Our Goal

Carmelite Monastery - March, 1981

6981 Teresian Way

Our address, 6981 Teresian Way, actually indicates not only the location of our monastery, but the goal of our community.

After the nuns settled in their first house on Stockton Boulevard, Sacramento, Mother Mary Seraphine (who had a truly fiery devotion to St. Thérèse), wrote to Mother Agnes at the Lisieux Carmel. She entreated her to ask her sainted blood sister, St. Thérèse, to obtain from God the favor that all who would be called to this new Carmel would be victims of Merciful Love - as was St. Thérèse.

Once we had moved to the El Dorado Forest, and received our new address number 6981, we wondered: why such a long number, when we were the only ones living here? After some prayerful reflection, we realized that St. Thérèse made her oblation to Merciful Love on June 9, and ’81 was the year the address was assigned to us … so 6981 echoes our vocation.

Teresian Way speaks of our Holy Mother Saint Teresa of Jesus. The relocation of our monastery from Sacramento took place during some of the turbulent years following Vatican II, which asked for an updating and renewal of all religious life; a return to the Gospel, and to the charism of our founders. Actually, any follower of St. Teresa would find that way very easily, since for Teresa, Carmel is all about walking in the divine footsteps of Jesus. Carmel is all about union with Him. So it became our inspiration to try to live out this renewal by walking in the footsteps of His Divine Majesty, in the footsteps of Teresa - here, in the El Dorado mountains and foothills. Yes, “El Dorado” means “golden.” The Gold Rush of ’49 began here. But we are searching for the gold of Carmel’s spirituality, for the way of St. Teresa. As she puts it in her words:

“The more we are united with Christ and the greater our self-surrender to Him, the more deeply we shall participate in His salvific mission.”

The Transverberation of the Hearts of Teresa and Thérèse

St. Teresa of Jesus Transverberation

This oblation, this total self-giving, led to an actual transverberation (piercing through) of the hearts of both Teresa and Thérèse.

Teresa tells us of a certain vision she had of an angel in bodily form. The angel was small of stature, most beautiful, and seemed to be all of fire. Teresa saw in his hand a long spear of gold which seemed to be a flame. The angel thrust this into her heart. The pain was so great as to make her moan. When the dart was drawn out, it left her all on fire with a great love of God, a surpassing sweetness mixed with pain.

The heart of Teresa is preserved incorrupt, kept in a reliquary in Alba de Tormes. It bears a distinct mark of the fiery dart received over four centuries ago.

St. Therese's Transverberation

Thérèse also experienced this favor after making her Oblation of self to God’s Merciful Love. “I had commenced the Stations of the Cross in Choir. Then all at once I felt myself wounded by a dart of fire so ardent that I thought I must die. I do not know how to explain it. It was as if an invisible hand had plunged me wholly into fire, and what sweetness at the same time! I was burning with love, and I thought one minute, no - one second more, and I should not be able to support such ardor without dying.”

Saint John of the Cross, spiritual Father of both Teresa and Thérèse, writes in The Living Flame of Love:

“Few persons have reached these heights [of mystical gifts]. Some have, however, especially those whose virtue and spirit was to be diffused among their children. For God accords to founders, with respect to the first fruits of the spirit, wealth and value commensurate with the greater or lesser following they will have.”
St. John of the Cross