Carmelite Sisters ~ Celebrating 90 Years!

God’s providence in bringing good out of evil is truly awe inspiring. The violent religious persecution in Mexico in the 1920s, compelled our Foundress, Venerable Mother Luisita, to leave her homeland and the people she lovingly served to seek refuge in the United States. Although Mother Luisita was forced to leave everything behind, she brought with her, her most cherished possessions – her unwavering love for God and an ironclad confidence in His providence. Her trust would be well-rewarded.

For as it turns out, the dark days of fleeing the persecution were merely the planting of little seeds in the soil that would deeply take root, grow steadily and blossom into that which is Mother Luisita’s legacy today – blending the contemplative spirit of Carmel with active apostolic works. Today, the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angles continue her legacy of promoting a deeper spiritual life among God’s people through health care, education and spiritual retreats serving tens of thousands of people each year, across five states, six apostolic centers, and seven archdiocesan elementary and high schools.

Throughout 2017, we are celebrating the 90th anniversary of the founding of our community in the United States. We invite you to join our celebration! We will be sharing a wide variety of information, trivia, history, videos – and perhaps even a surprise or two – on our website and across all our social media platforms. So please be sure to check back often and help us celebrate 90 Years with the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles!

For questions or to RSVP over the phone, please call (626) 289-1353 ext. 258

From Small Beginnings Come Great Things

“I remember Mother Luisita from the early days of her work in Los Angeles. With all her modesty and humility, it was evident that she was a woman with a cause. Her work in Mexico had been all but crushed, but she had no time for tears. The works would go on because it was God’s work.”
-Rev. Harold E. Ring, S.j.

Mother Luisita and two other sisters stepped onto Los Angeles soil for the first time on June 24, 1927, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Moral, spiritual, and political upheaval was enveloping Mother Luisita’s native Mexico in the 1920s. Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament had become a light in that darkness of confusion and hatred, establishing schools, hospitals, and orphanages in Mexico. As a result, the Mexican government was searching for her and her sisters. In June of 1927, it became necessary for her to undertake the rigorous, dangerous journey to the United State in search of a safe refuge for her new community. The very persecution which sought to destroy her work ended up being
the incentive through which it spread to a new land.

What thoughts must have filled their minds as Mother and the Sisters crossed into the United States, the home of religious freedom. Many friends and relatives had risked their lives to give them shelter, to assist in providing for their needs and in serving those entrusted to their care, to help in the arrangement of this journey. The words Viva Cristo Rey – Long live Christ the King, the final words of so many martyrs who sacrificed their lives in Mexico for the sake of the Catholic Church, must have resonated in their hearts. Even as they crossed the border, they thanked God for the new friends who welcomed them.

With the last stage of their journey ending in Los Angeles in the early afternoon on June 24, 1927, Mother Luisita and her companions wrote the first pages of the history of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. The Great Depression loomed on the horizon but Mother and her sisters were no strangers to poverty. The sufferings they had undergone in Mexico due to the persecution only intensified their passion – that of bringing God’s light into a world growing darker and colder.

As daughters of Mother Luisita, the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles strive to do the same today, bringing the light of Christ to the youngest students, the most elderly residents, and the many men and women who fall between.

Today, we continue to travel with Venerable Mother Luisita as our guide, our spirit, our charism, our ideal. At the heart of the Carmelite vocation is our unwavering and passionate mission to travel towards the living.

Her ideal of combining contemplation with apostolic love taught her daughters to cling to God in mind and heart, while associating themselves with the work of Redemption and spreading the Kingdom of God with all those we encounter. We are at the service of the family for life! We nurture the spiritual lives of families through service in education, retreats, and healthcare. We foster within all a deeper prayer life, leading parched souls from all walks of life to the living waters of God’s love through the journey of prayer.

As we celebrate the 90th anniversary of our arrival in Los Angeles, we, the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles continue our journey with hope, abandonment to God’s Divine Providence, and love for each one of you. We invite you to join us on this journey… hop aboard!

“How beautiful it is to be in the hands
of God, searching His Divine gaze in
readiness to do whatever He asks.”
Venerable Mother Luisita

With Our Profound Gratitude

It was a hot, muggy day in June 1927. The train whistle announced its entry into the Central Los Angeles Train Station and billows of steam accompanied its arrival. The brakes screeched.

Three women, undistinguishable from the rest of the throng of passengers, disembarked and looked around, searching the faces in the waiting crowd. Not finding immediately the face they were searching for, they picked up their frugal parcels and began walking.

These three Carmelite Sisters were carrying a heavy load but the load was not the parcels; rather, it was the load of the memories of what they had just been through, the horrors of war and the atrocities during the systematic religious persecution of Catholics in Mexico.

Their journey was over. They were free. They were safe.

Although only three exiled Carmelite Sisters came to Los Angeles on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, June 24, 1927, there were scores more at the limit of their endurance awaiting their turn to come.

During 2017 – the year in which we are celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the arrival of the Carmelite Sisters in Los Angeles – we are eager to use this opportunity to say thank you. We want to express our prayerful gratitude to all of you who helped us when Mother Luisita, Mothers Margarita Maria and Sister Teresa arrived tired and feeling so very alone – exiles, refugees, and homeless.

Immaculate Heart Sisters

Immaculate Heart Sisters

You opened wide your arms, embraced us and told us “Mi casa es su casa” and we have not forgotten you, nor all of the support you gave us in those early days.

Bishop John J. Cantwell

Bishop John J. Cantwell

For us, at first we wanted temporary lodging only while the Cristero War was raging in Mexico, but as time went on we discerned together it was God’s will for us to remain in the United States.

Father Francis Ott

Father Francis Ott

On this our ninetieth anniversary, we want you to know that every new postulant and novices learns about you and, yes, from you, Father Ott. We learn what true friendship is and the sacrifices made on our behalf in the living out of that friendship.

From all eternity…

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord
and let your perpetual light shine upon them

80 Years in the Hands of God

In 1924, just a few years before she had
to leave her beloved Mexico in disguise as
a refugee from religious persecution…

Look to the future

Mother Luisita and two other sisters stepped onto
Los Angeles soil for the first time on June 24, 1927…

Interview with Sister Timothy Marie, O.C.D.

We haven’t seen much of you these past months,
Sister Timothy Marie. Is it true that you are working
on a manuscript of a new book?

Years of Collective Service

12 sites from California to Florida

Professed Sisters

Hailing from 11 Countries

Days of Collective Service

17 Novice, Postulants and Candidates

For questions or to RSVP over the phone, please call (626) 289-1353 ext. 258