The plan was to leave early Sunday morning in order to find the location of the Secular Carmelite (OCDS) meeting in Auburn. With everything piled into the car, including her purse, she locked her front door without needing a key. Unfortunately, the car door was also locked with the key in her purse, she thought. So she proceeded to her neighbor’s house next door to call a locksmith to unlock the car door. Being that it was Sunday morning it took a forty-five minute wait for him to arrive. Her frustration level rose to new heights when the locksmith noticed her car keys dangling from the lock of the car trunk. An hour later and seventy-five dollars poorer, as she had to pay the locksmith anyway, she pondered what to do. She realized the enemy was doing his best to discourage her. With a surge of determination that accompanied the realization that she could not make it on time, she started her car and zoomed to her planned destination. She was not going to let the enemy triumph!
She drove eighty miles per hour during most of the trip down I-5. She prayed for protection just in case her guardian angel had decided to abandon her at that high speed. Amazingly enough she had no difficulty finding the place and walked into the meeting room just as it was starting. All accumulated stress disappeared as the newcomer listened to all the beautiful words that filled the room that day. Her heart was filled with the Holy Spirit that made her want to return again and again. As she drove home that afternoon, she continued to ask the Lord what He had in mind. She could not see herself driving to Sacramento once a month for the rest of her life. She reminded Him that in case He hadn’t noticed, she was getting older! However, by the third meeting, the Lord let her know through normal thoughts, that He would be using her to bring Carmel to Red Bluff. He wanted to make this beautiful vocation more available to others by establishing a community further north. She wasn’t sure if this understanding was the product of her imagination or a true communication from the Holy Spirit. She realized she needed to be patient and wait to see how He was going to work that out if it was truly His plan. It was quite noticeable that God was encouraging her to continue attending the meetings. She was blessed with such joy every time!
This new Secular Carmelite aspirant had the opportunity to teach a class to interested parishioners in Red Bluff. The seven week seminar was on “The Spirituality of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. About forty-five adults attended, coming from Redding as well. Before the end of the seminar, participants from Redding were asking the presenter questions about the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites. They asked if she would begin a group locally. She promised to ask the leader of the Sacramento community if such a thing were possible.
The leader was encouraging and advised her to contact the Provincial Delegate of the Secular Carmelites of the Western region who lived in a monastery in San Jose. That began a sequence of events that founded the OCDS group centrally located in Red Bluff. It began with ten interested persons on January 11, 2011 (1/11/11). After six months of gathering for monthly meetings, an OCDS member from Sacramento was sent to perform the function of Formation Director for the new group. She was the only one with definitive promises in the whole group. Sixteen months later on May 12, 2012 the Provincial Delegate, Fr. Donald Kinney, OCD, came to Sacred Heart Church to receive the first class of aspirants into formal formation in the Order. The Ceremonies was celebrated with Mass. Fr. Joyle Martinez, the chosen Spiritual Assistant of the group, and Fr. Jonathan from Our Lady of Mercy in Redding concelebrated with Fr. Donald Kinney, OCD, the main celebrant. A banquet followed with family and friends in the Red Bluff parish hall.
Another four members were received on the July 20, 2012 Ceremonies. Three more will be received on June 14, 2014. In addition, eight of the original founding group will be making their first promises of poverty, chastity and obedience, and to live the Beatitudes for three years. There are several aspirants preparing for the 2015 Ceremonies. And what about the woman who wondered why God was leading her to Sacramento for all those years? She is hoping to make her definitive promises for life in the June 14th Ceremonies after six years of preparation.
These men and women are a Carmelite presence in the far northern state of California. The Sacramento Community is the closest to Red Bluff. The importance of its establishment in this area cannot be overestimated for the benefit of our parishes around and the Church at large. Carmelites are about prayer, prayer for the world, for the Church. The world needs what Carmel has to offer. Prayer is the only door that leads to salvation, to union with God. The world needs to learn how to pray. The three great Carmelite doctors of the Church can teach the world to pray and to live in a personal relationship with God.
“Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
With compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Christ has no body now but yours.” St. Teresa of Avila
History: Carmelites in Red Bluff
Fr. Gabriel of
St. Mary Magdalen, OCD
of the Rosary
- "Trouble with Trust"
- "Colors of the Cross"
"Gazing on the Face
Fr. Benedict Groeschel
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
of the Trinity
Bl. Anne of
Fr. Robert Barron
Fr. Larry Richards
Teresa of Avila