The tremendous efficacy of the grace of my consecration can never be for me alone. Christ belongs to all people, so too do I belong to all people. His whole life was for others and I pray daily that not a single moment of my life will be wasted in useless worry or distraction so that I may also assist Him in His work of salvation for the whole world with as much love and fervor as I can. To be the spouse of Jesus means that as Saint Paul says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

There were so many special graces on Profession day, including having my beautiful family and religious Community present to witness my espousal to Jesus (the “best Son-in-law in the world” as my Mom loves to call Him!). My parents are the ones who first fostered a love for our Lord in my heart and the rest of my family helped to deepen this love throughout my life. It was only fitting that they should have a front-row seat to witness the blossoming of the seed that they had planted in my heart years ago.

I will never come to the end of my gratitude to God for the gift of my religious vocation, particularly to be a Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. As Sister Gianna and I turned around to process out of the chapel, I saw a sight that I can never forget: over a hundred of my Sisters looking back at us, smiling at us, loving and praying for us. Here was fidelity looking back at me, a radiant glow reflecting from their faces which can only come from knowing, loving and generously serving the Beloved – and now I join them in running the race in the spirit of our dear Mother Foundress, Mother Luisita.

Yes, there is nothing in our lives that cannot be for others and may it please God that by His grace this will be true in my own life.

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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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