Many of you have most likely seen me blogging and are thinking, how is she blogging from the cloister? Great question- I am not! I left Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph a few months ago, but not because I did not love it or I “couldn’t persevere”. On the contrary…I wanted more solitude! Our Lady has had me on quite the journey that few will understand, but after two years in Carmel, my love for Her grew so overwhelmingly intense through Her ignored message of Fatima, that I knew Our Lord was asking something of me I did not quite understand, yet. All of that only intensified when I was named after Her Heart and Sorrows.
Before entering Carmel in 2017, for about four months prior to that, I did nothing but research the 3rd secret of Fatima. I took up the practice of the First Saturday Devotion and made Our Lady of Fatima the very center of my life and core of my spirituality. Carmel was everything I wanted and more. The solitude, the cloister and the hours of mental prayer- it became radically clear that Carmel is truly Our Lady’s order, if not Her very favorite order where the best of the saints were formed. But, what grew disappointing overtime and a longing in my heart that could not be ignored was I could not practice the First Saturday Devotion. This had became a part of my life all those months before – the only thing Our Lady had asked the faithful to participate in. The Pope’s only job is to consecrate Russia with the Bishops. And for us? Only the First Saturday Devotion.
Before pursuing Carmel, ALL the orders I discerned first took a fourth vow of total consecration to Mary called the Marian Vow. I flew to Italy to join an order specifically for that vow. I discerned a total of three orders before entering Carmel and it was all for that specific vow. In my heart, I always wanted that Marian Vow with the Carmelite spirituality, but I could never find it. As my novitiate progressed I talked to two very wise priests, one providentially was in the Marian Vow and he taught me how to apply it to my life in Carmel. The other priest was a Carmelite Monk from France who helped me discern whether or not God did indeed want me to be a Carmelite with the Marian Vow- and whether He wanted it at the Carmel I was in or elsewhere. The idea of starting a new order kept popping up in my mind, but that never truly felt right either.
The desire to smother Carmel in the Marian Vow and the Fatima message grew and grew and grew and grew. It felt like such a unique desire, that I was called to pursue it individually; whatever that meant! I gave all of these desires to God and discerned it carefully with the priests and finally the priest from France said words I will never forget. It was as though Our Lord was giving me a demand through him. “Do not tell the mothers these desires you have of taking a fourth vow to Mary, if it is truly the will of God and not your own they will approach you. If you are called to take this vow somewhere else- they will send you home.” He said all of this with the intent to make sure I was not doing my own will, but God’s. The will of God is my whole life, so I took his advice and waited. It just happened to be during the week of the community’s novena to Saint Therese (who I love times a million) of the Child Jesus. The famous rose novena, that I never took seriously because it has never worked for me.
My specific question in that novena to Therese was- does Our Lady want a sort of marriage between Carmel and the Marian Vow? I loved the cloister and wanted nothing but that, but does Heaven want this as well, after all? On the last day of the Novena on Therese’s feast day, I was cook in the kitchen so I did not see this event take place: All the sisters were in the choir chanting the Divine Office; my choir stall happened to be directly underneath the statue of Therese. Each day a sister would typically place a vase of roses at her feet, for the rose novena. Therese is known for giving answers through roses. Her famous slogan is “I will send down a shower of roses from heaven”. Most men think it’s pretty feminine, but change their mind when she answers them with bouquets; she has a great sense of humor! During the chanting of the psalms, the sisters recounted to me that they saw the vase of flowers knock off the statue “by themselves” and shatter petals of pink and red over my entire choir stall.
There was no wind; we were inside the building. The sisters left the petals to surprise me, so when I came back to the choir after siesta I had nothing but petals. Later that day I was able to see how there were no petals left on the roses; usually there remains at least a few. Mother later told me it looked as though they were perfectly thrown there the way they all landed when she saw it happen. I remember looking up at Therese knowing I received my answer. God wanted this. But how – and where? Would it be here in this community, or elsewhere? Deep down I had a sense that as holy as this Carmel was they would never let me offer myself to Our Lady in the form of a vow nor practice the First Saturday Devotion. I knew this devotion was so important to Our Lord and knew it even more when the day I was chosen to be clothed was a First Saturday. I did not choose that, nor the name I received. We never make suggestions in Carmel, we always let the Holy Ghost decide.
A little over a month later, I was perfectly content in waiting for God to give me an answer. I trusted Our Lady and pondered it in my heart daily what the roses meant, yet I was resigned that His will would be fulfilled in His perfect timing. One day I was looking for our dog in the woods (we have a large property) and my Novice Mistress and the Mother Prioress approached me and said shocking words I never saw coming. They said they believed it time for me to leave Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, that I would indeed “live and die with Mary and be Her secretary” – but not in their community. I told them nothing of my desires and I knew God was speaking through them as He always did. I knew at that moment, I would somehow be a Carmelite with the Marian Vow elsewhere. I was so at peace, because I remembered the priest’s words: to know if it’s God’s will and not my own, let the Mothers decide! Obedience is everything and I was so thankful that Our Lady showed me these desires were not my own, but Her Son’s!
Where am I now? I am doing exactly what was placed on my heart for months in Carmel; I am trying to establish myself as a Carmelite Hermitess with a fourth vow to Mary – a vow that will entail a daily offering as of victim of holocaust to bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This life will center entirely on the fulfillment of Our Lady’s requests at Fatima; making daily acts of reparation for the forgotten Immaculate Heart of Mary and the sins made against it, observing the faithful monthly practice of the First Saturday devotion and attending exclusively the Latin Mass and praying the Carmelite Rite of the Divine Office. I am nothing but weakness, but from what Our Lord told Saint Faustina when she was asked to do the very same type of work, she complained to Our Lord of her weakness and how she is the worst person for the job; Our Lord said “that is why I am choosing you. My power is made perfect in weakness”. I can certainly use all of your prayers!
Four vows will make up my way of life: poverty, chastity, obedience and the Marian Vow. The hardest cross through all of this is the cross of misunderstanding – not from friends, but typically from one’s own family. Some say “someone who is loud could never last in a cloister”. That may appear so in my case at present as I am not at that Carmel anymore, but I actually wanted MORE seclusion than even the cloister could offer; it was the community part of it all. But what faithful Catholics need to know is Our Lord never looks at our personalities, only our hearts. Certain hearts are not satisfied with anything, but Him. Personality has nothing to do with a hunger for seclusion; on the contrary I met the most outgoing sisters in the cloister who gave up everything to be alone with the Alone and typically brought the most joy to the community recreations. If you are a young girl and discerning the cloistered life in general, trust that Our Lord only looks at the heart. I simply desire the life that I had, but smothered in Our Lady of Fatima, without community. Will you support me through your prayers?
I can’t thank my wonderful grandparents, mom, aunts, uncles, and cousins enough for their support in this endeavor, I believe God will accomplish in His timing. Fatima is the remedy for our times; I expect many attacks from the evil one for dedicating an entire way of life to Jesus’ Mother. Mary is Virgo Potens (Virgin most powerful) and my life! The evil one flees before a very sigh She breathes over a soul She loves. At the end of the day, I am not living my life to gain human support or esteem (although it is helpful). My whole purpose is aimed at giving my life for the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to be Christ’s bride even though I am weak and incompetent. As Therese said, she always knew God’s will by the desires He placed on her heart. These words are what reminded me of the importance of this message from Fatima, even though the Carmel I had been in most recently was the most perfect I had experienced, Our Lady’s message was still being ignored:
Father, the most Holy Virgin is very sad because no one has paid any attention to Her Message, neither the good nor the bad. The good continue on their way, but without giving any importance to Her Message. The bad, not seeing the punishment of God actually falling upon them, continue their life of sin without even caring about the Message. But believe me, Father, God will chastise the world and this will be in a terrible manner. The punishment from Heaven is imminent. Sister Lucia of Fatima
If you are interested in being a part of this mission and wish to donate, message me if you would like to speak with me directly on my contact page. And for more details on the Carmelite Hermitess of Our Lady of Fatima, go to the about page for an extensive outline of the order and daily schedule (Hororium). AVE MARIA!