Sr. Marie Therese

Sr. Marie Therese

Sr. Marie Therese

As a small child, a young girl called to our house to say goodbye to my mother. Rita was about to leave Ireland to become a nun. I asked my mother: “ What are nuns’? The reply I got was: “Nuns live in God’s house.” There and then, I made up my mind that I too, would like to live in God’s house. Later when I was four years old, I went to school, and I met nuns who lived in God’s house! The Sisters of Mercy. It was a good place to be, though I was not fond of school. I preferred to be at home!

One year on returning to the Convent, after 2nd year holidays, a friend gave me some literature which she had picked up during the summer. Elaine said to me: “Here, you can have this. You like writing letters!” From where she got that idea, I will never know. I did get in touch with the Congregation and when I got a bit older used to visit from time to time. At the age of 19, I was very happy, carefree and enjoying life..but there was something missing. The thought of a religious vocation came to me strongly one day, as I was sitting at a typewriter in the office where I was employed. I remembered the Congregation I had been in touch with over the years. I liked the idea of caring for the elderly. I really thought Homes for the Aged were places where people went to prepare for heaven and I thought this was actually a good idea. Anyway in time, I was accepted as a candidate and soon learned that life was for living – even for elderly people. We live til we die.

Six months after my first profession, my niece who was also my godchild received her First Holy Communion. I wrote to her for the occasion, suggesting that after receiving Jesus into her heart for the first time, that she should ask him to grant her the grace of a Carmelite vocation. I felt very drawn to the Carmelite way of life myself, but then, who was I to even think about such a life. No way was I worthy!

I had many blessed and happy years in my religious life, at the service of my Congregation in the U.K. France, in India as a missionary, and finally in the Channel Islands. However, the idea of Carmel never left me. Everywhere I lived, I would suss out if there was a Carmel in the vicinity and at some stage would manage to get to visit – just to pray in the Chapel and with a bit of luck, perhaps meet a Sister by chance. It happened! I remember saying to the Sister that I thought the carmelite vocation was a great grace. To which she replied: “It’s God’s grace that’s wonderful.” That was many years ago.

I felt I was at a very good time in my life when the invitation to Carmel came to me very forcefully. I felt so drawn to the Carmelite way of life that I just had to give it a try. The conviction would just not go away, though I honestly prayed that it would. After all, I could do without the hassle of contacting Mother General and telling her my story. Did I feel worthy? Not at all. I was and still am, convinced of my unworthiness, but more so of the goodness of God. I knew I could trust God, and with God all things are possible. If I did not have a calling to Carmel, could the Lord not give me one? My journey to Carmel was not without hiccups but finally I transferred to our Monastery here in Tallow, with the blessing of the Mother General of my former Congregation (a Congregation to whom I owe very much and to whom I am forever united in prayer and love).

Here I am now, after a number of years in this hallowed spot. And the journey continues where I continue my spiritual apostolate of accompanying those on their final journey to the Father’s House, among other things. Blessed be God in his gifts is what we say in Carmel. Indeed I am very blessed and grateful. Blessed be God always!