My Journey to Carmel – Sr. Faustina Mary of the Holy Eucharist
I grew up in Pasadena and I am the youngest of six children. At the age of ten, I was baptized into the Catholic Church at our home parish, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and received my first Holy Communion. At this time in my life, the Lord placed into my heart the call to become a nun. A few years after this, I was blessed to be able to attend Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary School for middle school. Those three years shaped my life, and were a good foundation for my high school years at Alverno Heights Academy. After graduating from the University of California, Davis, with a Bachelor of Science in Textiles and Clothing, I felt the call to religious life once again. But not yet ready to respond, I worked in the fashion industry for two years before I decided to discern.
One day in the Sunday bulletin there was an advertisement for a silent retreat; thinking it would be fun, I decided to go on it. I arrived late, and as soon as I sat down to dinner the woman next to me turned to me and asked me if I was thinking about becoming a nun. She later became my friend and helped me find a spiritual director. As the retreat came to a close, I was one of the last ones to leave and one of the sisters in formation came up to me and started a conversation with me. She invited me to go on a Come and See retreat. Two months later, I found myself on another retreat surrounded by young women from around the country who had the same desires as me. It was an encouraging and educational experience. After the retreat, my discernment with the active sisters didn’t go much further because my heart was set on a contemplative cloistered community.
After I found a spiritual director, he encouraged me to spend more time with God through daily Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, OCDS, and Adoration. I had no idea what OCDS was, but after a few meetings, I was able to develop a better sense of what Carmelite Spiritually is and how it plays out in people’s lives. I loved attending the monthly meetings; it really did feel like a family, but I knew it wasn’t my call.
One day in Adoration, I felt like God was calling me to the Carmelite community down the road. Shortly after that day, I contacted the community and was able to meet with the novice mistress, and eventually the community. It felt like the perfect fit! After nine months of discernment with this community, I joyfully entered on the 100th anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. Since then, my days are filled with prayer, gardening, formation classes, cooking and baking. In October, I was clothed in the habit and received my religious name, Sister Faustina Mary of the Holy Eucharist. Life in Carmel is a joy, and I want to thank each and every one of you for your love and support, as we are praying for you.
~From News from the Cloister, Spring 2019, Cloistered Carmelite Nuns Auxiliary Carmel of St. Teresa, Alhambra