Novitiate Prayer Service


Sr. Lois Ann (below), Postulant Director, put together a prayer service to celebrate Sr. Philomena Ann's transition to the Novitiate.  Using the theme of "journey", different footwear was used to indicate the different ways and paths one travels in life.

February 14, 2016

“I have brought you into the land of Carmel to enjoy it’s fruits and blessings”
                                                                                              Jer. 2:7
Song:  Listen in Silence
Opening Prayer

Dear Lord we gather here this evening to celebrate our journey.  A journey ended and a journey begun and yet part of the greater journey to the space, freedom and landscapes of Carmel.  We have all walked different paths to this place yet our feet share the space of this room and this experience.   We come open to discover how You are calling us into a new ways of walking, a new way of journeying and a new paths to follow.  Guide our steps in the days of our Novitiate so that we may learn ever more surely how to walk in Your way.

Walking the Journey: A reflection

The shoes we wear have a big effect on us.  They affect how we walk, what we do and dictate where we go.  Different shoes put us in a different frame of mind.  They may be “work” shoes that signify our powerful, competent self; a self-sufficiency that does not allow the help of others or feels the need to be “in control”.  They may be our “walking” shoes that speak of a sense of freedom, the open road.  Perhaps our old slippers, that allow us to relax, get comfy and let our guard down.  God called Moses to take off his shoes for he stood on “holy ground”.  He stood unshod, open and vulnerable before His God.  Jesus took off the sandals of his disciples and washed their feet; the dust, a reminder of where they had been.  God calls us to be bare footed in His Presence.  He wants to help wash the dust off our feet and our old ways of thinking so that the dirt of the past may not prevent us seeing the light and promise of the future. 
Together we walk bare footed into that future recognizing that we stand on holy ground and in the presence of a God who calls us like Moses to stand before the burning bush of His Divine love.  We learn courage to walk in the steps of our Teacher and to begin a new journey, a journey of love.
St. Therese had a profound insight into her life journey being one of love in the heart of the Church.  Here is how she describes discovering her vocation to love:
“Charity gave me the key to my vocation.  I understood that the Church being a body composed of different members, the most essential, the most noble of all the organs would not be wanting to her; I understood that the Church has a heart and that this heart is burning with love; that it is love alone that makes the members work, that if love were to die away apostles would no longer preach the Gospel, martyrs would refuse to shed their blood.  I understood that love comprises all vocations, that love is everything, that it embraces all times and all places because it is eternal!”                                                                                                     Story of a Soul                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Prayer of St. Therese (alternate sides)

(R)     Lord, give me the open heart of a child.
          Let me come trustingly to You,
          not afraid to ask for your love.

(L)     Deliver me from the belief
          that I am self-sufficient.
          Show me the need of You.

(R)     Give me the grace to reach out to You.
          Lord give me a child’s simplicity
          and sense of wonder.

(L)     May my enthusiasm for You never dim.
          Let me hasten to converse with You
          in the intimacy of prayer.

(R)     Give me discernment to realize
          that there is no detail of my life
          too tiny for Your concern.

(L)     Help me to perceive your glory
          in the helplessness of the cross
          Son of God, who for my sake,
          Took on the dependency of childhood,
          Help me to accept the readiness of the Father’s grace.

Intercessions feel free to share your petitions
Final prayer

Lord, I believe that you are calling me to come and follow You.  Be with me during my Novitiate experience.  You will be my Protector, Guide and Companion.  Help me not be afraid to acknowledge and use the gifts you have given me in loving service of my Sisters.  Let my Novitiate be a school of love where I learn as did St. Therese that love is at the heart of every vocation.  May I walk into the future filled with daring and zeal, strengthened by the knowledge that You are with me.  Amen.   


Meet our New Novice!

                                         Sister Philomena Anne of Divine Mercy, O.Carm.

On February 14, 2016 at 9:30 am, on the First Sunday of Lent, the Carmelite Sisters received a new novice, Sr. Mary Philomena Anne of Divine Mercy, O.Carm.  The Reception Ceremony was held in private at St. Teresa’s Chapel located at St. Teresa’s Motherhouse in Germantown, New York.  Father Paul Denault, O.Carm. was the celebrant.  The Reception Ceremony is held after the Postulant completes her eight months of living the life of the Congregation.  She is then received into the Congregation as a Novice and given the Carmelite habit, her religious name and the Rule and Constitutions of the Congregation.
We join Sr. Philomena Anne in this happy occasion and pray that her journey in Carmel will be blessed and bear abundant fruits for the glory of God!

Celebrating with Sr. Philomena Anne

Sr. Lois, Sr. Mary, Sr. Helena, with our novices Sr. Philomena Anne and Sr. Pia, spent an hour of recreation to celebrate Sr. Philomena's entrance into the novitiate. Sr. Lois prepared a beautiful prayer service (to follow soon) symbolizing the journeys of life. Meanwhile, the "party" continued with well-wishes, gifts, cakes and ice cream.


Human Sexuality Workshop

A Religious Formation workshop entitled "Healthy Sexual Integration in Religious Life" was held at Whitefriars Hall in Washington, DC on January 29-30, 2016.  The presenters were Fr. Quinn Conners, O.Carm and Dr. Kathy Galleher.  Both presenters are psychologists who have worked at the St. Luke Institute (a psychological treatment center for men and women religious)  and have been co-presenting this workshop to various inter-community novitiates for more than 10 years.  This two day workshop focused on sexual integration in consecrated life for men and women preparing for religious life. It approached sexuality from a holistic psychological perspective and stressed the importance of self-awareness, self-acceptance, integration, and integrity for healthy life-giving celibacy. The workshop  included sections on  psychosexual integration, , human development, and healthy relationship skills and boundaries.  Practical skills for dealing with loneliness, desire, and attractions as well as for deepening relationships inside and outside community were presented.  The workshop had educational, self reflection, and discussion components.
Our novice Sr. Pia Ignatius along with her director, Sr. Helena of Mary and Sr. Mary Vianney, O.Carm, participated with the Carmelite novices of the Saint Elias and Most Pure Heart of Mary Provinces.  There were also novices from the Congregation of the Marian Helpers, the Pallotines, along with their Formators.  On Sunday, January 31st, we visited and toured  the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  It was an opportunity we could not miss and were thankful for!

Visit our website for more photos @carmelitesisters.com