Wisdom for Families Struggling in Stressful Times

Ask a Carmelite Sister…

Dear Sister,

I heard that Mother Luisita, your foundress, wrote letters of spiritual direction in code during the religious persecution in Mexico. Have they been decoded? If so, does she have any spiritual direction for families, helping them stay close to God especially during hard and stressful times? That is what my family is experiencing now, and we are looking for sound, practical advice.

Please, if you have anything, can you put it in your next “Ask a Carmelite Sister” post? I know many Catholic families who would appreciate this.  Thank you very much.

Dear Friend

Thank you for your most timely question and I’m sure a lot of people would also be interested.

Mother Luisita lived at a time when it was against the law to practice the Catholic religion. Churches were boarded shut by the government. Tabernacles were emptied. Spies lurked on street corners to apprehend priests, religious sisters, lay people – anyone who still believed in God.

One newly beatified priest who was killed during that persecution was Blessed Miguel Pro, a Jesuit priest who was martyred along with his two brothers. It was because of this religious persecution, that our founding sisters were forced to remove their religious habits, wear regular street clothes, and go into hiding. They hid with courageous Catholic families who took a sister into their home, even though it meant death if they were ever discovered.

Mother Luisita wrote the following during that time.

Do You Want God To Communicate with You?
A letter from Mother Luisita (de-coded)

My beloved child,

Do you want Our Lord to communicate with you? Then try to do the following:

  • Preserve unity and peace with everyone who lives under the same roof.
  • Try to have habitual recollection by thinking of God.
  • Familiarize yourself with some little short prayer with which you invite Jesus to come into your heart.
  • Make it a point to entertain yourself with things that pertain to God.
  • Keep yourself in healthy fear, guarding the doors of your senses, being careful what you let come in.
  • Ask for grace to know and overcome the obstacles that oppose a greater union with God.

Here are the counsels I give you:

  • Do everything for God our Lord, seeing Him in the person of the poor and the sick and frequently offer Him your worries.
  • Try to teach more with your example than with words, even though words are also necessary.
  • Never make any decision when you are disturbed, but wait until your soul is in peace.
  • Not to expect perfection in people because we live falling down and standing up.
  • None of us is perfect, so don’t get scandalized at the sight of somebody else’s faults. We will only be perfect in heaven.
  • Don’t get  discouraged when greater difficulties come. Learn to suffer much, much for God.
  • Humble yourself  when humiliations come, and be happy that God our Lord is pleased with you, even though there are reasons for humiliations in the eyes of others.

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be your love, your guide, and your consolation.

Mother Luisita

You can find more of Mother Luisita’s letters of spiritual direction (which can be printed) at: http://www.carmelitesistersocd.com/Foundress/MothersHeart.asp.

Thank you for your question and until next time,

Sister Laus Gloriae, O.C.D.

Send your questions for Sister to asksister@integratedcatholiclife.org.

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To learn more about the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, read their biography in the left-hand sidebar and visit their website (link provided at the bottom of the bio).

They publish a beautiful print magazine, Spirit of Carmel, and we encourage you to support the work of the sisters with your prayers and through donations and subscriptions to the Spirit of Carmel.

If you are able to help them, please click on the image of their magazine to visit their subscription and donation page.

If you hear God calling you to the religious life, I encourage you to visit their vocations page. – Deacon Mike

Or for more information, please contact:
Sister Grace Helena, OCD, Vocation Directress
920 East Alhambra Road
Alhambra, California 91801

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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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