Saturday, August 10, 2013

Channing Enters Carmel

My dear friend Channing recently entered Carmel.

She joined a Carmelite become a cloistered nun.  What a mix of emotions this brought to those who love her!  We were so joyful that she was choosing her beloved Jesus above all else, but giving her to Carmel meant losing her to ourselves.  If she stays after this year of discernment, I won't see her again until Heaven.

The grounds of the convent dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel were beautiful...

Going through this plain door to join the other sisters would soon change Channing's life forever...

But first we would celebrate mass together!  Channing's up front in the first pew, wearing a beautiful white veil.

After mass, we all took a picture with Channing.  The sisters said our crowd was the biggest crowd that had ever come to see a woman enter!

This was the final moment with her parents before entering the cloistered area with the sisters.

Father gave Channing a blessing before she knocked on the door, asking to be received by the sisters.

The moment of waiting for that door to open!  And when it did, she slipped inside silently and disappeared.  That's when we all started crying!

But then we ran back to the chapel, where I caught this photo of her father looking at his daughter from afar, behind the grill, as she sang beautiful songs of prayer.

And then we all gathered in the Speak Room, where eventually the 14 cloistered nuns appeared to us, laughed with us, and warmly welcomed us to their convent, assuring us that they would take good care of Channing.  This made me feel so much better!  And it was GREAT to see Channing wearing the habit of a Carmelite!  They asked us to not take pictures of them, though.

Our friends Brian and Sharon had their little boy Joel dressed up in perfect Carmelite attire.

Channing, I think about and pray for you every day.  I believe you're living a life of heroic virtue, and you inspire me beyond words!