Whose birthday, you may ask. Ours! And we are 90 years old today.
On February 2, 1921, Venerable Maria Luisa Josefa and her companions began living the Rule of Carmel. They rose to the sound of the traditional Carmelite summons to prayer, “Praised be Jesus Christ and His Virgin Mother! Come to prayers, sisters. Come to praise the Lord!” What joy must have flooded their hearts as in the early morning hours they donned the Carmelite habit for the first time.
At long last the desire of Mother Luisita was fulfilled, joining the spirit of Carmel with the active life. Nine decades later and in another country, we continue that mission.
On this same date in 1983 we were given another cause for rejoicing. Having been a province of Mexico since we came to the United States in 1927, by the personal decision of (soon to be Blessed) John Paul II, we were given canonical status as the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles.
Of course, today is not just about celebrating, although you can be sure we are doing a fare share of that today. Above all it is a day on which each of us renews her dedication to our way of life. Almost a century ago, in the midst of terrible religious persecution, our first sisters had the courage and trust to dedicate themselves to this radical way of life. Now in our day, it is much easier to be a Carmelite. There are no government officials hunting us down, and we do not need to communicate in code to prevent being discovered. But the challenge to be true to the inspiration the Holy Spirit gave those women is unchanged.
And foremost in our minds are two of our sisters in particular, who are just a few days away from professing their perpetual vows. Those of us who have already professed remember that day as an unparalleled grace. And those of us still looking forward to their final vows are piously anxious to make this radical consecration. Soon we will witness two young women dedicating their entire lives to Christ in an irrevocable covenant. All the sacrifices and trials of the past ninety years are so worth it! God cannot be outdone in generosity and as long as we are faithful to His initiative, we will have many more days like this.
So we invite you to celebrate with us today. Join us in spirit as we pray in gratitude for the many blessings already received and in supplication for those yet to be given. Oh, yes, and if you can, find a little way to celebrate today!