It's been a few days since I posted.
Actually, I have been learning, again, about the beauty of religious life in the Church - the amazing variety, the awe-inspiring diversity, of the charisms given by God to his Church and to the world.
We visited two Carmelite communities in St. Louis in order to be immersed in the Carmelite way of life. The Sisters taught us about the vocation to Carmel and showed how it is lived in the day to day lives of the Sisters and Nuns.
Because we saw both the active and the cloistered expressions of this life.
The Carmelite way is descended from Elijah the prophet, who was zealous for the Lord, the God of Israel. (Stunningly, their coat of arms includes a hand wielding a sword, just so we got the point!) They look to "Christ in prayer on the mountain" and follow him in a particular way. Carmelites (even the active variety) are hermits, who come together with other hermits to praise God and to show love, but always, they retire to the place of silence and solitude, to raise their hearts in praise - and to intercede for the needs of the Church and the world.
Benedictines serve God in the work of liturgical prayer. Carmelites are in solitude. ... We will continue to learn the ways God can call women to his service in the Church. ... Franciscans are next in line.