SCOTTSDALE — The St. Daniel Parish community is experiencing a mini vocation boom of sorts.
The Carmelite Missionary Sisters of the Child of Jesus recently went from having three sisters in the nearby parish convent to five. A sixth young woman completed a short-term live-in experience with the sisters and is headed to Mexico for five or six months for a live-in experience at the motherhouse.
The sisters credit the Holy Spirit, which, through the permission of bishops in Puebla, Mexico and Phoenix, allowed the community to establish its first foreign novitiate at St. Daniel. The convent is now also home to Sr. Marina Coatl, who is serving as superior and formator, and Sr. Xochitl Regis, a 20-year-old freshly-habited novice.
Sr. Marina is also a bit of a formator to Sr. Leonor Chacon, who has spent a year serving at St. Daniel and is in her last year of formation before final vows. Sr. Leonor regularly travels to Mexico for ongoing formation there. Additionally, Sr. Lupita Pascua, who also spent time at the St. Daniel convent, made her final profession of vows in Mexico this summer.
On top of that, the sisters recently marked three key celebrations for the community. Oct. 15 marked the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Ávila — who founded the Discalced Carmelite order — and the 75th anniversary of the Mexico-based congregation. It was also the day Sr. Xochitl, who fulfilled part of her postulancy at St. Daniel, took her vows there during a private Mass and became a novice with the community.
The sisters at St. Daniel are among 115 Carmelite Missionary Sisters of the Child of Jesus. They serve at St. Anne Parish in Gilbert, three parishes in California and throughout Mexico. Roughly 10 of those sisters are living temporary vows with almost 25 more at various stages of formal discernment.
Carmelite Missionary Sisters of the Child of Jesus
“God has been blessing us with many vocations, but there have been many years with few vocations or no vocations,” Sr. Marina said with the help of a translator.
The Carmelite sisters moved to St. Daniel over three years ago. It wasn’t until the last few weeks that the sisters began to outgrow the convent’s dining table. They added a folding chair to each end.
“When I met this community, it was so humble. They live their lives joyfully doing simple things,” Sr. Leonor said. “That was something that attracted me.”
Sr. Xochitl said her community is known for working with the poorest of the poor. Their apostolate often takes them to mission areas. Since until now, formation was in Mexico, the sisters fulfill a special niche with Hispanic ministries at St. Daniel.
Sr. Leonor loves parish religious education, tending to the spiritual needs of their parents and “seeing how some children come from knowing nothing about God and after a year or two, are in love with Him.”