Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Our Lady Of Mt. Carmel~July 16th

~Celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
with Edible Garments of Grace!~
{See below for inspiration}
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
~All photos were taken by me at the Sacred Heart Retreat House in Southern California~

A dear friend and I recently had the privilege of attending a Home Educator Conference in Southern California.  It was an honor and blessing to be able to stay at the beautiful Sacred Heart Retreat House.  This retreat house is run by the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles.  

I thought it would be fitting to share some photos and reflections on our stay in honor of this most blessed feast day.  The Carmelite Sisters have a lovely website and blog that I encourage you to visit at the link I highlighted above.   The Sacred Heart Retreat House has it's own site with more professional photos than mine.  I'm certainly no photographer but these are just what I saw through the lens of my simple camera phone....
This quaint little retreat center is a hidden jewel in our midst.  The world goes by at a rapid pace all around it...But everything stops when you enter the premises. 
Time seemed to screech to a halt as my friend and I got out of our car.   The peace and tranquility of this little haven bekons the soul to be quiet.  Yes, I said quiet.  I must admit that I had some trouble with this as my mind and body sought to shut down all the things "of the world." 
This crown on top of the chapel felt like a beacon of light, guiding me to the Lord, through His most holy mother.  It was as if Our Lady of Mt. Carmel wanted to guide me to her Son and a place of peace that only the Prince of Peace can provide.
~This beautiful tile plaque donned the wall as we entered the registration area~
We were assigned a room that touched a place deep within me...The desire for simple.  Now I was  being drawn to both quiet AND simple. 
Suddenly, I began to feel like I was experiencing spiritual warfare as I tried to soak up the quiet and simple.  It became nearly impossible for me to escape the noise, inside and out. 
I began to pray.  I couldn't wait for evening reflection.  There was a prayer tucked inside my night stand that I had never seen before entitled "Stay With Me Lord." It was perfect for mediation on the crucifix in our room.  I will include it at the end of this post.

I couldn't stop taking pictures of this lovely shrine and fountain to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  None of my photos could capture the true beauty..
~And even more captivating at night~
After evening reflection, we took a stroll through the gardens and it was a full moon.  This Sacred Heart of Jesus was amazing...My "noise" was beginning to quiet down now.
This photo is taken from my phone!  Can you see the full moon?
The plaque at His feet was quite appropriate, especially due to my circumstances...I wondered how many others it was perfect for?
~The next day, we had morning Mass at their divine chapel, lined with Mary's roses~
And we had a bit of time to walk through their sacred gardens before we were off to the conference.  I must admit that my heart was longing to stay at the retreat center just a little while longer!  The "noise" was just starting to subside in my head and it was already time to go...
~All of the gardens were adorned with lovely flowers and benches for reflection~
St. Anthony
Lourdes Grotto
~I will surely be blessed if I can return to this place of Carmelite contemplation~
This gorgeous painting welcomed us to their conference hall!
And as Mother Mary of Carmel beckoned me close so that I could see her Son through my noise, she strengthened me for the journey home...
When I returned home, I read an article in Spirit Of Carmel (Spring). This was a magazine that I had picked up at the retreat house. It is published by the Carmelite Sisters twice a year. Lo and behold it spoke directly to me about my experience there!  Isn't amazing how God speaks to us?
As with anything in our lives, there are always going to be active things that we must do to make change in order to realign our spiritual compass to eternity.  The Spirit of Carmel has touched my life and renewed my spirit.  It seems that God is so good about nudging us towards the things that will bring us closer to Him.  And Our Lady is always there to lead us to these things with her guiding hand, like a good mother does.

With inspiration from the Scapular Cakes over at Catholic Cuisine, we made these edible Garments of Grace Brownie Cakes to honor Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  I am not the best artist or cake decorator but we gave it our best effort...
~We used mini loaf pans and brownie mix and then frosted them to follow the design of our different family scapulars~Sparkle Gel Icing is my new favorite thing! (I used gold and blue)
I just turned them upside down, after cooling to frost
For more information about the Scapular, see this site.  And some important rules and rituals here.  We were enable to enroll our family a few years ago and it is always a joy to renew our promises of prayer and devotion.  This feast day is always a good way to set us back on track just when we need it!  You may also check out this lovely site to order a free scapular.

Oh, and here is that prayer I promised!

Stay With Me, Lord
When I begin to lose sight of you as my Lord and Savior,
Stay with me, Lord.
When I fail to recognize your presence in the events of my everyday life,
Stay with me, Lord.
When I feel that my troubles are a sign that you have abandoned me,
Stay with me, Lord.
When my need for security makes me self-centered,
Stay with me, Lord.
When my love for others grows cold and ungenerous,
Stay with me, Lord.
When my friends betray me, as you were betrayed,
Stay with me, Lord.
When I meet with ingratitude and criticism,
Stay with me, Lord.
When I feel weary, old and lonely,
Stay with me, Lord.
When my faith seems to weaken before failure,
Stay with me, Lord.
When the Father does not seem to hear my prayer,
Stay with me Lord.

O Mary conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to thee!
~Blessings to all of you as you celebrate this beautiful feast~


  1. Cute! You never cease to amaze me, Tiffany! :-)

  2. a lovely post on our interior life. I would love to make a retreat like the one you were able to make. and the surroundings there are beautiful and tranquil. isn't it a God-incidence the way we are strengthened in the areas in which we are week, when we merely focus our livfe on our Lord -- the Blessed Mother is so good that way. The prayer is beautiful.

  3. Thank you for taken me on a mini retreat!
    Please accept this award!
    Many Blessings,


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