“Praised be Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, His most holy Mother! Come to prayer, Sisters, come to praise the Lord!”
It is 4:00 a.m. and fifteen Carmelite sisters arise to this call, dating back to the days of their foundress, Saint Terese of Avila. They make their way to the stone chapel, where they will spend an hour in adoration. At 5:30, the silence is broken by Latin: the community recites together the Little Hours of the Divine Office. Mass—in the Extraordinary Form—follows directly after. The sisters will return to the chapel five more times today, including one more hour of silent adoration.
This could be a scene from the saintly Spanish mystic’s own monastery in the sixteenth century. The sisters file out the doors of their stone chapel to begin their daily chores: intricate embroidery on vestments, tending livestock, sweeping floors, darning torn clothes. Saint Teresa herself would not feel lost or confused by the rhythm of life here.