By David Sedeño
The Texas Catholic
With few exceptions, once a Carmelite nun enters a monastery and professes her solemn vows, she remains cloistered, leaving only for medical appointments or emergencies. At monasteries that have cemeteries, she will be buried there, too.
On Sept. 19, two caskets containing the bodies of two discalced Carmelites from the Discalced Carmelite Monastery of Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Valley Center, Kansas, just north of Wichita, were brought to the Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Dallas.
The remains of the two discalced Carmelites—Mother Mary of the Angels, the foundress of the foundation in Kansas, and Mother Anne Marie of the Child Jesus, and a former prioress—were reinterred in Dallas.
The Carmelite Monastery in Kansas is shutting down and merging with the Carmelite Monastery of Mount Carmel and St. Joseph in Brooklyn, New York, which does not have a cemetery.
“I love the aspect that even though each monastery is autonomous, we are still one,” said Mother Juanita Marie of Jesus Crucified, the prioress at the Dallas monastery. “We are one in community. The prioresses talk often. When the sisters in Kansas let us know that they had two mothers buried there on their property, we told them that they could come here.”
As a steady mist fell on the morning of Sept. 19, workers dug a large grave in the cemetery to accommodate both caskets that were encased in concrete. The eight Dallas nuns joined three nuns who had accompanied the bodies from Kansas.
Father James Orosco, pastor of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Terrell and chaplain of the Dallas monastery, officiated at the graveside service. As the rain continued to fall, each nun tossed a handful of dirty on top of the caskets. They closed the ceremony by singing “Salve Regina.”
“For our Kansas mothers, they are seeing their monastery shut down and bringing their mothers here is a realization that it is going to happen,” Mother Juanita Marie said. “But it was beautiful, too, in that it showed unity, a oneness that we come together because someday we are going to be together again in a big monastery in heaven.”