*Sr. Martin-Marie will not be accepting new discerners at this time*

Hello, my name is Sr. Martin-Marie and I have been a member of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles for 40 years.

Of the three main apostolates of our Congregation, education, health care, and retreats, I have been primarily in education. However, our novitiate is at the same location as our retreat house, and our first years as temporary professed were spent at our skilled nursing facility. I recently spent a year as a pastoral assistant at another of our nursing facilities.

I have been assigned to Franciscan University for a third year as Pastoral Assistant in the Missionary Outreach Department. I make site visits to most of the ministries overseen by the department and I go on a spring break mission.

I have been an avid reader since my early teens. My favorite book is The Life Of Christ by Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. I use many excerpts from it as reflections during Holy Hours.

When I was about eight years old, I first felt called to religious life, but soon after, I decided I wanted marriage and motherhood. A little while later, I changed back to religious life. This went on for several years; I felt I was on a see-saw: one day religious life up, next married life up. I eventually thought that one day I would find myself too old for either vocation!

Soon after I moved to California, I heard about the Los Angeles Archdiocese Lay Mission Helpers’ program. After a 9-month training, lay missionaries are sent to minister in Africa, American Samoa, or Guam for three years, living in community with other missionaries. I thought to discern my vocation by living in a situation similar to religious life. I decided to check out communities when religious life was on the up-swing. A friend suggested speaking to the prioress of a Dominican cloister. I knew that if I had a religious vocation it was not to a cloister, but I went anyway. The prioress said I had a religious vocation, but (happily) not to the cloister. I next visited the Carmelites who also confirmed my religious vocation. However, I still hesitated. Perhaps, I suggested, I could go on the mission and enter on my return, three years later. I was told that on my return I would be past the cut-off age. That was when I realized that I definitely wanted religious life. Finally almost 20 years after that first call, I got off my see-saw!

In this mentorship program, I am looking forward to journeying with young women discerning their vocation. This is something I wish I had during my own journey.

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