Why Should I Go on a Retreat?

Dear Sister, Can you answer a question for me?  Why do people need or even want to make a retreat? I’ve never understood that, given the wonderful options I have right here at home through my parish, and, of course, the vast array of media opportunities we have now. Sincerely, Curious Dear Curious, I can think of TEN great reasons […]

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

How Can I Become a Better Catholic Husband and Father to my Family?

Dear Sister, I’ve been reading your answers to questions on Integrated Catholic Life™ and have been playing with the idea of writing you a question that I’ve been thinking about for many years. It’s about my family. I don’t consider us bad Catholics, nor do I consider us to be devout “pillars of the parish”. We are just a regular […]

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

Lord, Open My Lips and My Mouth 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 […]

Photography Courtesy of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

December by Candlelight

Every day we look forward to the gift of another dawn as the sun begins to peek through the curtain of the night to bring the vibrancy of color back to us yet again. It is a ritual of sorts, isn’t it? When the first blush of the dawn greets the dark cloak of the night sky and slowly but […]

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

Practical Prayer Tips from the Carmelite Sisters

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 […]

A Dozen Thank Yous

I can still hear it—the sound of the old car horn and the commotion in the house as my sisters and I scrambled toward the door trying to make it to the car before it drove off without us. It was the same ritual, or shall I say “ordeal,” every morning before school. Mom was always up before the rest […]

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

Carmelite Spirituality—Solitude and Prayer

“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 […]

St. Teresa's Interior Castle

The Interior Castle: Saint Teresa’s Diamond

The De Beers Jewelry marketing slogan of “Diamonds are Forever” might have been a perfect catchphrase for Saint Teresa’s “Diamond”, better known to us as the Interior Castle. However, this company was not yet around in 1577 when she was ordered to write another book. “Forever” was a well-chosen word because of the properties and symbolism inherent in the diamond. […]

St. Thérèse of Lisieux (left) and St. Teresa of Avila (right)

Teresa and Thérèse—Saints Who Scaled the Heights

Two Doctors, Two Ways, One Goal Many of you probably have seen the 1965 film entitled The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp and Christopher Plummer as Captain Von Trapp. The first verse of the theme song goes like this: Climb every mountain, Search high and low, Follow every highway, Every path you know. Do you […]

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Once Upon a Day of Prayer | Rediscovering St. Thérèse

A Reflection on the Little Way of St. Thérèse of Lisieux Every month each Carmelite Sister steps aside from her daily service to God’s people and makes a one-day spiritual retreat. To most of us, this single day out of each month is dearly loved and longed for. We meet and work with a lot of people on a daily […]