Henceforth, You Will be Called


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

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

“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 to their children about their patron saints. Children are encouraged to practice the virtues of their patron saints.

Parents possess a most singular power and gift, one that should not be overlooked or understated, the gift of naming another human person, their child. At the very beginning of the Catholic Baptism ceremony, the priest asks, “What name do you give to your child?” The answer is said reverently, joyfully, and humbly and pridefully all in the same breath.

The parents “give” their child a name. The word “give” means to make a present of, to grant or bestow by formal action, or to commit to another as a trust or responsibility.

In Genesis we read, “Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field” (Genesis 2: 19-20).

This giving of a name implies authority and power. It is done actively. The receiving of the name implies dependence and humility. It is received.

Just so, our parents named us. Each name is a treasure to delight in, a mystery to unravel, a teaching to be learned, and a journey to be taken. I don’t think there is anything more personal, more meaningful, and more poignant with significance to each one of us as the name given us by our beloved parents. Isn’t it so very easy to envision our parents as they thought about us before we were born, as they meditated on our names, had discussions and looked up meanings and symbols of and finally chose the special name for their beloved child, the fruit of their love?

Then what are we to make of those times in scripture when God changes someone’s name? Abram became Abraham; Jacob became Israel; Cephas became Peter; Saul became Paul. There is something very important happening when someone is given a new name, not by natural parents, but by God.

In thinking about this, we are definitely entering new territory. We are moving from the natural to the supernatural in a direct intervention by God. The new name Abraham means “father of a multitude” which he certainly became! Peter was called a “rock” which is what Peter means, and Christ gave Peter the keys. He was put in charge.

The same kind of thing happens in the religious life. We receive a new name. Some of us ask for a certain name and some of us don’t. There are those who get the name they asked for and there are others who don’t. That, too, is a mystery.

When I received the name of Sister Timothy Marie of Carmel, I did not ask for it, as I thought I’d much prefer just being given one. Now, over fifty years later, I still am able to think about this name change and learn something new from it.

I must admit that my family members still call me very often by my baptismal name. Others don’t even know my baptismal name; they only know me as Sister Timothy Marie of Carmel. As I have learned more about St. Timothy and Our Lady (Marie) and Carmel (Carmelite Spirituality) I have come to an amazing conclusion—that there really is something to the name change. It’s hard to put into words, but it is linked to, in my case for example, my God-given mission in this world.

Various insights into my name have come to me over the years. At first I may not understand, yet as time passes, they hold true. They help me as I strive to become the best “me” I can.

After entering the consecrated life, in due time, each Sister receives her new name. It is a cause for rejoicing. It is an outward sign of her new life. It is charged with meaning and potential.

Just as God gave man dominion over the birds of the air and the fish of the sea and empowered him to name them, so Our Lord, in His love and power, names us with “a new name” as we enter the consecrated life.

“I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).

by Sister Timothy Marie O.C.D.
Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

To learn more about the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, read their biography below and visit their website.

We encourage you to support the work of the sisters with your prayers and through donations and planned giving. Click here to learn more..

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 Faustina, O.C.D., Vocation Directress
920 East Alhambra Road
Alhambra, California 91801

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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

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