My Visit With the Carmelite Nuns

by Robin on March 16, 2010

Sister Donna and Robin

I have been studying about Brother Lawrence for The Grumpy Monk and our newest book, Keep Calm in Chaos, which will be out in June. Since Brother Lawrence was a member of the order of Discalced Carmelite Monks, I did some online research on them.  Guess what?  Out of only a few orders in the U.S., two of them are in Oklahoma City!

The Discalced Carmelite Nuns live only a few miles from my home. They have a lovely website which describes their life and even shows a few pictures. After looking at the website last week, on Saturday I went to the local fabric store to buy some quilt finishing material for my son’s birthday quilt. As I perused  various bindings,  two  Discalced Carmelite Nuns walked  by me. I recognized one of them from the website pictures.

“Excuse me, are you one of the Discalced Carmelite Sisters?”

“Yes.” (She smiled.)

I proceeded to tell her about The Grumpy Monk and my new friend Tony Silva of Narrow Way Films. Tony is making the book trailer for us, and we had decided to ask either the nuns or the friars if we could film the book trailer on location at one of the monasteries. I had prayed for direction on this.  Sister Donna gave me her phone number.  As we drove home, I marvelled, “How often have I ever seen a Carmelite nun? What were the chances of running into one in the fabric store?”  Yup. It was a divine appointment!

Today I called Sister Donna’s phone number. I drove to the monastery. I showed up during quiet time, and boy was it quiet there! I gave Sister Donna the copy of The Grumpy Monk for the sisters. She showed me the sanctuary and on the way pointed out the cloister.  “You can’t go back there,” she said, “Because, well, it’s cloistered.” I thought that was kind of funny.

Plaques in the lobby of the Carmelite nuns monastery

Inside the sanctuary, where the nuns sit for mass

this place is where the sisters sit several times a day to chant prayers and scripture and say vespers.

look up!

This crucifix is mounted on a travertine wall. Sister Donna showed me the fossils in the rocks!  How sweet that memorials of the flood are in the wall of their sanctuary.

Sister Donna gave me a book about Sister Therese, or Little Flower. I haven’t read it yet, but she thought it would be a good companion to the Brother Lawrence book. Her whole focus of teaching was little things. Nothing done for God is a little thing.  I love that!  Perhaps an appropriate title for Little Light Press!  We’ll see. For now I’m looking forward to my next visit to the monastery to film the book trailer next week.


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