October 3, 2012
When we are in the greatest danger of giving up hope in our lives, hope for the future of our country, hope for the world, if we open our eyes we can see the loving hand of God at work, scattering pearls of grace everywhere. Often these pearls are hidden, not because God wishes it so, but because the world lacks the eyes to see what is in its midst and turns away.
Today, the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, I bring one of these pearls to you, to show how Love diffuses itself in wondrous ways.
Catholics involved in the Traditional Latin Mass movement over the years have been aware of the wonderful convent of Discalced Carmelites in Valparaiso, Nebraska, near Lincoln. They observe St. Teresa of Avila’s strict rule and celebrate the Carmelite Divine Office, follow the Carmelite liturgical calendar, and celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass. From the Lincoln diocesan website:
The Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph can be traced back to a sixteenth century Spanish Carmelite Monastery founded by Saint Teresa of Jesus. Two daughter monasteries were established in Mexico. In 1927, the Community established a Carmel in California. Later, a monastery was founded in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was discerned that God was calling them to transfer to the Lincoln Diocese. The Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph near Agnew was dedicated and consecrated on December 14, 2001. The Carmelites devote their lives to prayer, strive to live a life hidden with Christ, and honor the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Taken from The History of The Diocese of Lincoln 1987-2002 – Vol. II
By 2009 this group of 9-10 holy nuns had grown to the point they were ready to establish a new foundation. The call came from the bishop of Harrisburg, PA. The Carmelite convent at Elysburg was dying out, the nuns too old and too few to sustain the place. They were moving to a retirement home. Would the Discalced Carmelites of Valparaiso send sisters to take over the old convent? The answer was “yes”, and ten nuns of Valparaiso arrived to continue their vocations in Elysburg and build up the traditional Carmelite life.
Meanwhile, the Valparaiso nuns continued to be inundated with vocations and all too soon found themselves well beyond the 21 sister limit set by St. Teresa. In 2011 the call came from the diocese of Oakland, CA. Would Valparaiso send nuns to establish a Carmelite monastery in Canyon, CA? Again, the answer was “yes”. Ten women arrived at the end of July, 2012; five professed sisters and five novices.
On September 21, 2012, Archbishop-designate of San Francisco, Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, celebrated a Pontifical Solemn High Mass for the official opening of the new Carmel of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph at St. Monica Church in Moraga.
From the Catholic Voice Online:
The Mass and following reception offered a rare opportunity to see the sisters. Later that day, they returned to their monastery in the hills of Canyon, which would then be enclosed. The nuns will be behind grilles, and just two of them will be designated to speak to the public.
“Today we rejoice and give thanks to the Carmelite sisters who are establishing their enclosure with this Mass,” Archbishop-designate Cordileone said in his homily. “You have left the world to seek the more perfect life, the life of single-hearted perfection in union with Christ. Your life is a more perfect life because it is in anticipation of the life of heaven. You leave the world to be exclusively with our Lord. Your prayers sanctify us and bless us.”
He called upon those “who must live in the world” to understand “how to leave what is of the world while still living in the world. We must learn to leave all that is sinful, all that is selfish, all that is of the old self, so that Christ might make us new in his image.”
That in only eleven years not one, but two daughter houses of the Carmelites of Valparaiso have been established is extraordinary. God is calling many young women to the strict Carmelite observance. They, withdrawn from the world, serve to spread the Gospel through their prayers.
The charism of the Carmelite order is to be the prayer warriors of the Church. They are numbered among the pearls of grace God is strewing about our country. Now, in the heart of the actively practicing homosexual capital of the United States from where their political agenda is fostered and spread, are the pure virgins accompanying the Bride of Christ on her journey to Her Groom. St. Teresa of Avila must be smiling from heaven.
Be sure to visit the Catholic Voice Online for a couple of great pictures of the Mass.
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