by Sr. Hope Therese Angeline, O.Carm
My family visited me twelve days after receiving the Carmelite habit. It was so great to see them and we had a wonderful time! Visiting me were my parents John and Jo Ellen, my sister Melissa, my brother- in- law Scott, and nine-month-old baby nephew, Jacob. Everyone looked great! We chatted and took pictures and had a delicious lunch. We took a short walk and took more pictures! Then we played card games and chatted some more. Can you guess what we did before they left? That’s right. We took some more pictures! It’s easy to understand since they had no pictures of me in habit yet. It was thrilling to see Jacob sitting up and “commando crawling” on his stomach for the first time. Seeing these milestones is very precious to me. I think they all got a little teary eyed from seeing me in the habit for the first time but they were tears of joy. It shows me how far we’ve come from when my parents and I were shedding tears of sorrow after my first visit as a postulant. That was the most difficult time in my vocation so far because of my severe homesickness and doubts. Now all doubts are gone. The homesickness remains but it is not as bad as it once was. All visits are bittersweet but now they are more sweet than bitter. The difference in my first visit as a postulant and my first visit as a novice makes me think of the difference between Jesus meeting his mother on the road to Calvary and meeting her in all his glory after his resurrection. Nothing but God’s grace could have brought us this far and helped us heal from the separation. Every visit is becoming less draining and more rejuvenating. Visits from my family are my oasis in the Carmelite desert. I eagerly look forward to every one! However, I am growing to love my Carmelite family more and more every day. I am beyond blessed to have two fantastic families who know and love me, and most important of all, care for my spiritual well-being. We are all helping each other get to heaven. That is what families are for. Some day we will be together for eternity, glorifying God!