“The greatest joy is just being in religious life.”
Sister Patrocinio Gonzalez, O.C.D, shares the joy of her life as a Carmelite religious.
Born in 1918 in Mexico, Sister Patrocinio knew from the time she was a little girl that she wanted to be a Carmelite Sister. She was attracted to the order by Mother Luisita, the foundress of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart. “I kept asking her if I could join. I asked until she thought I was old enough.”
Mother Luisita said “yes” when Sister Patrocinio turned 15. On July 16, 1935, Sister made her first profession of vows. She was a companion to Mother Luisita until her death in 1937. Sister was then sent to one of the convents Mother founded in the United States.
Almost all of Sister’s religious life was spent devotedly caring for and nursing the ill, mostly in Duarte, California. “I took care of girls with TB, and worked in physical therapy, x-ray, surgery, and served as sacristan for many years.” For a ten-year period beginning in 1941, Sister Patrocinio assisted retreatants at the Sacred Heart Retreat House.
When asked about her greatest joy, she beams, “The greatest joy is just being in religious life.”
Now nearing her 99th year, Sister continues to blossom in her vocation and her life of joyful service. She spends time daily in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, and helps her community by folding laundry and picking and arranging fresh flowers for the Infant of Prague and the Blessed Mother statues in the Chapel. She is an active and thriving member of the community of sisters. That includes leading morning prayer in the chapel.
Sister Patrocinio “enjoys each of the sisters – their blessings and their talents.” Her wisdom is a guide for all of us to enjoy the people around us, their blessings and their talents.
In 2016 the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles received a SOAR! grant of $24,500. The grant was used to purchase hi-low beds which help ensure the safety, comfort, and care of their elderly members. The Sisters are grateful to SOAR! and its donors for the grant “which helps us to keep our elderly Sisters integrated and able to live out our community life. May God reward you!”