The Vocation of the Discalced Carmelite Nun

Upon hearing the words “A Contemplative Life,” you might ask “Why do they live in the cloister with its high walls and what is life like behind them? The world and the Church are in need of people to serve others.” The vocation to the contemplative life is not about carrying out works, but a particular call to a life of prayer and solitude, where women devote their lives to God and intercede for the Church.

As Carmelites, we rejoice to live and work in God’s hidden presence. We are constantly praying in our life and mission. We pray, in particular, for those who spread the Gospel, for an increase in vocations to the priestly and consecrated life, for the unity of Christians and for the evangelisation of peoples, so that all may be open to the message of Christ. We offer God prayer for the Church through the Liturgy of the Hours, praying on behalf of those who do not know God, being with God to listen to His voice. It is a life of prayer and sacrifice for the work of our priests and the salvation of souls.

I have been called to live this vocation and I feel it is a great honour that God has chosen me to be His bride. Although I am not worthy, God’s merciful love helps and guides me in this Carmelite vocation. My vocation is love, following in the footsteps of St Therese of the Child Jesus, who joined the Carmelite Order when she was only 15 years old. Throughout her life of love and prayer, she did all her simple and small works in the monastery for the love of Jesus. She wrote in her autobiography, “In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction.” Yes, the vocation of Carmel is the vocation of Love. This vocation is a special calling that God has for those who desire to commit themselves to a life of prayer.
The Mass is the centre of our lives, and we pray the Divine Office seven times a day. Every morning and evening, there is an hour for silent prayer. We have an hour each day for spiritual reading and scripture, which nourishes us to keep the word of the Lord always in our mind and heart.

Carmelites Vocations Sr Faustina
Sister Faustina Nguyen

We also work for our daily needs such as making altar bread, sewing vestments and altar linen, painting candles, making rosaries, growing vegetables and raising some cattle.

The Sisters welcome all the intentions of those who ask for our prayers. We see visitors in our parlour and take any needs to God in prayer.

It is quite hard to express all I want to say about the contemplative life in this brief article. However, this is basically the experience of the cloistered life of nuns. If you are interested in this life, please come and learn more about the monastic life. You can consider becoming a priest or a nun who lives in the spirit of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns. God always invites you to follow His calling.

Please join us in praying that the Church has more vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

By Sister Faustina Nguyen
Carmelite Monastery
52 Halswell Road, Christchurch 8025

Published in Inform Issue 141 - Winter 2024