I didn't know Sr. Carmelita for very long, but I feel like I've known her all my life.
Our paths crossed for the first time at the Solemnity of St. Francis Assisi on October 4th. On that very day, she laid her hands on me, blessed me and prayed for me, for my family, for my daughter. And like a moth drawn to light, I was captivated by the flame of faith burning within her kind eyes and her bubbly quietude.
She spoke with joy and giddy excitement about her upcoming diamond jubilee celebrations and invited me to her anniversary mass at St. Anthony’s Catholic Parish. Although I had just met her, I felt so honoured and so loved by the invitation that I cleared up my Saturday, and did everything I could to be there for her.
The call to discernment
A few days later I sat with Sr. Carmelita in her office at the Pastoral Centre in downtown Calgary. We spoke about faith, family and her remarkable journey with the Lord.
Serving the Diocese of Calgary as a Caseworker for the Marriage Tribunal at the Canonical Services Department, Catholic Pastoral Centre, Sr. Carmelita leads a fulfilling life. She resides alongside two other sisters at the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary home in Calgary and attends St. Anthony’s Catholic Parish in Calgary.
Growing up in a humble neighbourhood in Manilla, Philippines, Sr. Carmelita fondly recalls the kindness, humility and goodness of her parents and the joys and challenges of being the eldest child.
With a twinkle in her eyes, she told me about hearing Jesus’ call for the first time when she was 10 years old. She describes God’s call as a very soft, gentle but persistent call. Her first thought was, “I cannot do it, surely God does not want someone as lowly as me.” She wasn’t even baptised then! But as she explained to me, she felt that she was gently being courted by Christ before the world had the chance. The discipline, modesty, and values instilled by her mother early-on made the transition into religious life gentle and palatable.
Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers