Carmelite Sisters

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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
Photography © by Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

The Day the Light Dawned

I am a Carmelite Sister who teaches 200 high school students daily during five class periods beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending about 2:30 p.m. Each of my classes has forty students. Each student is a cherished, never-to-be-repeated, unique human person. Each one of them has an immortal soul, so I can truly say that there are 400 souls in my […]

"The Prophet Elias" (detail) by Daniele da Volterra

A Prophet’s Legacy

Have you ever been the excited recipient of an inheritance? If so, you may have received money, property or a treasured family heirloom. As a high school student I became one of the beneficiaries of my paternal grandfather’s inheritance. Knowing that I had intended to go on to a Teacher’s College, he had investigated the tuition for the four years, […]

"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, […]

"Suffer little children to come unto me" (detail) by Juan Urruchi

Rediscovering Integrity for our Children

What is integrity? Integrity is a word that continues to fascinate me, and over the years the depth of its meaning grows within me. Originally, I understood the definition of integrity as an honest person. Later on, I realized that “integral” and “integrated” are forms of this word and have deeper meanings than just “honest” or “fair.” Our society considers […]

Help for My Children in these Perilous Times

Dear Sister, I have a question to ask you. I see a bleak future ahead of us in our country. I grieve over the loss of our traditional American values, slipping away one by one. What kind of a country am I handing over to my children?  What kind of advice, help, support, and tools can I give them that […]

"Sacred Heart of Jesus" (detail) by Chambers

Conforming Our Hearts to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

“Lord, open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise.” (Psalm 51:15) The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a glimpse into the heart of God because Jesus taught us that when we see Him, we see the Father. The veil is pulled aside, and when we gaze upon the Sacred Heart of Jesus which bears the marks of the […]

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

I Will Proclaim Your Praise

“Lord, open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise.” (Psalm 51:15) These words ring out in the chapel, breaking the silence of the early morning. It is still dark outside and our community of sisters, albeit still a bit bleary-eyed, has gathered to begin the day singing the Divine Office. The words of the psalms fill the air: “It […]

How to Overcome Worry by Trusting God

Dear Sister, I worry a lot. I worry about myself and my family. People sometimes tell me that I worry far too much.  I can’t help it. As a child, I was trained to be responsible and was held accountable by my parents. Now that I am married, have a husband and children of my own, my worrying has increased […]

"The Visitation" (detail) by Albertinell

Authentic Friendship—Learning from Mary

God made us for communion, and as women, we have been given an incredible gift. In fact our fundamental value as women is our ability to receive the other, our gift of receptivity that is characterized by our self-gift, giving the gift of presence. It is a special gift that is important in society today—that is to witness to the […]

Pray Always?

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) “Seriously? Pray always?” That is not an uncommon reaction to St. Paul’s admonition to pray always without ceasing. Does he know what we’re up against, the demands on our time and energy, the pace of our modern world, not to mention the fragility and inconsistency of our human nature? He can’t possibly mean always, as […]