Clothed in Christ: Two novices don Carmelite habit

by Susan Moses

North Texas Catholic

December 12, 2017

Sister Marie Therese of the Holy Face of Jesus smiles after her investiture in the Carmelite habit Dec.8 at Most Holy Trinity Carmel in Arlington. (NTC photo/Juan Guajardo) Photo Gallery


ARLINGTON — Assuming a new name was “thrilling,” agreed Sister Lucia of the Holy Eucharist and Sister Marie Therese of the Holy Face of Jesus.  They likened it to Jesus changing Simon’s name to Peter — a new name symbolizing a new mission.

Sr. Lucia and Sr. Marie Therese recently adopted new names and donned the Carmel habit upon the completion of their postulant year with the Discalced Carmelite Nuns at the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity Carmel in Arlington.

Their new mission: a contemplative life of prayer.

According to Sister Teresa Agnes, novice master, donning the habit symbolizes “in our hearts we are putting on our new self” and strengthens community among the women.

Sr. Lucia, whose investiture was Sept. 23, said wearing the habit has heightened her awareness of her calling. “There’s something significant to every action that I do now. I think of Our Lady and Our Lord whenever I am working on something.”

Sr. Marie Therese, who was clothed on Dec. 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, said she was “in awe of the whole event. Being clothed on Our Lady’s feast day was my dream.” Having family attend from Minnesota, Japan, and Vietnam added to the joy.

The garments have symbolic meaning: the cincture (belt) represents fortitude and obedience; the scapular (cloak) symbolizes joy and peace in the service of God; and the white mantle (veil) signifies virginity and innocence of life. The novices will continue to wear the white mantle when they profess simple vows in two years. They will adopt the black mantle when they profess their solemn vows three years later.

Mother Anne Teresa smiles with Sister Lucia of the Holy Eucharist after her investiture in the Carmelite habit Sept. 23. (Photo courtesy Most Holy Trinity Carmel)


Sr. Marie Therese continued, “To receive the habit is a privilege, an honor to belong to her and belong to her army. To have a hidden life with her to love her Son and love the Holy Trinity is a tremendous beauty.”

Both women contemplated their vocation many years before entering the monastery.

After her father died when she was 13, Sr. Marie Therese struggled with the meaning of life until she read the writings of St. Therese. “Through the writings of my patron saint I found Jesus Christ as the answer,” and she began to consider a religious vocation.

She entered an active community of religious women but during her formation there felt drawn to live the contemplative life of a cloistered nun. An internet search ultimately led her to Carmel.

Ten years ago, Sr. Lucia heard God ask her to consider religious life, although she had never met a nun or sister. A college senior, she completed her electrical engineering degree then worked in oil fields across the country. No matter where she was, she always found time for Eucharistic Adoration, “my home away from home.”

“The quiet, simple prayer, the intimacy, that’s what got me here. It may only have been ten minutes, but that’s what saved me. It saved my life, my vocation,” she explained.

Once her student loans were paid, she visited a few monasteries. When she stepped onto the grounds of Carmel, she immediately felt a “peace that was overwhelming” and knew it was where she belonged.

Bishop Michael Olson celebrated Mass following the investiture of Sr. Marie Therese, and he praised the Carmelite’s ministry of “prayer and sacrifice at the heart of the Church.”

Although the nuns are cloistered, they are well aware of the intentions and needs of the diocese and “hold all that in our hearts,” said Sr. Teresa Agnes. “That is our whole vocation. That’s why we are here, to pray for everyone, especially our priests.”

Sr. Marie Therese concurred. “The gift of contemplative life is not being isolated from the world, but hidden for the salvation of the world. I feel privileged and honored to be a part of this life.” 

ARLINGTON — Assuming a new name was “thrilling,” agreed Sister Lucia of the Holy Eucharist and Sister Marie Therese of the Holy Face of Jesus.  They likened it to Jesus changing Simon’s name to Peter — a new name symbolizing a new mission.

Published (until 12/25/2039)
Back