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Carmel Heights

My name is Sister M. Jennelle Therese from the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus. I’ve come from a little town in British Columbia. I was raised in the Presbyterian Church. I enjoy helping people, and a favorite activity was when I volunteered in our local retirement homes and hospital. In elementary school we were asked what career we wanted to do as an adult. Well I wanted to do something to serve as many people as possible.

After a year of high school, I wanted to try home schooling, convincing my parents to let me try. With hard work and determination I successfully completed grades ten, eleven and twelve in a year and a half instead of three years. This allowed me to work part time to save up money for future expenses, which my parents could not afford. When I was seventeen I went to Honduras with a group called Teen Missions. We built houses and schools for six weeks. At eighteen I visited Fiji for four weeks with a group of young adults. We were interacting with people through drama and dance at hospitals, schools and jails. A year later I was given another opportunity to travel to Ecuador caring for children in an orphanage. There I lived for two years being a friend to these children. Their ages ranged from new born to sixteen.

Back in British Columbia, I supported myself working mainly in restaurants and hotels as I wanted to enter college to become a personal support worker. After graduating with my diploma as a personal support worker I worked in health care. In my spare time I volunteered again at a senior’s center. There I met a number of Catholic families.

One family in particular had a big influence on my life. I wanted the same joy and peace that I experienced in their company. It was through them that I became exposed to the Catholic faith and all its spirituality. I joined the RCIA, during this time, I found myself reading spiritual books, helping in church activities and eventually became a Catholic in 2012. Shortly after this I was considering mission work again, and was given a Carmelite magazine to read. While reading and pondering over the stories, the thought came to my mind, “is God calling me to follow Him in a more personal way?”

Now I started to pray and look into different religious congregations. Until then I never realized religious communities existed in Canada. I eventually found the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus located in Ontario. As my family was not very impressed that I became Catholic, I decided to move to Ontario discerning my vocation to be a religious and didn’t tell them outright until I actually entered.

What makes me happy as a Carmelite Sister D.C.J. …
Religious life is all that I ever hoped for and more. Each and every one of us has a vocation. God is calling us whether it is to the single life, lay missionary, married, religious or to the priesthood. He will make himself known but we must do our part by being attentive and especially by developing a personal relationship with Jesus through prayer.