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InHisLove726

Cloister, Or No?

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Thomist-in-Training
Well, this is partly a teasing question, but maybe you are then called to serve as a nurse in the [i]Discalced [/i]Carmelites...? they have infirmarians in the cloister you know, and I've heard it's helpful to have trained people. Please don't turn your life around on this advice, just wanted to throw it out there.

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InHisLove726
[quote name='Thomist-in-Training' post='1759256' date='Jan 23 2009, 11:53 AM']Well, this is partly a teasing question, but maybe you are then called to serve as a nurse in the [i]Discalced [/i]Carmelites...? they have infirmarians in the cloister you know, and I've heard it's helpful to have trained people. Please don't turn your life around on this advice, just wanted to throw it out there.[/quote]

That's a good thing to ponder. I'm still going to go to visit the Arlington, TX Discalced Carmelite Nuns because I want to see their life up close. In fact, I believe it was a nun of Hudson, WI's cloistered Carmel who presented this option to me in the first place. She said that some of the older nuns had fallen ill, and they needed a dedicated infirmary nun, but I know I am not called there. The cloister infirmary of Arlington, TX is beautiful from the pictures. I'm not saying I'm called there, but I can't know for sure until I visit the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus and the cloister. :D

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VoTeckam
[quote name='InHisLove726' post='1754834' date='Jan 18 2009, 11:40 PM']I'm sure you all have read my other posts, and know that I am currently discerning with the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus in Milwaukee, WI. The problem is, I still feel called to the cloister somehow. I just got finished reading Mother Mary Francis' book called, "A Right to Be Merry." For those who don't know, she was a nun with the Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Roswell, NM and was one of the founding members of that monastery. She originally hailed from Chicago. Anyway, the whole time I was reading the book, I really loved the way she described the cloister and how it is a mix of challenge and joy. The sisters really learn everything about each other, and I love the quote that says that they understand you better than your mother ever did. I do love silence. I find it soothing and peaceful. I used to hate it, but now I love it because it's the only time I can hear God talking to me (and no, I am not schizophrenic, LOL!). I love Adoration, and the Poor Clares of Roswell are so beautiful! I am a Franciscan and Carmelite at heart. I really think I am called to serve as a nurse in the Carmelites, but is it wrong that I feel called to the cloister too??

I am calling my spiritual director tomorrow. I haven't had a chance to talk to him yet, but I really need to because I get confused sometimes. I feel really happy about serving in the world, but I long for that intense silence too. The order I am discerning with is semi-active and semi-contemplative, and they call the Sisters' quarters the "cloister" though they are not cloistered. Is is the contemplative side is just calling out to me?? I will visit at least one cloister to make sure I am not called there, but a part of me wants to be.

Has anyone ever had this happen?? What did you end up doing about it?? Thanks guys (and gals)![/quote]

Have you considered active/contemplative orders? I know that the Fransican Sisters of the Renewal and the Sisters of Life both have mandatory silence at certain time throught the day.

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DameAgnes
The thing is, you know the order you're seriously looking into, the Carmelites of the Divine Heart, they're very much active/contemplative. They have a very strong prayer life in community, including the divine office and times of profound silence.

Certainly you should check out everything, and be sure you're listening fully to the Lord...but in many ways the order you're looking at sounds like it's what you've wanted, and you did, just a short time ago, receive a very strong "message" to that affect.

Sometimes I think its possible to "over-discern."

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In The Arms of The Lord
[quote name='InHisLove726' post='1759378' date='Jan 23 2009, 05:28 PM']That's a good thing to ponder. I'm still going to go to visit the Arlington, TX Discalced Carmelite Nuns because I want to see their life up close. In fact, I believe it was a nun of Hudson, WI's cloistered Carmel who presented this option to me in the first place. She said that some of the older nuns had fallen ill, and they needed a dedicated infirmary nun, but I know I am not called there. The cloister infirmary of Arlington, TX is beautiful from the pictures. I'm not saying I'm called there, but I can't know for sure until I visit the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus and the cloister. :D[/quote]



Keep searching your heart, I know the Lord is there and He will show you where He wants you :) . I feel very strongly about a certain community and it seems to be the only one I think about, so I will go if the Lord wills it and see what He says to me when I get there. If it's not where He wants me then I will not worry or get down about it, I will keep searching. If you feel strongly that you should go visit other communities, then I would go and visit. Maybe one of them will be where the Lord is calling you. He will let you know when you get to where He wishes you to be. Keep praying and trusting in Him. I will keep praying for you to.


I know that all of those who live His will, wherever the Lord sends them, there they will find true peace and joy of heart, and also that perfect intimate union with Him .. which I so long for! Edited by In The Arms of The Lord

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InHisLove726
[quote name='DameAgnes' post='1759468' date='Jan 23 2009, 05:39 PM']The thing is, you know the order you're seriously looking into, the Carmelites of the Divine Heart, they're very much active/contemplative. They have a very strong prayer life in community, including the divine office and times of profound silence.

Certainly you should check out everything, and be sure you're listening fully to the Lord...but in many ways the order you're looking at sounds like it's what you've wanted, and you did, just a short time ago, receive a very strong "message" to that affect.

Sometimes I think its possible to "over-discern."[/quote]

Yes, I agree. I am very strongly receiving signs that the Carmelite Sisters are the community for me. I was going to go to the Arlington, TX cloister simply for interest. I may decide not to though, if the community in Milwaukee does indeed prove to be THE community when I visit them in person. I don't want my head to stray from my heart when I've been given so many signs. I'm going to visit the Carmelite Sisters next month (I hope!). Sister Immaculata has called me to let me know when the community is hosting the retreat, and I am looking forward to it. The most wonderful thing about this is that I will be able to discern without focusing on anything else. I think that was the problem about the other province. I went with the intention of discerning but other things got in the way.

You are correct about them being an active and contemplative community. To me, it's what I feel is best because I desire to serve God in contemplative prayer and through the residents in the homes.

I've never felt at peace until I set my eyes on the Carmelites DCJ. I do see them as the community God is calling me to, and I can't wait for that part of my life to begin. Please continue to pray that I will be able to go and that I am able to get a job to pay off my debts so I can apply. I also have to be off my medication for another 10 months (I hit the 2 month mark this week!!)! :D

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InHisLove726
Oh, I forgot to mention! I'm going to a Discalced Carmelite Monastery for Friars next Saturday (1/31)! I went on a spirituality retreat in November, and this is the post-retreat day of reflection. So, I pray that it will be a day of very contemplative discernment too. I'll be surrounded by praying friends, so that will bring me comfort. I can't wait!

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InHisLove726
[quote name='VoTeckam' post='1759442' date='Jan 23 2009, 04:57 PM']Have you considered active/contemplative orders? I know that the Fransican Sisters of the Renewal and the Sisters of Life both have mandatory silence at certain time throught the day.[/quote]

I've thought about them, but I am not called to either community. I talked to the Sisters of Life's vocation director, and we discerned that I am not called there. The Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, while a wonderful community, is not the place either. I can confidently say that I am called to the Carmelites.

The Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus are an active/contemplative community, too. They practice Grand Silence (profound silence) after Compline until the second LOTH reading (I believe it's Terce) of the day.

:D

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In The Arms of The Lord
I will continue to pray for you, for sure! With God all things are possible, what He has planned for you will work out all in His perfect time. :) Edited by In The Arms of The Lord

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InHisLove726
[quote name='TotusTuusMaria' post='1754932' date='Jan 19 2009, 12:59 AM']St. Teresa de los Andes struggled with these same feelings:

"Everything I'd experieced before -doubting that God wanted me to be a Carmelite is the cause of my suffering. My whole life I've wanted this, but right now I'm waverig between Carmel and the Congregation of the Sacred Heart. So, I come to you, my dear and respected Mother, to beg your counsel. You know me well, since I've let you read my soul...The Sacred Heart Congregation attracts me because there one lives a life of constant sacrifice. At every hour of the day and even at night they are to immolate themselves for souls. It's true that theirs is a mixed life, but they must have a deep interior life so that their work can bear fruit in this way; for they are to bring souls to God, they themsleves remaining with God; otherwise, they will have nothing to offer. All of this is attractive to me. Still, the quiet and beloved convent, far from the noise of the world, whose gates open only to heaven, that life of prayer and union with God is strongly pressing me to go there. But suddenly, I think I should give up those attractions in order to win souls. It seems Our Lord is sending me all these doubts to test me, because when I'm at prayer, He makes me understand that I should become a Carmelite. But when prayer is over, the most terrible doubts spring up in this soul of mine, which felt it had obtained light from heaven and I slip back into deep darkness. I've prayed to know God's will, and I've also given a great deal of thought to where I could become holy more quickly, because that's what I want above everything else." - St. Teresa de los Andes (writing to the Mother Prioress of Carmel)

"Still, Rev. Father, don't think that everything is joy. I'm in such an atrocious state of doubt that I don't even know how to make a decision as to whether I should become a Carmelite or a Sacred Heart Sister. That's why I'm searchig for light...On the one hand, I feel attracted to Carmel in order to live a complete life of prayer and union with God, absolutely separated from the world. I also feel attracted to its austerity and its purpose, which is to pray for the sinners and priests. What enchants me about the Carmelite life is that a Carmelite sacrifices herself in silence, without seeing the fruits of her prayers and sacrifices. In addition, the family life and the simplicity of Carmelite customs, as well as the joy that must ever reign in the Carmelite's heart, please me very much and are in accord with my temperament. On the other hand, I would like to become a Religious of the Sacred heart, because their's is a perpetual life of sacrifice. It is also a life of prayer, since they dedicate five hours to this, counting the Office and examinations of conscience. Furthermore, when they find difficulties in educating little girls, to whom can they have recourse but to God, that He may smooth out the path leading those souls to God? When they must deal with people of the world they must force themselves to maintain a true religious spirit; and for this, prayer and union with God are necessary. They live and constantly see the spirit of the world in the girls - that spirit of comfort - and still they must sacrifice themselves constantly by living in the greatest poverty: their whole day and often the night is conscerated to souls, without their even having a cell of their own, since four of them sleep in every dormitory; and these are not always large and well ventilated. They have no permanent convent where they live. They can be sent to any part of the world, finding themselves more lonely than a Carmelite Sister, in a strange land, without seeing even one familiar face and often not even knowing the language spoken. A Carmelite once and for all renounces the comfort of life and everything in the world. But a Religious of the Sacred Heart is constantly making the sacrifice of everything on earth. Doesn't she find that her heart must be even more detached from earthly love? And the more detached it is, the more the Lord will unite Himself to her. A Carmelite needs to be united to God and completely filled with Him, but she keeps this spirit; while a Sacred Heart Sister must be filled with God and give Him to souls. She, therefore, needs greater union; for, if she doesn't possess it, she'll remain without God and will have nothing to give to souls. But what terrifies me, Rev. Father, is that I don't remain united to God when dealing a great deal with creatures. For I've learned from experience that by dealing a little more with them, I grow colder in love for God. I also think that Our Lord has very clearly made known to me that I should become a Carmelite, even though I don't know any Carmelites...." - St. Teresa de los Andes (writing to her priest)

St. Teresa de los Andes attended boarding school from a very young age and so grew up around the active, Sacred Heart Sisters. Then too, she was discerning with the Carmelites who were cloistered. This is kind of like your situation "active or cloistered." I not only posted these to show an example of how she dealt with the doubts and confusion during discernment, but also to show her very detailed examinations of both lives. She describes both so beautifully, and it becomes very clear in her writing that the life of an active sister is just as demanding and beautiful as that of a cloistered nun, if not more so. In the end I believe after prayer, talking with her spiritual director, seeking the advice of the sisters (from both, I believe), and examination of her own temperment (gifts and weaknesses) she was able to come to the conclusion that she was called to the cloister. It takes a very special soul to be an active sister, and she just did not see herself possessing those gifts needed. I think pray about it.

As Padre Pio wrote, "Pray. Hope. Don't worry."

"My daughter, be at peace; I am taking all these matters upon Myself. I will arrange all things..." (Jesus to St. Faustina, notebook I #215)

"My daughter, let nothing frighten or disconcert you. Remain deeply at peace. Everything is in My hands. I will give you to understand everything... be like a child..." (Jesus to St. Faustina, notebook I, #219)

EDITED: for typos... lots[/quote]

I feel very connected to St. Teresa of the Andes after re-reading these excerpts. Now that I understand that God, too, has not given me the qualities necessary to be present in the world as an active religious, I know where my heart is--in Carmel. I must remember that God gives us the graces to do what He is calling us to do. ;)

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