Carmelite Sisters

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

Author Archive Page
"Christ and the Woman of Samaria" (detail) by Paolo Veronese"Christ and the Woman of Samaria" (detail) by Paolo Veronese

If Only You Knew… St. Teresa and the Four Waters of Prayer

“If you knew the gift of God.” Jesus tired and thirsty sat down at a well and there encountered a Samaritan woman who had come to draw water. Asking her for a drink, “He said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, Give me a drink, you would have asked him and […]

Photography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Los AngelesPhotography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

Henceforth, You Will be Called

  “I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). Such joy! A baby is born. So innocent. So pure. So new. “What is the baby’s name?” you ask. In our Catholic tradition, parents are asked to give the name of a saint to their child. That saint becomes the child’s patron and most Catholic families read stories […]

"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez

Lift High the Cross

September 14 is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Each year when it comes around, I remember when Sister Carol Marie lifted high the cross in faith. It was late summer in California. The skies were a limpid blue. A balmy ocean breeze blew across the sand. Children were building sandcastles. Windsurfers cut like knives across the […]

Photography Copyright © by Carmelite SistersPhotography Copyright © by Carmelite Sisters

His Power

“Let us go forth to see ourselves in Thy beauty.” Postulancy is the first stage of religious life and no matter how old one is, or how much life experience one has, this initial introduction to life in the convent has a way of dismantling any existing illusions of self-sufficiency.  Religious life is a supernatural life of faith that is […]

infant-in-crib-featured-w740x493

Beauty of the Soul

“Let us go forth to see ourselves in Thy beauty.” Yes, a little tiny human embryo has an immortal soul, infused into it by God at conception. Of all the wonders of the world, of all that is pleasing to the eye, of all that the ear can hear, there is nothing , one as beautiful as the soul of […]

Photography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Los AngelesPhotography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

Solitude and Carmelite Spirituality

“Solitude is not an empty space, a void; it is an encounter with the God who loves us…” Dear Sister, What aspect of Carmelite Spirituality do you find most helpful for your prayer? Dear Friend, The short answer to your question is solitude. Here is the longer answer… Since all prayer begins with adoration, the environment surrounding my prayer must […]

woman-praying-profile-featured-w740x493

How do I tell my parents?

Ask A Carmelite Sister — “How do I tell my parents?” The urging in your heart won’t be silenced. You know that you must tell them. But as soon as you start thinking about how to go about it, your hands get all sweaty and your heart begins to pound wildly. You pray for help. Surely there has to be […]

"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo

The Difference Between Humans and Animals

“What made you establish man in so great a dignity?” A couple of weeks ago I was at a farmer’s market on a lovely spot right by the ocean. One of the booths that featured woodwork had a carved sign display saying: “Animals are People Too!” Certainly, I don’t think the author of that statement meant for us to take […]

"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory" (detail) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory" (detail) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

“Flower of Carmel” — A Truly Beautiful Prayer

Every year on July 16, Carmelites throughout the world celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelite Order.  If you want to know how we feel about Mary, our Mother, spend a few minutes reflecting on one of the most beautiful prayers ever written, the Flos Carmeli. Most of us pray—before meals, morning and/or night prayers, […]