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!    

1 comment:

  1. Dear daughter, Sister Hope Therese, the first thing I thought when I read this is that we feel exactly the same way...we have come so far. I don't think we'll ever all be out in the parking crying together again! (It was a good thing Sister Cyril rescued you that day! Thank you Sister Cyril!) Thank God we hung in there because your life as a Carmelite Sister has blessed you and our family with so much grace and joy. We all have a much bigger family now and it is beautiful beyond description. Now when I come to visit I look forward to seeing you AND all the Sisters. If certain Sisters are away and not home at the time I really miss them. Of course the Novices have a huge place in my heart and even more now that we've met their families and friends also. God is SO good! I remember Father Healy telling us, before you left for the convent, that we would get used to the separation. I remember thinking...He's just a man! What does he know! Well, Father was right! Of course we still miss you and you miss us, but the glory of God is so much more alive in our hearts and our lives now, we wouldn't trade it for anything. If I could say anything to other parents, who have trepadations about their child's vocation, it would be this. Sit with your suffering of separation for the sake of the Kingdom of God. God will lift you up and give you more blessings and graces from your suffering than you can possible imagine. Why are we all here after all...we are here by God and for God. Yes. We are all on the road to heaven. Life is so short...heaven is forever. Our true family is the family of God and bringing as many souls to heaven is more important than anything else, especially any temporary earthly separation! God be will you all my dear Sisters. I send my love, prayers, blessings and thanks for your heavenly vocations. Mama Jo