Ode to An Imperfect Carmelite

Ode to An Imperfect Carmelite July 17, 2020

I read the likes of Saint Teresa of Avila and

Saint John of the Cross,

Saint Therese of Lisieux, and do

Morning and evening prayer from the Divine office,

on the computer now,

And a half hour of Quiet Prayer, Daily Mass and the Rosary.

Yeah, what a saint right?

For all the times I’ve skipped, for, this reason or that,

I have no excuse.

You don’t know what I do wrong.

God knows.

God of love and mercy, of forgiveness,

God of the Sacraments.

He will be my judge.

Not you, not even me.

I trust Him.

He knows I am sinner but he let me be a Carmelite anyway.


Being a Secular Carmelite is a vocation, not half of a vocation, but a real one.  To be a Secular Carmelite is a joy.  I am married so I have these two vocations and find ways to roll them into one.  My husband sometimes does prayers with me or goes to Mass with me.  He often drives me to our monthly meetings. That is when we had our monthly meetings which have been temporarily cancelled due to the corona virus.

You may be wondering how one hears a calling to this vocation.  For me, although I was married and we had a teenage daughter, I felt something was missing in my spiritual life.  That was the call.  It was not something grandiose, and yet it was.  I found someone on line who went to the monthly meetings and lived in our town.  The meetings were about an hour away in a town near where my husband grew up. I contacted her.  She was the President of the group at the time.  She was willing to drive me to the meetings.  I was nervous and excited at the same time.

After attending the meetings for a number of months as a visitor I knew the call to be part of this was something I wanted.   I just knew.  For the love I God, it made so much sense to me, overwhelming sense.

I started the formation process with one other person in my class in November 2016 and received the scapular the following November, 2017.  Two years after that I made my first promises in 2019.  That means in two and a half years from now, God willing, I will make my final promises. Poverty, chastity and obedience are our promises, but as some of us are married or have jobs we live out these promises that correspond with our state of life.

It was harder to keep up with the prayer life of a secular Carmelite when I was working.  As that is no longer an option for me, I have thrown myself into a deeper Carmelite lifestyle, but also see room for improvement.  We are always called to a deeper, and ever deeper life with Christ.

We are a Discalced (It is a term that means-without shoes) Carmelite Community; I wear sandals most of the year.  We spend the rest of our lives in formation. As OCDS Carmelites we are called to be contemplative.  Our groups specific, chosen mission is to help take care of the cloistered nuns in whose building we meet.  Of course, we have to be charitable toward anyone just as any Christian would.

I would encourage all Catholics to look into religious life, or secular, sometimes called third order communities, and see where God may be calling you.

“With zeal I have been zealous for the Lord God of hosts.”
– Carmelite Motto, based on a quote from the Book 1 Kings 19:10


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