Seven days in a week, seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, seven colors in the rainbow. Yes, seven is a perfect number. And now we have been blessed with seven Aspirants.
So what’s an aspirant? Exactly what it sounds like! Or rather what she sounds like. Still not clear? Let me explain.
About a year or so ago seven young women began their journey to Carmel. They left their families and moved to Duarte, California. They prayed with us, worked with us, and began to learn our life. But they kept their own cars, their i-pods, phones, and wardrobes. We call this initial stage Candidacy and so they were called Candidates. After 365 days (more or less) of waking up at 4:45 a.m. and many other rather-challenging-Carmelite-things, they have been approved to enter Carmel.
September 14, 2010 is their date. It is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the day on which Carmelites traditionally renew their vows. (More about that later). Now they are aspiring to enter the holy, enclosed garden of God known as Carmel, hence the name Aspirants.
They have brought a unique joy to life here. We have new members enter every year, but it has never become a matter of routine and we certainly do not take vocations for granted. Each of these seven young women has a unique story, a life that God has blessed and experiences He will use for the glory of His Name. They are talented, generous, and beautiful in every sense of the word. And they are choosing to follow a call that resonates in the silence of their hearts. Shutting out the maddening voices from the world that pull them to any number of other paths, they are walking the narrow road in the footsteps of the Lamb.
They will stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before them yet in a mysterious way, their response today lends strength to the assent of those who have labored long in the vineyard.
So, keep our seven Aspirants in your prayers. And one day, God willing, they will reach that to which they aspire- perfect union with God as a Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. Oh, and keep all the Carmelites in your prayers so that we may reach the same goal as well!