A SISTER'S PAGE: On the Road with Vocation!

BY Sister M. Sean Damien, O.Carm.
Father Christopher J. Waitekus  (Father CJ), the pastor of St. Ann’s Parish in Lenox, MA, St. Patrick’s Parish in West Stockbridge, MA and St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Lenox Dale, MA wanted to make his parishioners more aware of the various Religious Congregations in the Church in celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life.  Father has been having a member of a different congregation speak at the Masses the first weekend of each month.  I was privileged to have been invited by Father CJ to speak the first weekend of May about the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged & Infirm.  Father asked that I address the history and charism of the Congregation as well as my own vocation story.  Since I’d been to St. Ann’s on a few occasions I knew it was a very welcoming community making it easy to say yes to Father.  Father says five Masses each weekend; 3 at St. Ann’s; one each at the other two churches.  I spoke at four of the Masses.  There was a First Communion at the Mass at St. Vincent de Paul.  Father and I agreed the focus should be on that. 

The people were as welcoming as always and a great many thanked me after Mass for sharing our story and my story.  I was able to attend a “Coffee Hour” between the two Sunday Masses and visit with the parishioners.  They were very interested in what I had shared and in learning more about us.  Most people I spoke with thanked us for our service to the Church and as so often happens, commented on how nice it was to see a Sister in a habit.  Masses were well attended and it was particularly nice to see so many families worshipping together.  I spoke at a 4 PM Mass at St. Ann’s followed by a 5:30 PM at St. Vincent de Paul’s on Saturday and then a 9:45 AM and 11:15 AM at St. Ann’s on Sunday.  It was a pleasure and a privilege to share with this faith filled people the story of our Congregation.  I brought with me many of the printed materials we have about the Congregation as well as vocation materials.  Perhaps a seed will be planted in the mind of some young woman and we will see our first vocation from Mount Carmel Care Center at some time in the future!


A Carmelite Event

Sr. Pia Ignatius and Sr. Mary Therese with Carmelite Friars

On October 15th, Sr. Pia Ignatius and Sr. Mary Therese, attended the close of St. Teresa of Avila's 5th centenary year of birth. Mass was celebrated at Whitefriars Hall Church in Dublin, Ireland. Celebrant was Most Rev. Charles John Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland. This Carmelite Church is home to the relics of St. Valentine.


Celebrating the Feast of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus





Visiting Our Lady of the Martyrs, Auriesville, NY

Sr. Pia Ignatius, Sr. Julie Michael and Sr. Melissa joined the Sisters on Renewal for a day's outing to Auriesville, NY to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of the Martyrs.  They also participated in a telethon held to celebrate the 130th Anniversary of the Shrine.  These photos show the Sisters being interviewed at the telethon, posing with the statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola, posing with a young man healed of flesh eating disease at young age through the  intercession of St Kateri Tekakwitha and just enjoying a beautiful day!


Surprise Visit- What a Surprise!

Sr. Pia Ignatius received a surprise visit from her brother Paul and his wife Sejin this morning. Along with their visit were two surprise visitors- their dogs Maggie and Cookie! Sr. Pia took her guests to the Mother Angeline Heritage Center and introduced them to Mother Angeline.



A Gospel Insight

                                                     SR. MELISSA SCHILL

My name is Sr. Melissa Schill and I am a Postulant in the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm.  I am currently at St. Patrick’s Manor in Framingham Massachusetts on a six month ministry experience.

I have recently completed twelve hours of Dementia training at our facility.  While I was doing Lectio Divina on this Sunday’s gospel reading, Sept. 6, 2015 I was reminded of our ministry with our Dementia and other residents and its connection to the Gospel.  This Gospel speaks about how God healed the deaf man, including his speech impediment.  I thought how wonderful he must have felt to hear Jesus for the first time and to speak so that others could understand him. 
I was also reflecting on the residents we care for and some their communication difficulties.  Many have hearing problems and some also have speech impediments due to various conditions.  Residents with Dementia are especially vulnerable to communication problems.  Since Jesus is not here with us on earth to heal them I thought of how we need to really listen to them in order to understand them like Jesus would.   Jesus would make our residents feel at home with us and not lost in the background due to communication difficulties.  So this Sunday as we read Jesus healing the deaf mute I will be remembering how all of us are important and are children of our heavenly Father.



Temporary Vow Week

             Our Temporary Vow Sisters with their Director, Sr. Anthony (2nd from left)

As it happens twice every year, our temporary vow Sisters with their Director, Sr. Anthony De Lourdes Veilleux, gathered at the Motherhouse on the week of August 16, 2015 for conferences and fraternity.  Fr. Ashley Harrington, O.Carm., approached the theme of "Religion and Spirituality" in his talks to our Sisters.  He explained that religion is an ordered way of life based on mutual experiences and convictions in an attempt to contact a power or energy which helps the organized group to transform life. Spirituality, on the other hand, is connecting with a higher power to transform oneself. These two concepts were examined through the lenses of the Old and New Testaments.

As the Sisters spent time with each other, we'd like to acknowledge Sr. Katherine Theresa's (L-R: 3rd on front row) last time to attend temporary vow week as she prepares for her Profession of Final Vows on November 21, 2015.  Congratulations Sr. Katherine Theresa and may God continue to be your joy!  


Meet our New Vocation Director!

Sr. Mary O'Donovan, O.Carm.

I have been in Religious Life for the past 35 years.  I spent 16 years in New York after Final Profession of Vows and returned to Ireland to serve in Our Lady’s Manor, Dublin.  I spent 19 years working there as a licensed Social Worker and Psychotherapist.  Earlier this year I received a call from our Mother General asking me if I would be willing to take up the post of Vocation Director for our Congregation.   Like the disciples in the boat, I felt the fear mounting as the rough waters of transition loomed in the distance.  The task ahead is huge but I know that there is a power within me greater than myself and I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  I pray that in the days ahead the Spirit of the Lord may fall afresh on me, renew me, fill me and use me, so that I may become a source of living water where others can come and quench their thirst for Jesus. The great news about this work is that it is God’s work, not mine, and so “lower the nets for a great catch”.  Glory be to Him whose power at work in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or dream.


Attending First Profession Event

On June 8, 2015, Carmelite Novices (Friars) belonging to the Saint Elias Province and Most Pure Heart of Mary Province made their First Profession of Vows at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middletown, NY.  Sr. Lois, our novices Sr. Pia Ignatius and Sr. Julie Michael, along with our new Postulant Sr. Melissa, were invited to celebrate the joyous occasion with their brothers in Carmel.  May Our Lady of Mount Carmel and our holy father Saint Elijah bless and guide these newly professed in their continuing journey of prayer and ministry in Carmel!

Sr. Pia Ignatius participated in the Offertory Procession
Our newly professed Brothers in Carmel
Sr. Pia Ignatius, Sr. Melissa and Sr. Julie Michael
Sr. Lois with Novices and Postulant


A New Postulant!

Melissa Schill entered the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm on May 31, 2015, Trinity Sunday.  The ceremony was held at the chapel of St. Teresa's Motherhouse in Germatown, NY and was officiated by Mother Mark Louis Anne, Prioress General, assisted by Sr. Lois Ann, Postulant Director.  Sr. Melissa comes to us from Lynchburg, Virginia.  She worked as a certified nurse aide and medi-tech at an assisted-living facility in Virginia.  We join Sr. Melissa in thanking God for the gift of vocation to Carmel and ask for continued blessings as she begins her spiritual journey as a Carmelite Sister!

Sr. Melissa making the Act of Consecration to Our Lady
Sr. Melissa & Sr. Maria Therese
Sr. Lois Ann Wetzel (Postulant Director) with Sr. Melissa

 Sr. Julie Michael, Sr. Melissa, Sr. Pia Ignatius
On the evening of her entrance to Carmel, Sr. Pia Ignatius, Sr. Julie Michael, Sr. Lois, Sr. Maria Therese and Sr. Helena welcomed Sr. Melissa to the Formation Community with a prayer service and surprise gifts!

Visit our website for more photos!


The Temporary Vow Week

Our Temporary Vow Sisters were at St. Teresa's Motherhouse on January 4-10 for their continuing Formation classes. Sr. Peter Lilian DiMaria, Director of Avila Institute of Gerontology, gave classes on the Ethical Religious Directives (ERD) and Palliative Care.  Sr. Peter Lillian also enlightened the Sisters on the  holy men and women of the Bible as they impart to us the wisdom of old age.  The Temporary Vow Week is a time for our Sisters to reconnect with each other, share their Mission stories, meet with their Director of Temporary Vows, attend classes and lectures, and set aside special time for rest and prayer.

                                  Sr. Peter Lillian conducts classes with our temporary vow Sisters
           L-R: Sr. Peter Lillian, Sr. Katherine Theresa, Sr. Maureen Paul, Sr. Hope Therese, Sr. Catherine Angeline, Sr. Luke Mary, Sr. Mary Josephine, and Sr. Patrick (Director of Temporary Vow Sisters)