by Sr. Hope Therese, O.Carm

My favorite virtue is HOPE.  It has literally been with me my whole life.  In order to explain just how important the virtue of hope is to me, I will need to give a little of my background.  I was born and baptized Dianna Hope Maring.  My parents had hoped they would have another child.  Little did my parents know just how much I would need that virtue.  From the time I was born I have had various medical issues.  My family and I hoped and prayed that everything would turn out fine.  Through the grace of God all of these issues have been resolved.  In college, I had to do fieldwork placements to become an occupational therapist assistant.  I thought I wanted to work with children because I had occupational therapy as a child.  Playing with children is fun.  Working with them is difficult and complicated.  The children had Individualized Education Plans that I did not find holistic or realistic.  I dropped out of one fieldwork placement with children and failed another.  Clearly God was telling me to go in another direction.  I was despairing over what to do with my life.  I could not figure out God’s plan for me.  With a heavy heart and lack of confidence, I decided to do two more fieldwork placements.  Both of them were in nursing homes.  One was with a COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant).  The other was with an activity director.  My favorite was with the activity director.  I did very well in both of these placements.
  After graduation I worked as a COTA for six months but left because I wasn’t succeeding and because my mom had just been diagnosed with stage 3 invasive breast cancer.  This was yet another opportunity for our family to pray and hope.  My mom is now two years in remission and doing great!  After my mom got well I was again despairing over what to do with my life.  Then my mom reminded me of my childhood dream.  She asked, “Do you still think about being a nun?”  The answer was a strong yes.  I had never rejected the idea of being a Sister.  The thought had never gone away completely.  The rest, as they say, is history.  I have complete hope and trust in God’s plan for me.  I know from experience that if things don’t work out there is no need to worry because God has a plan.  Failure in one endeavor is an opportunity for success in another.  Some people may think it’s strange that I chose a word for my name, but “Hope” has been used as a name for centuries in various languages.  I have received much affirmation and reinforcement of my name since becoming a novice.   I learned that Mother Angeline kept a statue of Our Lady of Hope on her desk at all times.  I found a small cutout picture of Our Lady of Hope packed with the novices’ advent wreath.  Not to mention the numerous times that “hope” is mentioned in the Divine Office and scripture.   After everything I’ve been through I feel I am “hope incarnate” and the name is perfect for me.  No one can live without hope.  Hope is as necessary as air.  It is an important virtue to have and to give.  We should never overlook hope especially during this precious advent season when we await with joyful hope the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Hope is a newborn baby’s cry
Hope believes you can fly.
Hope is wishful expectation
Hope is silent resignation.
Hope is grace from the holy dove
Hope is a heart on fire with love.
Hope is a seed under the ground
Something lost that will soon be found.
Hope is looking to the future
With a past that’s full of sutures.
Hope is a shoulder you cry on
A faithful friend you rely on.
Hope supposes you can
Even when you also run.
Hope is given to all who ask
Knowing God is up to the task.
Hope is a virtue that will last
After everything else has past.
Hope is a candle burning bright
When all around is dark as night.
Hope is that one eternal spring
That will relieve our suffering.
Hope is the filling of a well
God’s promise to within us dwell.
God will give us living water
We will be his sons and daughters.
If you dwell in hope you will find
You have heaven on your mind.
As impossible as things may seem
You need to begin with a dream.
Caterpillars hope that they will be
Butterflies flying wild and free.
There are rainbows after the storm
The good Lord’s love will keep you warm.
We all have someone who would care
If we gave in to our despair.
We do not know what’s best for us
So in God we will need to trust.
If it was never meant to be
Let that useless desire go free.
Put everything in the Lord’s hands
And someday you will understand.
 God answers all prayers in his time
Just remember this little rhyme:
“When life is on a downward slope
And you do not know how to cope,
Answers to all your prayers are “Nope”
When all you can do is sit and mope,
Do not be foolish like a dope
Do not ever give up your hope.”


  1. Diane Hammond12/13/2012 10:59 PM

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful reflection, dear Sister Hope! Wishing you a very Happy Advent Season! OOXX

  2. Dear Hope, There could never be a better time for a story and a poem of hope then there is right now. Your life has been such a great blessing to so many people. God's grace has triumphed over so many obstacles and sufferings and what a beautiful message this is. From the manger to the convent to a little class room in Connecticut, we pray and know that God's grace can and will triumph over every disappointment and heart break. Advent blessings dear daughter and thank you! God's blessings and grace upon every dear Carmelite Sister. Love and Prayers, Mamma Jo