Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Draw me, we will run after You...

"The deepest longing of a woman's heart is to give herself lovingly, to belong to another, and to possess this other being completely. Only God can welcome a person's total surrender in such a way that one does not lose one's soul in the process but wins it. And only God can bestow Himself upon a person so that He fulfills this being completely and loses nothing of Himself in so doing. That is why total surrender which is the principle of the religious life is simultaneously the only adequate fulfillment possible for woman's yearning."

Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

I am incredibly blessed beyond belief to be able to say that I am debt free, and that I will be entering postulancy this year. I can't express the joy I feel in knowing that God is calling me to move forward. He has opened the door wide open, and I will run through it.

I have learned so much in my year of Candidacy, and it is humbling to think of everyone that supported me in so many way to enable me to move forward. I'm so very grateful.

Today is wedding day in Carmel - 3 Sister are making their first profession of vows, and 2 Sisters are receiving their religious names as they become novices. It is such a beautiful day and I can't wait to see them!

I will be going home to my family in Colorado next week to spend some time with them and to prepare to enter an entirely new world. I've been getting my feet wet during this past year, but this next step will mean leaving behind many of the things that I've been able to keep over this past year, and I will continue to need many prayers. There will be many preparations to make (both interior and exterior), so I'm very glad to have some time at home with my family to process all that is happening.

In August, I'll return to California and begin a month of Aspirancy, where I'll be preparing to enter. And God willing, I will be entering in September.

I will continue to update as I can during the next month - please keep me in your prayers as I move forward, trusting God to continue to lead me step by step as His will unfolds for me.

With all my love and gratitude

In His Sacred Heart,

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fundraising Update

Dear Friends,

I have been enormously encouraged by the generosity and support of so many people, may of whom I've never met before, who have sent me notes of encouragement and financial support to help me move closer to my goal of being debt free by this Wednesday, July 16th.  If my student loans are paid off, I will be free to enter Postulancy with the Carmelite Sisters this year (if you're unfamiliar with the stages of formation, you can read more here.)

As of today (Saturday), I still need an additional $6,000 to pay off all of my student loans in full.  Going forward, I will also need about $5,000 to cover the cost of health insurance during the three year novitiate, as well.

I'm so grateful to each person who has helped me come closer and closer to reaching my goal. I have been paying off my student loans since I graduated in 2008, but when I began Candidacy in August I still had around $24,000 left to pay off. To be so close to being debt free is really an incredible feeling.

More than anything, I am filled with gratitude for what God has done in my life. My conversion story was featured by the Coming Home Network this month. It is amazing to see all that He has done to bring me here, and I am so excited to find out what He has in store for me in the future.

If I don't reach my goal by Wednesday, I will have another year in Candidacy to pay off my debt and to continue growing in my faith while living here in Los Angeles with the Sisters. So, whether I enter Postulancy or continue on for one more year in Candidacy, I know that I will be where God wants me, and that is all that matters.

If you are able to help me with a donation, please consider giving - even small gifts add up. And if you are able to give a larger gift, you will be my hero.

May God bless you! I am praying for you all!

In Christ,

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

J.M. + J. T.

Dear Friends,

Praised be Jesus Christ! Tomorrow we begin our novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in preparation for the biggest Carmelite feast of the year, which falls a week from Wednesday, on July 16th. It is a big day here, and I'm really looking forward to being here with the Sisters on that day. There will be three Sisters making their first profession, and it will be an incredible day of giving thanks to God for his great love.

I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported me with their prayers and financial support as I've been working to pay off my student loans so that I am free to enter postulancy later this summer - I have been able to raise about $5,000 through the generosity of many people in the last few weeks, and it has been an incredible encouragement to me. I still need about $9,000 to pay off my loans completely, and I must have that money by the 16th to enter this year.

I think that of everything I've learned throughout this discernment process (and I've learned so, so much)... the most important thing has been learning how to trust God - to really trust Him. To be able to honestly believe in the very depth of my soul that God is in control and that He will work everything out as He sees fit.  It may not be what I had in mind, or would prefer, but I trust that everything that happens to me comes from out of His inexhaustible mercy and tender love (even suffering and pain, when it is for our ultimate good). Trusting Him has always been hard for me, and I think it's only by taking little steps in faith, without being able to see where our foot will land, that we will learn how trustworthy God is. I wanted to share with you a quote that a Sister shared with me recently that I've been thinking about quite a bit:

The root choice is to trust at all times that God is with you and will give you what you most need... God says to you, "I love you, I am with you, I want to see you come closer to me and experience the joy and peace of my presence. I want to give you a new heart and a new spirit. I want you to speak with my mouth, see with my eyes, hear with my ears, touch with my hands. All that is mine is yours. Just trust me and let me be your God.

Remember, you are held safe. You are loved. You are protected. You are in communion with God and with those whom God has sent you. What is of God will last. It belongs to the eternal life. Choose it, and it will be yours.

- Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love

So I am perfectly at peace, knowing that if I give everything to God, He will do with me whatever he wants. And what could be better than that?

For this novena, I will be praying especially for all of you who have held me in your prayers, and I have held you in mine. Please let me know if you have any special intentions that I can be praying for - I hold you all close to my heart each day before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. 

And if you are able to support me financially (even in a small way), please consider doing so - I'm incredibly grateful.

God bless you!

In His Sacred Heart,