Help in Times of Sickness

“Christ healing the paralytic at Bethesda” (detail) by Palma il Giovane / Public domain

Ask a Carmelite Sister

Dear Sister,

I attended Catholic school in my elementary and high school years. At that time, I loved and enjoyed my Catholic religion.  Since then, though, I guess you would call me a “fallen-away” or “lapsed” Catholic. I hopped onto the train of life using the fast track and have been traveling at breakneck speed ever since. That is – until the beginning of this summer.

I became very sick and here I am three months later; still as ill as ever. So, I had to stop and get off that fast track. What I am leading to is that I am remembering God and that’s good. But I feel very poorly most of the time. I guess I took my good health for granted until now. How can I reach out to God again? 

Dear Friend

Thank you for your letter. Your train has stopped and your wheels have stopped spinning. Well, it looks like the good Lord has slowed you down so he can fill you anew with his grace and love. He is there.  With you.  In the midst of your pain and suffering.  Many saints have gone through exactly what you described; like St. Ignatius of Loyola to name one. I’d like to share with you a letter from our Mother Luisita, who founded our community during a time of religious persecution in Mexico. They were written in code because of the religious persecution. I’ve mentioned them before in this blog. Here is another one. It is decoded and now reads as follows.  May her words help you as they have helped countless others.

“Let us bless our good God in all and for all
because He allows everything to happen for our own good.”

To Be Read in Times of Sickness
A letter from Mother Luisita

My beloved child,

So, you are sick? My heartfelt desire for you is this – I’m asking our good God to send abundant graces into your soul. Our good God is molding His image in you by means of your sickness. May God our Lord give you peace of soul. Get rid of all of those preoccupations that will only disturb you and harm you. How much Our Lord loves you! Be assured that this illness that He has given you is nothing more than a proof of His love for you. The isolation in which he has placed you shouldn’t be a cause of sadness for you. Neither should it discourage you. On the contrary, you can profit by it. St. Teresa used to say that it was good for her soul to be isolated because she could become recollected and pray.

Sickness is really terrible. Most of us don’t realize how precious good health is and we aren’t thankful enough for it. Let’s learn to profit not only by the illness, but by all of the discomforts that come along with it as well. That will be a better penance than one of our own choosing. In order to purify our souls of so many stains that make it ugly, we can avail ourselves of enduring our sickness in order to beautify our souls before they present themselves to the good God. You must not see yourself as being alone. On the contrary, you are more accompanied than ever before because Our Lord is always with those who suffer. Talk to Him. Trust Him with all your sufferings. Tell Him about your doubts and abandon yourself entirely into His Hands. Besides, I can truthfully assure you that by the mere fact that you are suffering this illness, you are bringing down innumerable blessings from Our Lord upon your loved ones and even greater graces to your own soul.

Perhaps this illness will be the means of your sanctification and you will not pass through Purgatory. Let us bless our good God in all and for all because He allows everything to happen for our own good. My child, offer God all your sufferings. God is watching over you and he will not allow you to despair. He loves you very much, but He also wants you to be very generous with Him, too.

Knowing this, try to overcome everything. Don’t pay attention to anything that will make you suffer or preoccupy your thoughts. Are you becoming preoccupied thinking about your illness? Don’t be foolish! Rid yourself of those tears and nerves! The only thing they are good for is to destroy you by making you even sicker than what you are and that would be very harmful to you. Abandon yourself totally to the will of God. Try to distract yourself from your illness and be at peace.

Pray very much, a humble prayer filled with trust, asking Our Lord to grant you that grace which you so greatly desire through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother. Try to remain recollected. Humble yourself and meditate on both your present situation and what you are asking God for – that specific grace which you are desiring and hoping to receive as a grace from God. Mediate upon the love which God our Lord has for you. Think about how you have spent all these past years. Then think about how you would like to live your life from now on. Be sure to meditate very near the tabernacle, peacefully, and without being apprehensive about this or that, because anxiety is bad. It springs from pride. Don’t allow yourself to drown in a drop of water. You’re all right. You’re all right. Cover yourself well. Take good care of yourself. Look to God, your soul and eternity. All the rest is merely a puff of smoke. May you have joy, health, and most of all God’s blessings.

Mother Luisita

You can find more of Mother Luisita’s letters of spiritual direction (which can be printed) at:

I hope that is of help to you and until next time,

Sister Laus Gloriae, O.C.D.

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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Or for more information, please contact:
Sister Maria Goretti, O.C.D.
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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