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Our Lady of Mt. Carmel - 2017





Prayer  to  Our Lady  of  Mt.  Carmel


O Holy Woman of God, Splendor and Beauty in our everyday world, we come to you as needy people.  Enliven and strengthen our efforts to follow the leadings of the Spirit.  Indeed, you are the Sunlight of our Summer.

O Quiet Companion along the way, help us believe that God is with us every single moment.  Tell us again  and again that there is Someone who deeply desires our happiness and works everyday to help bring this about. Be the yearning we carry within.   


 O you, who are a Gentle Guide in our lives, we know that there are many ways to God and that these ways will appear when we are ready. 

Read to us, then, the writing on our hearts and help us be ready when that moment comes.

With utmost confidence, we place this cause in your hands.


                                                         (3 Hail Marys.  Our Lady of Mt. Carmel , pray for us.)

Sister Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D






Lent - 2017



Lent can be a time to review our expectations.

I like to recall the story of an old Carmelite Sister and a young doctor. Sister was blind, crippled and confined to a wheel chair. One day at the end of Mass, she somehow fell out of the wheel chair and landed on the brick floor in the chapel. The sister in charge knew that none of the nuns had enough strength to get her up so she enlisted the help of a young doctor who had come for Mass and had not yet departed from the assembly. He easily picked up the Sister and held her in his arms as a mother would a child.  Sister felt his beard with her hands and she asked, “Is that you Jesus?” The young man with tears in his eyes responded, no, you’ll have to wait a little longer.


Sister’s hope and expectation would soon be fulfilled. Yet, to this day her words strike a chord in my heart reminding me of what it means to live in the presence of love.

Hopefully, as we go through this Lenten Season we will grow in our hope for the future. All the while knowing that even though, “we may not know the day nor the hour” when our own journey will end, we can expect Christ to be with us, holding us in His Love.


Miriam Hogan, O.C.D.

photo by John Hazelbaker

Lent - 2017


     The season of Lent has various meanings for different people, often it can be a time to reflect upon where we are and where we mean to go in life. For some it is another opportunity to reset their New Years' Resolution. For others it can be viewed as a new spring time filled with hope and renewed enthusiasm. Traditionally, for Catholics it is a penitential season inviting us to journey with Jesus into the desert. For example, The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:


By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert. (540)

          It was in the desert that Jesus was tempted and tested. Yet, "he vanquished the tempter for us." (540)

    During Lent we are invited to follow Jesus into the desert. This can be a time of letting go of things that burden us down and keep us away from God. Yet, as St. Teresa of Jesus wrote, we need not fear the devil. "I don't understand these fears, 'the devil' The devil' when we can say 'God! God!', and make the devil tremble." (The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, VOL 1 ch. 25, 22)

Thus, as we begin this Solemn Liturgical Season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we prayfully ask that no matter what external circumstances beckon to us, we become increasing aware of Christ's presence within us and among us calling us to greater union with God. We know that traveling with Christ, we are not alone in our journey.    


Miriam Hogan, O.C.D.

photo by John Hazelbaker

Valentine's Day - Feb 2017

     In an otherwise cool month it is perhaps good to consider the warmth of this special day. I remember that my father always brought my mother a dozen red roses that were placed on the dining room table for Feb 14th. Never mind that it was difficult to provide the growing family with food, on this day, the flowers were essential.

     Now that many years have passed, and childhood memories are becoming less clear, this fact and expression of my father’s love grows even more dear.  Now both parents are gone but the love they inspired remains in my heart and helps me to grow in understanding the words of St. Thérèse.

     “I have never given the Good God aught but love; it is with Love He will repay.


     My prayer is that as we celebrate human love, we may also grow in appreciating God’s Divine love for us that makes all our other loves precious and possible.

Miriam Hogan, O.C.D.

A New Chapter - Jan 2017


    I will always be grateful to my younger sister for establishing a custom in our family of saying “I love you” when we ended a phone conversation with a member of our family. Now many years after we began this simple practice we realize that both our parents have passed away. Still today, it is a comfort to know that the last words that I spoke to my mother and father were “I love you.”

     As we begin a new chapter in our American History, we can ask God to remind us of His infinite love for all people, for we are all children of one God. Whether we agree or disagree with the political system, we all need to pray so that one day we can share in this love for others and for our country.  May the peace desired and experienced by our founders continue to grow in our hearts and in our sharing with each other.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Jn 15:12


Miriam Hogan, O.C.D.

The Angels Song


     Christmas reminds us again of the presence of angels.  According to scripture, they appeared to the shepherds first announcing the birth of Jesus. One of my favorite pictures is actually a mural located in a small church in the outskirts of Bethlehem. It depicts a young shepherd boy dancing with his hands up in the air obviously celebrating the good news.

     By faith we believe that every Christmas, we are also called to celebrate. The good news continues and Christ is reborn into our time and into our hearts. However, we need to be open to receiving his presence. Thus, if for some reason (given all the bad news being reported) it seems especially difficult to celebrate, perhaps a prayer asking the angels to intercede will help reconnect us with the joys of former years and refresh once again our Spirits. So that our hearts may experience the good news that God so desires to give us and we may once again rejoice in the song of the angels.



St. John of the Cross in The Living Flame of Love  writes that the “angels have no pain or anxiety”  for they have the vision of God and that the greater the soul’s desire for God, the greater will be its satisfaction and delight rather than its suffering and pain. Indeed, we are called once again to rejoice in the angel’s song and to share the Good News, in a world that hungers for life and love.

Expressing her joy, St. Teresa of Jesus danced at community recreation celebrating Christmas.

Glory to god in the highest, and on earth Peace among men with whom he is pleased! Lk 2:14


Miriam Hogan, O.C.D.

A Time To Rejoice And Celebrate

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Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity was canonized by Pope Francis on October 16. She was called to the contemplative life and entered the Carmel of Dijon in 1901, and died at the Carmel in 1906. She was 26 years old when she died from Addison’s disease. In that brief time, Elizabeth, like St. Thérèse whose Story of a Soul  inspired her, wrote and eloquently expressed her deep love for God.

In the midst of personal suffering and pain she kept focused on the Holy Trinity. Today our prayer is that her words will continue to inspire others with the fire of God’s love and that she will intercede for her Sisters and for all who, strive to unite with God in prayer.






Trinity, whom I adore, calm and changeless mystery,

I hide within Your Life: "You in me, and I in You."

Make my soul Your dwelling place,

Your heav'n on earth, Your home of rest.

May I ne'er leave You alone,

But keep me there

In living faith.

Word of God, eternal Sound, I give all to learn from You;

Through darkest poverty I will cling to Your embrace.


Oh, Star of mine with lustrous beams:

Fascinate me with Your Light, And hold me fast

Within "MY THREE.


Dove of Love, consuming Fire, form in me His mystery.

For Him, the Word of God, I will be humanity.

Father mine, look down on me, And see in me Your only Son.

Oh, my Life, my joy, my All,



(Poetic version by Sr. Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D. based on the prayer of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity)


Our Lady of Mt. Carmel hear our prayers.

We live in a world of frightening, violent happenings, in the midst of political uncertainty, poverty, disease and natural disasters. There is confusion, uncertainty and fear of terrorism reported in our daily  news. Please remind us that all of this is not unlike the times in which you lived and held Jesus close. Let Him also be close to our own hearts and help us this day to act as He wants.

St. Thérèse reminds us that you are “more mother than Queen”. Let us rejoice in having such a wonderful mother and let us remember that all people are your children and all are held dear in God’s love. Please quiet our hearts and bring peace to our lives and to the lives of those distressed and hurting.

Knowing your gentle loving presence in our daily lives brings us joy and we pray as we were taught as children:


O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen

I place this cause in your hands. (3 Hail Marys)

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us.

Miriam Hogan, O.C.D.


While reflecting upon the current news of terror in Orlando, we came across an article that Sr. Mary Jo wrote in 2007 after the tragedy of Virginia Tech. It speaks to our hearts better than anything we could try to express today. Thus, we quote:

It is as if this has happened to each one of us, even those of us who are many miles away. In times like these, something happens within the human heart of our whole nation. The opening of this common heart enables those who are touched close at hand by this event to shoulder a terrible sorrow that seems unbearable.


However, there is another side to all of this. Because we are one in suffering, a hidden strength within all of us is awakened. The heart is made that way. With heartfelt sympathy, sincere prayer goes out from the Carmelite Monastery of Eldridge, Iowa, for our country and for all of those who have been touched acutely by such a deep sorrow. For us, suffering in one heart is another way of praying. We believe that a new vision and a new hope will come.

Eldridge Carmelites

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