It is with great joy we introduce to you our new postulant, Lynne, who has been here since mid-July. She is been a blessing to our community in many ways. We are grateful to God for sending her to join us in our life of sacrifice and prayer.
Thanks to all who have prayed for new vocations to our Carmel for so long! Please continue! And please pray for Lynne as she embarks on this new journey up the steep heights of Mount Carmel.
My name is Lynne Purkey and I am from Southern California, originally from Michigan. I have one younger brother named Gary. I am also the second cousin of the dear Sister Mary Helena of this Carmel who died in 2011 (my mother and Sister were first cousins). I have known the Sisters since 1977 when Sister entered.
“The world needs help …”
My journey to Carmel unknowingly began back on a youth retreat when the priest asked, “The world needs help and what are you going to do to make a difference?” These words challenged and inspired me. After the retreat I was also aware of a change in me. I was aware of a greater desire to attend Mass, to pray more and grow closer to our Lord. In pursuit of trying to find the answer to the question I responded by pursuing an education in Human Services and Counseling followed by working in these fields. I realized it still did not feel I was doing enough or all that I was being called to do.
My Mother’s Illness
About this time I was aware of our Lord drawing me closer and closer to Himself–to be His alone. While the world and what is had to offer was falling pale to me. It was about this same time that a Norbertine religious community had formed in the high desert of California. Being that my parish was staffed by Norbertine Fathers they encouraged me to make an inquiry. This inquiry led to a visit. After this visit I when through the admissions process and was accepted to enter. It happen within the time of preparation my own mother’s memory took a sharp decline. When I let Mother Superior know she told me at this time my place was with my mother. My mother was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My brother and I took care of her while keeping her home for 13 years until her death.
Through all this I realized God’s grace as He allowed the acceptance and confirmation of my vocation to take place prior to mom’s illness. I looked at this time of caring for our mother as a preparation for religious life: a period of many opportunities of dying to self, experiencing that my life was not my own and with so much to offer up for others. It was also during this time the Lord was guiding me to the Carmelites here in Little Rock. Throughout those 13 years we experienced the prayers and support of the Sisters in Little Rock along with calls from Sister Mary Helena. I also grew closer and closer to the Carmelite spirituality especially through St Therese, who in front of her and her parents’ relics, I entrusted my vocation during this period.
“I Can Make a Difference in the World”
My sense is that my vocation was confirmed through the Norbertines while the direction of my vocation to Carmel grew through the years when caring for our mother. I am happy to be here in Carmel. I feel He has drawn me here to live with and for Him, to love and console Him while offering prayers and sacrifices for souls. I know it may sound paradoxical but I believe I can do more for the world here in a cloistered monastery through a life of prayer and sacrifice. Right before entering it brought me joy and some tears to be able to tell the priest from the youth retreat of years ago that I could finally answer his question of how I can make a difference in the world.