Cooking with the Carmelites

While I’m not exactly sure we are ready for our own spot on the Food Network, we certainly did have a lot of fun turning the kitchen upside down tonight! Here some snap shots of the whole event. Sorry the aromas don’t come through the internet, and there’s no taste testing either!

Two of our "New Buds" (aka a postulant and a novice) making flower arrangements

How many Thanksgivings have they had? And they're still running circles around the rest of us!


Published in: on November 24, 2010 at 9:41 pm  Comments (1)  

A Prelude to Advent

While your turkey is defrosting and you are getting ready for tomorrow’s celebration, here is a little reflection appropriate to this time of year.

A Prelude to Advent

Hush now, still.

                The Mystery advances.

Mother Earth surrenders all her produce

                For how can she compare with Mother Eve?

Vine, stalk, and branch can bear nothing

                To compare with the Virgin’s Harvest.

Darkness lengthens, not with malice

                Rather wrapping earth in a reverent veil.

A Dawn is coming in Whose light

                All stars and planets fade.

The warmth of self assurance departs

                And dependence-kindling-coolness creeps in.

Naught is ours which is not gift; every one of our breaths which now before us freeze

                Comes from (returning , too) the One Who soon makes Himself Gift.

The scampering, twittering, frolicking of nature

                Abates and waits.

Not in morbid hibernation

                But in reverent, silent retreat.

The action of daylight and summer

                Flows seamlessly into the contemplation of darkness and winter.

Seasons change, yet time will not end

                until all is fulfilled by an Infants birth.

So hush now, still.

                The Mystery advances.

Published in: on November 24, 2010 at 4:03 pm  Comments (1)  

¡Viva Cristo Rey!


Snow Dusted San Gabriel Mountains

Happy solemnity of Christ the King! His Divine Majesty sent us a downpour of graces these past two days…literally.

So when there was a bit of a break in the rain this morning I grabbed the camera and headed out to see what I could, um, well, see. (more…)

Published in: on November 21, 2010 at 8:56 am  Comments (1)  

Its beginning to look a lot like…

…almost Advent.

All right, all right, I know. It is way too early to start talking about Christmas, but can’t we start getting ready for getting ready? I mean, wouldn’t it be acceptable to prepare for our time of preparation? I can hardly wait to start waiting!!!

Two more weeks left of the (Liturgical) year, then we pull out all the purple and pink and start the countdown. Speaking with a number of sisters, we agreed that Advent is our favorite time of year; a time joining our Blessed Mother in silent, wonder-filled reflection of the Mystery at hand. Yes, there is the anticipation of the joys of Christmas, but the sense of longing that Advent engenders is so close to our Carmelite hearts. (more…)

Published in: on November 12, 2010 at 7:33 pm  Comments (1)  

Carmelites and Veterans

Carmelites and veterans have a long history.

Actually, the first Carmelites were veterans. Crusaders having fallen in love with the Holy Land, decided to remain and gathered as hermits on Mount Carmel.  In the 13th century, they took as the model of their way of life the spirit of the Prophet Elijah and so began the long history of our religious family.

Saint Teresa of Jesus (from Avila) even as a little girl, felt the call to lay down her life in defense of truth and set off to fight the Moors. There were countless times during the World Wars that Saint Therese of the Child Jesus appeared to soldiers, sailors, and airmen either guiding them to safety or defending them from danger. And Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) wrote that through union with Christ one may be present on every battlefield simultaneously fighting for good. So you can see how we would have a certain kinship with our veterans. (more…)

Published in: on November 11, 2010 at 8:51 am  Leave a Comment  

“So, what did you do today?”

This week magical things are happening at Sacred Heart Retreat House which is also our Motherhouse. Saturday is our annual “Family Festival and Boutique” and these last days of preparation are full, to say the least.

So if you were to take a sampling of sisters and ask them how they have been helping, you would get quite an overview of the event: (more…)

Published in: on November 4, 2010 at 8:22 pm  Comments (2)  

A Survey


Let’s do a quick survey.

Raise your hand if you knew that the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles print a magazine twice each year? Go ahead, raise them high so I can see. Hmm, all right.

Next question. Raise your hand if you have read an issue. You there, are you raising your hand or scratching your chin? Very good, I see. Thank you.

Now please raise your hand if you renewed your subscription. What?!?! You forgot to renew?!?!

(Sigh) That’s all right. It is not too late. The next issue is going to press in the next week or so, and there is still time. Just subscribe through our website ( and you won’t miss out on anything. The magazine is written, photographed, and edited by our own sisters and a few volunteers. The only thing we don’t do ourselves is print it (yet). So even if we get a bit behind with the blog, you can have the magazine on hand to get your Carmelite fix.

Ready for the next question?

Please raise your hand if you knew that we also just started an e-newsletter? Hmm, very telling. We need to get the word out a bit more.

If you’ve been enjoying the updates on the blog and website, you are going to be thrilled with the e-newsletter. All you have to do is let us know through the website and we will deliver it right to your in-box. Even better than door-to-door service!

Well, that’s all the questions for this survey. Thanks to all who participated! And for those of you who just read through and did not raise your hands, we’ll give you a chance again sometime.

Published in: on November 3, 2010 at 1:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Harvest of Holiness

This time of year, living in Southern California, I have to keep reminding myself it is Autumn. Growing up in the Midwest, the beginning of November  was heralded with falling leaves, dropping temperatures, and fields full of stubble after the harvest. Now all I see is blooming roses, still sunburned faces, and green lawns. While walking through the neighborhood the other day, I startled my companion by grabbing her arm and pointing to the only tree I had seen that had changed colors.

“Look! It is fall!”

Being a native Angelino, the sight was a bit lost on her, but she indulged me and appreciated my excitement.

But today and tomorrow are, in way, a celebration of Liturgical Autumn, a spiritual harvest.

Putting both All Saints Day and All Souls Day together we see how we celebrate/commemorate the Master of the Harvest gathering what He has planted. Just as the grain bins of the farmers are now filled with corn, beans, wheat, so eternity is filled with the souls of those who have gone before us, some still being winnowed, some already resting in the vision of the Holy Trinity. (more…)

Published in: on November 1, 2010 at 7:49 am  Leave a Comment