With Zeal for the Lord of Hosts

In 1925, the Bishop of the Diocese of Monterey-Fresno happened to be in Rome for the canonization of St. Therese of Lisieux and was so moved that he asked Pope Pius XI for permission to found a Carmel in Carmel, California. Five months later on the Feast of the Archangel Raphael, 5 nuns established their home in the diocese. There are currently 9 members in the community.

The first Carmelite foundation in this country was established at Port Tobacco in Maryland in 1790, and the Carmelite Monastery in Carmel traces its origin back to this monastery. But what is interesting is that the name “Carmel” was given to the area much earlier, in 1602, by Carmelites who were chaplains aboard the Don Sebastian Vizcaino expedition. They were struck by the similarity between that area of the coastline of California to that of the coastline of Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. And so, as the Patroness of the journey was Our Lady of Mount Carmel it was only fitting, and all agreed, that the area should be called Carmel.

The Carmelite motto is: “With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of Hosts.” May the Carmelites around the world be renewed with zeal for the Lord of Hosts on this feast day of the Little Flower.

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