Monday, March 25, 2013, began like any other day. We arrived in the chapel for morning prayers, Divine Office, and Mass. It was a clear, crisp southern California morning, with the almost-full moon still visible in the northern sky. An atmosphere of expectancy filled the hours following our morning devotions and grew in intensity as the day unfolded. In the late afternoon, approximately ninety Carmelite Sisters began gathering at our Motherhouse. Smiling, they entered our Sacred Heart Chapel and looked around.
Of course, they were searching for Sister Maria Goretti and Sister Sister Gianna, two of our novices, who were kneeling in the front of the chapel near the altar. In the sanctuary, on a small table were two brown habits, with cincture, rosary, scapular and veil. This was the day that Sister Maria Goretti and Sister Gianna had been waiting for – their investiture – the day they put on for the first time the holy habit of Carmel.
Mother Judith, our Superior General, approached the ambo and gazed into the sea of brown and white before her. We literally filled the Chapel and in just a few moments there would be two more. Praise God! Mother spoke beautifully about the “yes” of our blessed Mother which changed the course of history. She focused on the divine mystery of the Incarnation, that precise moment when Christ became present within the womb of our Blessed Mother. Mother reminded us that we carry Him also into today’s world. You could hear a pin drop.
The Rite of Investiture continued until that moment when the two novices received their habits. Each carried the folded habit down the aisle and exited through the side door. A flash of the camera captured the moment.
We remained in the body of the church praying together and awaiting the arrival of our newly-clothed Sisters. After they returned, we prayed Evening Prayer together. A little later, in the dining room, each sister, in turn, embraced and greeted Sister Maria Goretti and Sister Gianna.
Every year there is an investiture in Carmel. It is part of the rhythm of our lives. It is eagerly awaited and quickly integrated into the ebb and flow that is Carmel. Sister Maria Goretti and Sister Gianna, we eagerly await your profession of vows. We will again gather at our Motherhouse to praise and thank God for the wonder of our religious vocation and His faithful love which calls anew in every age to the chosen souls He personally calls to Carmel.