A SISTER'S PAGE: My Personal Reflection

 by Sr. Marie Richard Carmel, O.Carm.

I have been in a very reflective mood for several weeks now….at least more reflective than usual.  Perhaps it has something to do with turning 60 – perhaps not.  There are so many feelings that are coming to the surface….even a few that have been buried for a long time.  Why?  I don’t know.  I can’t help but wonder if the Lord is trying to draw me closer to Him now….or teach me something that I still need to learn.
I am such a mystery to myself….a contradiction in so many ways because I experience such variations of temperament and mood…highs and lows, light and dark, hot and cold, zealous and lazy, strong and weak, fearless and fearful.  It always astonishes me that the Lord called me from such a young age to follow Him as a Carmelite.  He knew from all eternity the ways in which I would fall short….even fall flat on my face….but still He beckoned me to follow Him.  He also knew that I would keep getting up over and over again….but only and always with the help of His outstretched hand, His amazing grace that still amazes me.
Time continues to pass….moments into minutes, into hours, into days, into weeks, into months, into years, into decades…..a symphony of joy and sorrow all rolled into one lifetime that is mine.  I would not trade any of the moments of my past for different ones…. every experience both good and bad, every friendship formed and nurtured, every loss and hurt, every success, every failure, every regret - without exception - has changed me from who I used to be into who I am now, and will continue to mold me into the person God intended me to be from all eternity. 
Yes, I will always be a contradiction and a mystery to myself.  But by the grace of God I will remain fully committed, totally free, deeply myself, always human, forever Carmelite.  Standing and waiting, looking and listening as Elijah did for the “gentle breeze” that is the Lord who passes by, and who promised to return someday to take me with Him.  I pray to remain faithful until He comes.  May it be so.  Come Lord Jesus!

Sr. Marie Richard Carmel, O.Carm
"Nowhere else is God so near as in ourselves. There in the first place we must try to find and see Him."-
Blessed Titus Brandsma


"You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

Psalm 16:11


"Our Day At Avila"

                               All Saints Catholic Academy Students and Teachers

Every year, the students from All Saints Catholic Academy, Albany, New York and their teacher Janice Smircich, visit Saint Teresa's Motherhouse ("Avila") to spend a day of retreat.  The schedule includes celebration of the Holy Eucharist, tour of the Heritage Room, spending time with the Sisters learning more about our Community and to have a little bit of fun!

My Day At Avila
by Jazmine Keene-Prieto

" The trip we took to the convent was an unforgettable experience.  It was the most soothing time I have spent in a while.  When we arrived at the convent, you could see the beautiful scenery by the river.  We walked inside and instantly you could tell the Sisters were excited.  They welcomed us very nicely.  Inside the convent was very cozy and warm, just like home.  They were so kind to us and generous from the moment we walked in.

The thing I really liked about the nuns was that they were like one big, happy family.  They were all respectful towards one another and joked around as well.  They shared stories about their lives, which I thought was very special.  Some of their life stories were very inspiring.

The lunch was very delicious.  There were a lot of choices and plenty to eat.  The nuns had cookies and drinks for snack time.  They gave out candy boxes while we had a quiz towards the end.  The Sisters and novices were beautiful and loving.

The time I spent on retreat helped me to be at ease with myself and think about the future days in high school.  It helped me realize that I need to be at peace with my enemies, and forgive them for any harm they may have cost me.  Listening to the lives of the Sisters made me want to become a better person.

Retreat helped me learn more about the nuns, meditate, and grow closer to God.  Sincerely, this will be one of the the eighth grade experiences I will never forget.  Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa was an exceptional woman and one day we hope to follow in her footsteps and help the world.

Watch out for more "My Day At Avila" posts!


Off to St. Patrick's Manor!

Sr. Rebeca and Sr. Julie left today for their initial mission experience with the elderly. They will be in Saint Patrick's Manor in Framingham, MA for six months with their director Sr. Lois Ann.  St. Patrick's Manor is one of the facilities operated by the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm.  Both Postulants will be returning to the Motherhouse to attend different events held at different times.  Meanwhile, the Avila Sisters gathered to give them a big send off of love, prayers and support!

                                                           Sr. Rebeca & Sr. Julie

                                              Sr. Jean's words of comfort to Sr. Rebeca

                                                              Sr. Julie says bye!

                                           Novices showed up for send-off!

                                                            Minnie says bye too!

                                                        More hugs and goodbyes!

                                                     "Seeee Yaa Sooon!


Saints are our Friends and Heroes!

by Sr. Mary Catherine Angeline, O.Carm.

My favorite saint? That is like looking to the stars on a clear night and choosing only one to be your favorite! Since childhood the saints have been my friends and heroes. Different situations called for different saints, to help me out, grow with or just dream about. The first two I learned about were St. Teresa of Avila and St. Catherine of Siena in children’s books. I loved the adventure St Teresa had trying to run off with her brother to convert the Moors. And St Catherine’s playfulness of untying her mother’s apron strings when her hands were busy...

As I grew into my pre-teen years I read about St. Agnes, St Domenic Savio, Laura Vicuna of Santiago, Chili and Kateri of the Mohawks. Little offerings of love to God in difficult situations and the practice of good deeds inspired me.

As I grew older, more books, movies, and travel - the world of saints grew exponentially. There was St Joseph patron of my parish; St Bernadette of Lourdes, Lucia, Francesco and Jacinta of Fatima, St James (the elder), Joan of Arc, Francis of Assisi...   Living in Italy for a period of time offered a saint on almost every corner where I turned. I became avid to know more and more friends and heroes who loved Jesus as I did, in their own unique ways. St Margaret Alacoque, St John Evangelist, Mary Magdalen, John Paul ll, St John Vianny, Rita of Cassia, Angela of Foglino, Andrew Corsini, St Thomas Aquinas, Don Bosco, St Joseph Cupertino, Bruno Lanteri, John of the Cross, St Paul of the Cross, St Benedict and his sister St Scholastic, George Pier Frassati .... How can I chose only ONE? These are only the ones dearest to me!
Lately, my newest additional friends have become Mother Angeline Teresa and Carmelite John Soreth. Can you guess why?

The common denominator for all of the saints is their love for Christ in their own history and own experiences. Today we look for heroes in Batman, Superman, Spider man, Wonder-woman etc. Why not turn to real people, who lived real lives, and had real powers to conquer evil with good? The saints are more than willing to be our friends and heroes and role models. I’m proud to have so many as I need their help on my journey to love God and meet them personally one day in heaven.


Thoughts About Saints

by Sr. Luke Mary, O.Carm.
People quite often ask me who my favorite saint is. I usually answer them that my faith is rooted through the evangelization of St. Thomas the Apostle in India. I lay claim to that as a follower of Thomas who doubted and yet verified for us and proclaimed that Jesus is alive and real by saying “My Lord and My God”. Since Jesus is real and alive I have communion with the Holy Trinity and Holy Family. Perhaps St. Thomas stamped that great faith in me. I believe that all Saints are holy people who followed Jesus in eternity.

At one point in my life, I saw Jesus as a judge and I was really afraid of Him. Ever since I realized that Jesus is a loving, merciful and compassionate God, and an honest and trustworthy friend, I go to Him directly without any mediation. He always waits for me with wide open arms to accept me as who I am without any restriction. When I am in trouble or in distress, like a child, I jump in His arms and sit in His lap with comforting hands around me, like a mother protecting her child. Also, Mother Mary is a great mother like my 
own mother, always protecting, loving, caring and never giving up on me.  St. Joseph protected Jesus and Mary and (he is the best protector of me too) I never could find a best protector than him. The best protection I can have is from the Holy Trinity and the Holy Family.

Whenever I asked for help or put my trust in the Holy Trinity or Holy Family they always came to my aid and saved me and answered my prayer one way or another. So I do really believe, “ask and you shall receive, knock and it will be opened to you, seek and you shall find” with my life experiences. At times, I turn away from them but they never turn their faces away from me. Instead they become closer to me.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love all the saints and they lived their life according to God’s Will. They all are good to me in their own way of life and their lives inspire me to follow Jesus faithfully. They all follow Jesus in their own unique ways and in their simple lives. I may not be able to imitate the way they did things but I am sure I will be able to do things with my own God given talents, in simple and humble ways. God gave everyone unique talents and He is asking us to use those simple talents to follow Him.  We do not have to search for our talent. He already equipped us with whatever we need to follow Him. He is the Father who will guide us and we only need the willingness to follow Him. Rest He will guide us in His care. Peace!

A SISTER'S PAGE: Becoming A Carmelite Sister for the Aged & Infirm

I’d like to start by asking each of us a question. “What possessed you (and me) to become a Carmelite Sister for the Aged and Infirm?” This is a valid question and one that we may have asked ourselves a hundred times during the last however many years we have been in Religious Life. But what possessed us to enter Carmel? At some point each one of us must have felt that what we were doing was not enough, or perhaps how we were doing it. The God who called us brought us on an inner journey, made on behalf of the world – the Church. That unsatisfiable part of ourselves is what drives each one of us on. It is used to its full by the advertising industry – the constant need for bigger and better is in every heart, but for us, this is a longing which only God and God’s love can fill, because it is infinite. In the words of St. Paul: “Because of the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord I count everything else as loss. For him I have accepted the loss of everything and look on them all as nothing if only I can gain Christ….” This is what spurred us to prayer and what ultimately drew us to give up everything else and dedicate ourselves to our particular vocation as Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. Only Faith can make sense of this way of life. Like the crucifixion, the way of life of a Carmelite Sister is a “Stumbling block to the Jews and madness to the Greeks.” Yet only by giving His life, could Jesus influence the whole world through his Spirit; his teachings and healings were not enough. As it is with us, we gave our whole life to ministry in Carmel. We know that it is impossible to change anything by ourselves, but that is where we do well to recall the words of Jesus in the Gospel, “Remain in my love”. Only by remaining in Christ, by allowing His power to work through us, only insofar as our prayer is joined to the prayer of Christ can it bear fruit. Perhaps it is not so much “What possessed us?”, but rather “Who possessed us?” – God our Father who gave us the gift of our vocation, Jesus Christ who journeys with us each day, The Holy Spirit who leads us into unknown and challenging paths. May that Triune God fill us all today and lead us forward into a future full of hope. Another question: Who inspired us to be Carmelite Sisters? Was it perhaps some Sister we met who invited us to “come and see?” Well, we did come and we saw – their love, their joy, their enthusiasm for ministry, and their love of Mary. And one final question: Do I inspire, and do I invite young women to “come and see?” Will they see in me that joy, enthusiasm and the love for my community that I saw in the Sisters who inspired me; and if not – why?

Sr. Anne McCartney, O.Carm


Class on Carmelite History

Our novices, Sr. Mary Catherine, Sr. Maureen Paul, Sr. Luke Mary and Sr. Hope Therese, joined the Carmelite friars' novitiate in Middletown, New York, for a series of Carmelite history classes presented by Fr. Leopold Glueckert, O.Carm.

                                                        Fr. Leopold Glueckert, O.Carm.

                           Fr. Paul Denault, O.Carm, Sr. Luke Mary, Carmelite friar novice

                                         Sr. Mary Catherine, Sr. Mary Paul, Sr. Hope Therese

                                    Carmelite Friars Novices with Fr. Paul Denault, O.Carm


My Favorite Saint

by Sr. Hope Therese

I am very devoted to the Little Flower, St. Therese, and her “little way.”  It started when I was a very little girl who identified with “the little saint.”  When I was about four and started learning about the saints I asked my mother if there were any saints that were little like me.  My mom introduced me to St. Therese.  She wasn’t necessarily short, but she had a little way and that was good enough for me.  This nun in the brown habit holding roses became for me what super models and actors were for other little girls.  I had never seen anyone more beautiful and I wanted to be just like her!  I would go around the house singing songs I made up about her.  I read many books and stories about her growing up.  As I grew older and learned more about her I identified with her and her little way more and more.  I must admit that I did not read The Story of a Soul in its entirety until I was a postulant.  It is still the best spiritual book I have ever read!  St. Therese’s simple little way is accessible to anyone.  St. Therese was born in Normandy, France on January 2, 1873.  She entered the Carmel at of Lisieux in 1889.  Fifteen was a very young age to enter a convent even back then!  She lived her ordinary life, as a cloistered Carmelite nun, with extraordinary love and confidence.  She believed that doing little things with great love could earn great graces.  However, doing great or brilliant deeds without love counted as nothing.  She had such great trust and confidence in God and his will that she saw everything in her life as a grace.  She knew how to use the annoyances of everyday life to her soul’s advantage.  A sister making noise in chapel with her rosary, or getting splashed by another sister in the laundry room became little things she could offer up to Jesus.  She was able to see the noise as a beautiful concert and the water as holy water that would sanctify her.  Toward the end of her life St. Therese had a dark night of the soul where she even despaired of the existence of Heaven.  Yet, her extraordinary love and confidence sustained her until the end.  She died September 30, 1897 of tuberculosis at the tender age of 24.  I am very blessed to have found a saint that I identify with spiritually and personally.  She is my best friend, confidante, ideal, and idol.  The only one I admire more is the Blessed Virgin Mary, who Therese saw as more mother than queen.  It was a dream come true beyond my imaginings to be received as novice on her feast day!  For me it was an affirmation of her love, protection, guidance, and inspiration in my life.  Humility and selfless love do not always come easy to me, but I know because of my devotion to St. Therese she will help me.  I consider her a kindred spirit and sister.  It is one of my biggest disappointments that we cannot meet in this life but meeting her in the next will truly be heaven for me!