The Secrets of Your Grandmother’s Rosary

The phone rang. A terrible accident had just occurred. One of her grandchildren had just been in an accident on the farm.

The faith I witnessed in that moment was enough to never forget my grandmother’s rosary.

It was my cousin Drew. He had been driving the farm tractor when it accidentally flipped into a deep valley on the side of the road. Being only twelve years of age, it was my first encounter with a trauma that threatened the life of one whom I loved. I watched my grandmother receive the news in shock, and then in awe I saw this woman of faith turn to God. In what means did she pray? What do you say when you are at a loss for words? What do you cry out when fear grips your soul, and the powerless grasp of your human littleness is choking your throat. Looking up to God and with a bold instinct through Mary, she picked up her rosary and began to pray out loud. Then she invited me into her union with God through His Mother.

The witness of her faith in that moment lasts like a brazen brand on my heart. In time of need go to Mary, and pray the rosary. When you don’t have the words, give it to Mary. Although Drew was seriously injured that day, he was alive, and within a few hours he was on the road to a long recovery.

Such rock solid faith was carved in the heart of my grandmother, whom we affectionately called, “Oma.” Oma, a native of the Netherlands, learned the importance of prayer from her devout Catholic parents. She lived through the horrors of World War II, and even escaped near death when a bomb shell fell through the roof of their house. The bomb shell never detonated, and to this day its shell sits shelf-bound to remind our family of God’s providential care. At the moment of that air raid, Oma was on her knees in the basement, praying the rosary. She knew who had spared their lives.

Riding in the car with Oma always meant praying a rosary and it gave me a sense of God’s closeness. Her holy and tender heart made me want to pray. With Oma, praying the rosary was not a penance, but a joy. Her devotion was so inviting, and her gentleness made one feel so loved. Having ten children Oma, intended that they should all learn this powerful means of prayer. Faithfully the whole family prayed the rosary each night before dinner on their knees.

This is the faith that she passed to my mother, who in turn passed it on to me. And so goes the chain of faith, like the chain of the rosary that links our souls to God. Faithful pilgrims on the journey know that the road of life can be rough, yet what tender links of gospel love we finger upon each bead. A grateful heart I lift to God for the witness of my grandmother’s rosary.

Sister Shawn Pauline, O.C.D.

This story and many others are found in the Carmelite Sisters’ short-story book called “Moments of Grace.”  If you wish to obtain a copy of the book, please visit:

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

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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 Elizabeth Therese, 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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