Following Mary’s example, the contemplative is a person centred in God. (VDQ 10)

Vocation: Through the way of Carmel

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“The voice of my beloved! Here he comes and says to me:
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come "
(Ct 2,8)

 

The call of God in my life

The first memory of my vocation, goes back to the days of my childhood, when I was 4 or 5 years old. I was very dear to my Parish priest and the nuns of my Parish, because I was almost the only girl of my age that attended the daily Mass.

It was a great pleasure to them to pose this question to me: “What do you want to be when you are older? I always responded to them: “religious, but never a Carmelite”. I often heard talks about Saint Therese of Lisieux, and even though I was still small I understood that she had lived behind grates and this absolutely I did not like, and I said to myself: “I never want to be locked up like her”. This was the decision of my childhood. During the last year of school, in the catechesis of my parish there was an occasion to write a personal letter to Jesus. I remember well that the other children had written to request certain graces, and I, I made a promise to the Lord: To be religious.  I remember that I even had the boldness to read it in front of everyone.

When I was 15 years old, I lived a very great inner trial, prayed and cried much before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, but this trial gave me the opportunity to think what is the meaning of the life of man on the Earth. This is the first time that I thought seriously about the profound sense of life, above all I understood that this life is fleeting.

I felt the great desire to do of my life something beautiful and great and nonbanal. One day during prayer, I felt the call of the Lord and an inner voice that indicated Carmel to me. After this call, I thought about Carmel day and night. I took to Carmel with much nostalgy. And as I did not know it very well, I began to search….

I began to assiduously read the works of Saint Therese of Lisieux, Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Jesus. Nevertheless, I loved in a particular way Therese, the spiritual childhood indicated a short and direct way to Jesus, its doctrine seemed to me very deep and at the same time full of simplicity. I like these two aspects: depth and simplicity, that well are harmonized in her, then through this I perceived the work of the Holy Spirit in this great Saint, our sister. As I considered myself of the number of the small souls, I wanted to learn from her how to love Jesus, as she had loved him.

With the reading of the works of our Carmelite Saints my horizons were expanding, but I also felt the need to find someone who lives Carmelite spirituality and that could help me in this way.

It is so I began to go every 15 days to the convent of our Carmelite fathers to confess and to receive spiritual nourishment, that comes from Carmel. At 18  I visited two monasteries of Carmelites in Korea, but the doors to Carmel were always closed to me. The sisters asked me to come later, after having a university diploma and the age of 24 or 25.

At this answer, I was discouraged, but I continued to pray to the Lord saying to him: “Nothing is impossible to you, I will enter, when you want and as you want”. I waited for whenever the Lord opened the door to me to Carmel and he gave me the answer in the way that I less expected it.
When I was19 years old, I worked in the Hospital and one day the priest who accompanied me in the Spiritual Direction told me that I should learn French, without giving me a reason. I wanted to know why I had to study it, but seeing his determination, I preferred to accept his proposal. Later, I seriously put myself to learn French. Continuing with my work, I began to attend twice per week the French Alliance, for 10 months.

I continued to go to the Carmelite fathers, when one day my director says to me, if I wanted to enter Carmel in the Holy Land and I said to him “Yes”. With his aid and his recommendation I wrote a letter to the Carmel of Nazareth, and after some time I received the answer from Carmel. Without a doubt, the hand of the Lord settled on me with tenderness.
 
I did not know anything the country for which I left my people. As Abraham I left it all… I was not brave, but the grace of the Lord helped me. I never thought to enter a foreign Carmel, but the ways of the Lord go beyond ours.

He has given everything me that I have yearned for. The vocation of being a missionary fascinated me from my youth, without knowing how this desire would be realized. And I have here, that the Lord found the means to realize it, sending me to the Holy Land, Land of the Incarnation, so that I can live my missionary vocation.

Jesus, sent by the Father, has assumed all of his mission becoming man, equal in everything. If all the mystery of our Redemption begins with the Incarnation, I am in the heart of the mystery, by living Nazareth.

When I think of my vocation, I find a single reason that has brought me up here: “the one to consecrate myself totally to Jesus and to his service”.

After I left my family and my country, my father has converted ; before he did not practice religion, now he prays every day for me. God has given me a new family, all of Carmel, that is in the Heart of the Church and opens me to a universal dimension.

It is 13 years since I am in Carmel and I am very happy.

These words of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity help me to deepen the sense of my vocation as a Carmelite:
“To be the spouse of Christ, it is to have all the rights to his Heart…
It is a dialog of love for all life…
It is to live with… always with…
It is to rest with and allowing him to rest in our soul.
The Carmelite is an a adoring soul
Docile to all divine inspiration
In constant communion with her God
She has discovered the only necessary thing
The divine being who is Light and Love.
She surrounds the whole world in her prayer
She is a true apostle of the Lord
".

Sr. Maria Kolbe of the Holy Face (Korean)
Carmelite of Nazareth



“Who is this one that comes from the desert supported  
by her beloved? ” (Ct 8,5) 

My time of formation

 Fascinated by Jesus Crucified, the Man who has realized in history the Plan of God the Father and who has given his Life to restore his Kingdom of Love, I began to look for my place in this design within the concrete history of my life.

I went through a long discernment before entering Carmel, letting myself be lead by He who has promised to us to always be with us, this conviction has been the force that has sustained me throughout all my days: God is always there and He never abandons us!

Once I entered Carmel, happy of to have found my place, I was astonished to discover that the discernment and the search continue. The liturgical formation, the monastic chant, the prolonged time to be alone with God helped me during the “postulancy” to make the transition between the style of agitated life of the modern world and the demands of the working world, towards the forms of a quiet life, of a withdrawal where the importance is not placed on doing things, but in the attitude of inner listening to look for to respond in everything to the Will of God.

The silence and the solitude of Carmel allowed me to deepen the personal experience of friendship with God that is the nucleus of Carmelite spirituality, an experience that becomes rich with the passage of the days it and opens to you the unfathomable beauty of the Love of God.

Carmel has also allowed me to discover Mary as  sister and friend, and not only like Mother, which was the experience that I had brought. Mary in Carmel becomes your confidant. It was a happiness to let me be clothed with her Scapular at the time of the investiture, when with the aid of the spiritual director and the Mistress of Postulants we discerned that the lifestyle of Carmel corresponded to the specific personal call that God made me.

During the Novitiate, the relationship with the Mistress and novitiate companions was fundamental to discover in a greater degree the ecclesial dimension Carmel under the forms of community life. Community life and prayer are both pillars of our life. The reading and the systematic study of our holy mother St Teresa and holy father St John of the Cross. The combination of these factors favored self-knowledge and an encounter with the great Mercy of God. Misery and Mercy come face to face. To find in the Crucified Jesus the Heart of the Merciful Father, Source of Mercy and pardon available to all men. To arrive to the time for the profession of vows in the context of this experience allowed me to discover that it is the Mercy and Fidelity of God that consecrates to us and in that new alliance God renews hiss fidelity to all the Church. I felt and I feel very little against the greatness of this Mystery of Love.

With the vows a new relation with the community begins, one feels as belonging to the community, I discovered the community as the place of encounter with God, the community is a gift of God where he speaks to you. In this period the Lord approached with a new invitation, to leave my country, my community, my family to come to Nazareth. I discovered that Work of God has in its entrails bits of Cross. It carries the mystery of pain, crisis, suffering, it is to live the dichotomy: the spirit is prompt but the flesh is weak. I left the decision to my community who believed advisable my definitive transfer here to Nazareth. Therefore, the Carmel of Bogota, sent to me to continue my formation in the Carmel of the Sacred Family in Nazareth. Only God knows his own work. One carries it, suffers it, enjoys it, but hardly sees its fruit. I learned to embrace the Cross of the Lord, and the more I embrace and accept it, the more I discover the mystery of Love hidden in my life.

To make my solemn vows in Nazareth has been for me a very great grace, here I am marveled to see the greatness of the Love of God with its poor and weak creature, to be surrounded by the grace of the Mystery of the Incarnation, in a Marian place par excellence, a community of 16 sisters comings from 12 different countries with diverse mentalities and ages but all with a unique objective: “Union with God”.

My community is a gift of God, I find myself surrounded by sisters that want to help me, of friendly faces that affirm the Love of God, with the Community I discern the Will of God that is realized in the history within which we feel called to live our personal and community lives in favor of the Church and of the entire world. We are summoned to live our vocation as Carmelite in Nazareth and we feel united by the bond of a particular mission in favor of the local Church of Jerusalem and these people in the Holy Land, without forgetting that they have within them the feeling of  UNITY AND UNIVERSALITY.

Sr. Maria Cecilia of the Divine Mercy (Colombian)
Carmelite of Nazareth



“My beloved is for me and I am for my beloved” (Ct 2,16)

My consecration

The experience of the consecration, the decision to make a compromise without understanding everything, without being able to tell the future has been decisive in my life…

The time of “the vows” is very different from the stage of the postulancy and the novitiate, although, the first two years are lived still in the novitiate, accompanied by the Novice's Mistress

In this time it is begun to live that which we have aspired for much: The consecration.

My consecrated being, to weave threads of intimacy with Jesus, will always be the great mystery of my life. I did my first Profession in the year 2000, in my native land, Poland, in the Carmel that was closest to my family… And thus I initiated my consecrated adventure…

The joy of the first months, was transformed into a discernment of a possible call to the Carmel of Bethlehem. My community had received a request to support in the Holy Land, specifically the Carmel of Bethlehem.

If I have been able to respond to this invitation positively, it has been thanks to the gift of my consecration, to this “strange intimacy” with Jesus who teaches me more and more in depth the inner freedom that has allowed me to create free relations with my family and friends. Also, I asked our confessor who helped me discern, to read and to interpret the signs of God in my life.

My life as a young professed has been in the Holy Land. Here I have learned to live in an international community, to love my sisters as they are, through everything what differentiates us and above all to see this “crazy love of Jesus” who unites us more than everything.

The demands of a small community have helped me to feel responsible for my own formation and my work in community.

The daily solitude and the small trials have made my intimacy with Jesus stronger, my Husband and my All.

The times of war, of human insecurity that I have lived here have printed in me the great desire to pray for and with the Church in the Holy Land, to intercede for the people of this country, to break reciprocal hatred. I have the certainty that my international community attests that love is possible, that it is possible to live, pray, love one another, although we are different and that this is exactly a wealth, a gift from God.

The time of my temporary vows remains in me like a time full of richness and the discovery of Jesus, my capacities and my limitations. A time to discover the different faces of Carmel: the community, the daily liturgy through which God is present in my life, and also the time of work and solitude.

The fact of living far from my family and my country, to live in the Land of the Gospel gives to my consecrated life a delicate characteristic of an adventure lived by Jesus and with Jesus.

It is with a great joy that I made my Profession Solemn, compromising myself definitively to Carmel and the Church of Jerusalem.

Sr Eudoquia of the Cross(Poland)
Carmelite of Bethlehem



“I tell you, daughters of Jerusalem, do not wake up, do not keep awake love, until it pleases him” (Ct 2,7)

The fidelity of God in my life

My name is Genevieve of Jesus, I was born in Tours (France). I am 92 years old and for 60 years I have been in Carmel.

First of all I must say that, I am not the one that has chosen this vocation, it is God who has given it to me, and this gift was confirmed by the voice of the Bishop the day of the baptism of my youngest sister. I was in that time five years old. At the end of the ceremony the Bishop approaches and says: “This young girl will be a religious some day”. This experience has helped me to deepen my understanding that it is God who has chosen me. God has always been the first in my life.

I knew that in Carmel everything was lived for the Lord and this was what attracted me to become a Carmelite.

I entered the Carmel of Armentieres (France), where I had my older sister, when I was twenty years old. For this call, I abandoned everything. I have given my life to the Lord with all my heart and He has taken care to lead me day after day.

I have always loved the missionary life, but the way of St Therese, that is to say, by prayer and sacrifice. I only wished to be a missionary for God, because I feel that my life is a gift of God for Him.

When I was already professed, the Carmel of the “Pater Noster” of Jerusalem requested sisters to support to Carmel and I offered myself. I felt a great attraction to the divine relationship, to feel God as Father.

In my life I have had difficult moments, but never have I regretted to have given my life to God ; through each difficulty God has given the grace me.

For me being a Carmelite of the “Pater”, is to be the face of the Father, loving my sisters and praying for the world.

I have asked and I ask the Lord that he is always FIRST in my life, this is a gratuitous gift from God, because it is only with his grace that I have been able to say: “Lord, I am here”.

This experience to live in God, by God, has a name: FIDELITY.

Little by little this has strengthen me spiritually and humanly.

Sr Genevieve of Jesus (France)
Carmelite of Jerusalem

 

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