Our Way of Life
Our Way of Life
The image of Christ which unites all Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus is the Heart of Our Lord. This is the source of our love and center of our life. Through our contemplation of His infinite love, we are filled with His love and feel the need to give this love to others. Since our works and service flow from a union with unconditional Love, our apostolates are marked by an availability to serve all people, especially the poor and abandoned. Every Carmelite Sister of the Divine Heart of Jesus participates in the mission of the Catholic Church through her heart’s unique and total response to the Divine Heart.
The Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus recognize the Catholic Church as the Bride of Christ and His Mystical Body. She is our Mother, and we obey Her Magisterium with filial fidelity. United with St. Teresa of Jesus, the Reformer of Carmel and a Doctor of the Church, our hearts exclaim, “I am a daughter of the Church!” Christians are called into the community of the Church through their baptismal consecration. Through her religious consecration, the Carmelite Sister of the Divine Heart of Jesus deepens her baptismal promises, and promises to follow our Lord and participate in His mission of saving souls. She recognizes that the Church, at Her deepest core, is a missionary Church. The Carmelite Sister’s heart longs to participate in the Church’s mission. Therefore, our apostolic and charitable works are essential elements of our religious life and are united with the Church’s love and concern for every soul. “We are born out of the zeal for souls of our Mother Foundress,” Blessed Maria Teresa of St. Joseph (Constitutions 54). Our life of prayer is intrinsically linked to the prayer of the Church; the sanctification and work of priests is one of our greatest intentions.
The spirit of Carmel is the spirit of prayer: a Carmelite witnesses to the presence of God. The prayer of contemplation, gazing on the One whom we know loves us, is the greatest desire, priority and act of our lives. This prayer unites us to God and allows Him to save souls through our lives. He is the vine; we are the branches: our contemplation is a service to the Church and the world. As a Religious Community, we pray in common and unite ourselves to the prayers of the Church and the needs of the world. We come together daily for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, recitation of the Divine Office and two periods of silent meditation: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20).
The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. We recognize the celebration of the Holy Eucharist as a participation in the Sacrifice of the New Covenant, the perfect oblation of the Son to the Father. Called to make reparation to the Divine Heart, we unite our vowed life, our prayer, our penance, our apostolic work – our very selves – with the Son as a sacrifice to the Father. As a true and faithful Bride of her Divine Spouse and as an icon of the Church, the Carmelite Sister of the Divine Heart of Jesus receives the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ with daily fidelity and seeks to continue her communion with the Holy Eucharist throughout the day through frequent visits to the chapel. This celebration of the Holy Eucharist also includes Eucharistic Adoration, where we gaze on “the One whom we know loves us.” Our Adoration of the Body of Christ, at the same time, makes us more attentive to our Lord present in the flesh of our brothers and sisters in need. Thus, our contemplative-apostolic spirit receives its nourishment and reaches its fulfillment in the Eucharist: Source and Summit!
One of the gifts of the charism of Bl. Maria Teresa is a family spirit. As our Religious Life witnesses to the inner life of the Trinity, our family spirit is a unity that celebrates differences. As we recognize the dignity and gifts of every Sister and grow in mutual understanding and love, we witness to the love of God and the unity of the Spirit. What unites us all is our shared grace and mission, the charism of our Carmel D.C.J. Our community life, our family spirit, “is not merely ‘a means to an end’; rather it is simply the way of living our religious life to its fullest” (Constitutions 95). The expressions of love in our apostolates are an extension of the love we share in our Community: it is where we learn to practice mercy, humility, forgiveness, patience, and all the virtues which Jesus Christ embodies. This family spirit that we have received from our Foundress is based on “our attachment to Jesus Christ which we share, as well as our wish to respond to our Lord’s prayer for oneness, because our oneness has an apostolic dimension: ‘So that the world may believe’ (Jn. 17:21)” (Constitutions 94).
Our apostolic life consists of work for the salvation of souls in reparation to the Divine Heart of Jesus. Our apostolates aim to fulfill the desire of Bl. Maria Teresa to bring the contemplative life of Carmel into the direct apostolate. We are spiritual mothers who provide a home for souls in the Divine Heart of Jesus. Since the Carmel of the Divine Heart of Jesus is an international Congregation, these Homes – orphanages, homes for seniors, daycare centers, etc. – adapt to the needs of the people we serve; the poor and abandoned always receive our special attention. In the spirit of Bl. Maria Teresa, our apostolate is not bound by physical structures. The main purpose of Carmel DCJ is mission. We bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the love of the Divine Heart to every person we encounter.