“The solitude of Carmel is not isolation. I believe that all creation is united on a very deep level, and that our prayer and very life as Carmelites aids in the transformation of the world.”
Growing up, I had a good life planned for myself. I would go to medical school, marry, have several children and live in the suburbs of New York City, in a place of natural beauty, but in proximity to all the cultural attractions of the city. Ideally, my family would live on my husband’s salary and I would offer my services in a free clinic. I began college in pre-med…
Yes, I think God laughs. During that first year of college, in a moment in and out of time, God somehow tendered an invitation to which I somehow said yes, and all my plans and assumptions were overturned. I fell in love with God and slowly came to realize that what I most deeply desired was a life as totally and consciously taken up with God as possible. I equated that with prayer and becoming a nun. Never having known any sisters, I went to the university library and leafed through a book called Catholic Sisterhoods in the United States. The page on Carmel said “Carmel is about prayer.” and I said, “This is it!”
Over fifty years later, I continue to say that. Throughout those years, with all their vicissitudes, Carmel has been deeply fulfilling. The simply structured lifestyle with its unique balance of solitude and community and its focus on prayer, the incomparable heritage of spiritual guides like Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and Therese of Lisieux, the loving and challenging companionship of other women on the same journey -- these have all provided a vehicle into the ever deepening mystery of God and God’s love in Christ.
The solitude of Carmel is not isolation. I believe that all creation is united on a very deep level, and that our prayer and very life as Carmelites aids in the transformation of the world. I find that aging seems only to heighten sensitivity to the needs of others and of the world, and prayer becomes more and more informed by solicitude for all that is human.