The Carmelite Vocation

A Carmelite seeks union with God in all things. A Carmelite sees herself in the laughs of the Baby Jesus; she identifies herself with the Crucified Christ and is exulted with her Risen Lord.

A Carmelite loves with the love enkindled by the Holy Spirit sent by the Father. A Carmelite walks with Jesus on His journey, cries with Mary, His mother. A Carmelite is on the Cross with her Lord Jesus Christ, but she also walks with Jesus throughout His entire ministry on earth for the glory of His Father and the salvation of souls.
...How could she turn away from His Love, a Love that is too great to fathom.
The reason for the Carmelite life, its prayer and austerity, its silence and enclosure, is to allow the Carmelite Sister to devote her entire energy to the worship, the contemplation, and love of God. The sisters pray for the whole world; this is how they express their love and concern.

The Sisters pray quietly in Choir (the part of the Chapel that is reserved to the Sisters) each morning and evening, and at times their prayer takes them into the monastery gardens.
When the Sisters acquired the adjacent property the enclosure was extended, and in thanksgiving the community took possession of the new grounds with a Prayer Procession.

Another aspect of the life of prayer is the place that the cell (monastic name for sleeping quarters) has in each Sister's life. It is here that an intimate experience takes place between God and the Carmelite Sister as she prays, reads, or works in solitude.

Carmel, for all it's enclosure and solitude is essentially missionary and active but it takes a living faith to comprehend this. A Carmelite Sister is dedicated to the prayer for the needs of the Church, the Pope, Bishop, Priests, religious, laity, and especially for the diocese in which the Carmel is located. She prays for the return of lapsed Catholics to the spirit and practice of the Faith, for the conversion and salvation of all peoples, and recommends to God their needs in all circumstances of life.
Prayer is the first and fundament characteristic of the Carmelite life and represents the traditional and essential mission of the order. This prayer not only comprises two hours of mental prayer in choir but is even more a permanent attitude of recollection called "life of prayer" which consists in seeking intimate union with God all day long, through the various occupations of domestic life. The mental prayer of the Sisters is enriched and nourished by the Divine Office recited in Choir and especially by daily celebration of the Eucharist, which is considered as the center of personal and community life.
Recreation periods are part of the Carmelite life and two hours a day are generally provided when the Sisters gather to talk, sew, knit, make rosaries or just catch up on the day's events and how the others are doing.

Our monastery in Salt Lake City is located at the base of Mount Olympus, part of the Wasatch Range, and most of the property within the enclosure consists of gardens with two wide expanses of lawn. The Sisters themselves do much of the upkeep with some help from friends of the community. Some recreation periods are held indoors but during both winter and summer they enjoy the out door gardens.

In this picture the Sisters are plowing through the snow with the German Shepherd guard dogs while Mount Olympus is seen rising above the property.
As in every walk of life work is very necessary part of everyone's day and the Carmelite Sisters are no exception. They engage in baking and distributing the altar breads to the Diocese of Salt Lake City and to a few Churches in neighboring states besides producing the Carmelite Doll and preparing for the annual Fair.

Since a good part of each day is given to prayer, Divine Office, and community meals and recreation the work periods are busy times in the monastery. It is then that they prepare the sacristy and Chapel for Mass and do the work in the altar bread room, kitchen, and laundry.

Here the Sister dons an apron and prepares the meal for the community.
Community life is also an important element in the life of the Carmelite Sisters as a school of perfection. The Community is modeled on the idea of a true family governed by love. The number of Sisters is never more then twenty for it is easier to form personal relationships in a group where all the members know one another intimately and love and help one another, united as they are by the same vocation, in the image of a small "College of Apostles.

The demands of the Carmelite "way of life" are tempered by a respect for persons and great kindness which consists in esteem for human values such as talents, learning, culture, especially religious culture, affability, joy, and mutual understanding.

A candidate who asks to enter the monastery must have a prolonged period of formation - Postulancy for a year, Novitiate training for two years, followed by another three years with Temporary Vows. It is during this time that a young woman learns the values and the ideals of the Carmelite way of life and is enabled to be integrated into the community, and in this way she commits herself to a lifelong service of God and the Church by taking Solemn Vows.

Here a Carmelite Sister pronounces her Vows in the hands of the Prioress, the Superior, with the Community present in the choir for the ceremony.
Here a Carmelite Sister pronounces her Vows in the hands of the Prioress, the Superior, with the Community present in the choir for the ceremony.
The age requirements of our community is between twenty and forty but there is always the possibility of an exception. Normal good health, physical and psychological, are important factors when determining the presence of a religious vocation.

The legislation of the entire Order of the Carmel has been updated according to the spirit and decrees of the Second Vatican Council. Thus the horarium (time for Eucharist, Mental Prayer, Divine Office, meals and recreation) is decided by each community. Detailed prescriptions about the Habit, Enclosure, and other aspects of community life have given way to broader guidelines that can be adapted to any climate or culture.

These changes do not affect any of the essential characteristics of the Carmelite spirit. The balance between prayer, silence, solitude, and community life, which form the richness and the mystery of Carmel have been retained. The basic life of the Sisters who live in the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Salt Lake City is the same as that lived by Saint Therese in the Lisieux Carmel in France a century ago.


5:25 a.m.: Signal to Rise

5:45 a.m.: Office and Mental Prayer

7:30 a.m.: Mass

8:30 a.m.: Breakfast - Visit to Blessed Sacrament and Work

11:15 a.m.: Office, Examine Dinner and Recreation

1:30 p.m.: Work Visit to Blessed Sacrament

2:00 p.m.: Office and Spiritual Reading

2:45 p.m.: Prayers for dying

Work 4:25 p.m.: Office and Mental Prayer

6:00 p.m.: Supper and Recreation

8:00 p.m.: Office and Free Time (Strict Silence)

10:00 p.m.: Retire

God's gift to Carmel

Three Doctors of Divine Love