May 10th marks 65 years since Sr. Robin entered Carmel! We hope Robin’s story will inspire you to consider a life in Carmel.
“What can I tell you of my years in Carmel? When I was introduced to the Sisters on my first afternoon in Carmel, tiny Sister Mary
who was eight-something, reached up, embraced me warmly and exclaimed, “Oh, you’re such a child.” I was so hurt! After all, hadn’t I just left everything for God? Didn’t that mean I was grown up? Yes and no. It took me years to realize how young eighteen—yes, I was eighteen—really was. And how much baggage I had carried with me into the monastery, mostly packed into my head and heart. Having learned that it takes a lifetime to become a Carmelite, I continue to live into the mystery of letting God become the all of my being.
What mysteries lie hidden in the seasons of my life? The Spring dance of young love that knows everything is possible. Summer drought when I envied the birds because they were free and I was not. Autumns of ripening and fruitfulness borne of daily life among my sisters. Winter darkness and clinging to God while gazing at the moon, repeating over and over a verse of Psalm 89 “Like the moon that remains forever, a faithful witness in the sky.” During Lauds one morning in my Postulancy I discovered and claimed as my own a verse from Psalm 27: “One thing I ask of the Lord, this I seek; to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to contemplate God’s beauty.” I have always known at the core of my being that I want God more than anything else, and that desire has only grown stronger with the passing of years.
As my Golden Jubilee came and passed, a phrase from a homily slipped into my heart and took up residence: “We celebrate, not the tenuousness of life, but the tenacity of God’s love taking hold of us for a lifetime.” And indeed, that is the heart of the mystery – God’s love – not only for me – but for each of us – a love that pursues, haunts, captivates, surrounds – and this, whether at 18 or 88, is the life and the gift I celebrate.
At this point in life I’m skipping – or slipping – toward eighty-five. Sometimes I wonder where the years have gone and the mystery encountered in what they might mean. The seventh century Caedmon, who is said to have composed the first English poem, is remembered as “a humble and joyful singer of songs.” I live in hope of making these words a lived reality in my life.”