Ask a Carmelite — Is There a Difference Between a Nun and a Sister?

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

Dear Sister Timothy Marie, Sister Timothy, are you a nun? Dear Friend, Well, I do wear a long brown habit and I have professed three vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty, in consecration to God forever. But am I a nun?  My name is SISTER Timothy Marie. But am I a nun? Here is the answer. In a practical, everyday […]

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 […]

Pray Always?

"Road to Emmaus" (detail) by Robert Zünd [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“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 in, all the time and […]

Don’t Worry—Trust 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 […]

Into the Deep—Flower of Carmel

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

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, […]

Into the Deep—Bearing One Another’s Burdens

Photography by Helena Lopes

We hear the word “tolerance” a lot these days, but what exactly does it mean? It seems the word itself has been largely redefined to mean the opposite of what it used to mean. Today, the word “tolerance” means that one is no longer allowed to hold opinions with which other people do not agree. Let’s take a step back […]

A Convert Struggles with Mary

Blessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail) Artwork © by Jef Murray

Dear Sister I just recently became Catholic and I’m still struggling with the Church’s teachings on Mary. I respect her, but I don’t feel the need to ask her for prayers if I can just ask God directly. Do you have any suggestions on how I can have a relationship with Mary? Dear Friend, Yes, I do! Being a convert […]

Sacred Heart of Jesus and You

"Sacred Heart of Jesus" (detail) by Chambers

“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 […]

Practical Prayer Tips from the Carmelite Sisters

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

Dear Sister, Is there a best time to pray, given all the activities each day holds for me—working at my job and caring for and being with my family makes a very full day? Also, I’m not fully awake first thing in the morning and already mighty tired by the time I lay my head on the pillow. I thought […]

Crossing the Threshold of Holy Week

"The First Eucharist" by Juan de Juanes

It caught me by surprise that the Carmelite Sisters keep a complete and prayerful silence during the Holy Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, not speaking until the conclusion of the evening Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday. I remember when I was the “new kid on the block,” a recently-arrived postulant who was learning more and […]