Apostolic Zeal

A completely new thrust, characteristic of Teresa's charism, was the ecclesial and apostolic dimension she gave to the contemplative life of Carmel.

"This will always be the aim of our nuns: to be alone with God alone, striving only to please Him, so that their prayers may avail for His glory, for the salvation of souls and for the good of His Church. Here all my hopes converge." (St. Teresa of Jesus)

The Divine Office, Prayer of the Church.

As a community of Enclosed Contemplative Nuns, our life is that of Prayer in the Heart of the Church. The Divine Office is made up of Psalms, readings from scripture and at Morning Prayer (Lauds) and Evening Prayer (Vespers) extra intercessions are included for those who ask us for prayers and for the needs of the whole world.

The obligation to pray
What Jesus himself did, he also commands us to do. He often said, 'Pray', 'Ask', 'Seek', 'in my name'. He gave us the Lord's Prayer to teach us how to pray. He instructed us on the necessity of prayer, and told us to be humble, watchful, persevering and confident in the goodness of the Father, pure in intention and worthy of God.

Throughout their Letters, the apostles give us many prayers, especially of praise and thanksgiving. They enjoin us to offer prayer to God the Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit, with constancy and perseverance, pointing out its efficacy for our sanctification. They admonish us to praise and thank God, and to offer petitions and intercessions for everyone.
- From the General Instruction for the Divine Office.
II The Prayer of the Church no. 5




In St. Teresa's Carmels throughout the world this form of life she planned long ago continues in a daily pattern of:

Prayer: personal and liturgical,
Simple work: leaving the nuns free to be attentive to God's presence,
Communal recreation: strengthening the bonds of sisterly love and providing the needed relaxation.

The nuns seek to grow daily in knowledge of and intimate friendship with the Lord, whose Eucharistic presence is at the heart of their Community life. With his mother Mary they constantly ponder the Word and pray for hearts open to the fullness of his Spirit.

This way of living, though hidden and apart, is not segregated from life or from the problems of the troubled world of our time. On the contrary, Teresa ardently desired her monasteries to be power-houses of prayer at the very center of the Church and the world.

Inspired by this apostolic ideal of St. Teresa, her nuns, mindful of their own fragility, seek to remain faithful to their vocation of prayer and sacrifice in the solitude and silence of the cloister. They hope in this way to serve the glory of the most Holy Trinity and the peace and salvation of the world with all its peoples.

"The Father spoke one Word,
which Word was His Son,
and this Word He speaks ever
in eternal silence,
and in silence must it be heard by the soul."
(St. John of the Cross)

Speaking directly to the Carmelite nuns in Rome, Pope St. John Paul II said, "You Discalced Carmelite nuns, possess this charism of Saint Teresa, this charism of the hidden life. It is a wonderful thing to be hidden with Jesus for one's whole life, keeping him in your hearts, and seeking there all riches for yourself and for others. It is a special blessing for the Church."

In his Apostolic Letter NOVO MILLENIO INEUNTE, Pope St. John Paul II writes on prayer, ‘How can we forget here, among the many shining examples, the teaching of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila?' Further on in this document he writes of another Carmelite Saint, ‘Love is truly the heart of the Church, as was well understood by St. Therese of Lisieux, whom I proclaimed a Doctor of the Church precisely because she is an expert in the scienta amoris: "I understand that the Church had a Heart, and that this Heart was aflame with Love. I understood that Love alone stirred the members of the Church to act…I understood that Love encompasses all vocations, that Love was everything." (Nos. 33 and 42)