by Lisa Tome
Sister Teresa Irene, and Sister Barbara, of Rising Sun's Episcopal Carmel of St. Teresa, spend their days in prayer because that's the role of a Carmelite nun.
During the 40 days of Lent, that prayer deepens.
"It's (Lent) a deepening of intentionality in our life of prayer. We are mindful of those who have rejected God and are pleading for repentance and forgiveness. We are praying for peace in a world where there is so much brutality. Our love with God's great love we offer," said Sister Barbara.
The sisters started the Lenten season off last week with an Ash Wednesday service. The sisters performed all the Ash Wednesday rituals and put ashes on heads during a small service at the monastery chapel. The chapel is pared down for Lent. The icon is draped in purple. When the ashes are applied Sister Barbara says "You are dust and to dust you shall return."
Earlier in the month, in preparation for the Holy season, they hosted guests for four days of intensive study. Several priests and a bishop were on hand for this event. They will have follow ups to this prayer workshop on Saturdays during Lent.
Sister Teresa Irene will also be speaking at area churches during Lent. She will work to spread the message of the Joy of Lent. "We keep Lent as a time we focus on listening and being present with God. It's a hunkering down," said Sister Teresa Irene. "Lent was originally a time for a last gasp of preparation before Easter. In the early church, it was preparation for baptism. Lent was the last bit of time getting ready."
The sisters will spend more time in prayer. "To me, Lent feels like a 40 day retreat. It's a time of self-examination, prayer, and increased focus on scripture," said Sister Teresa Irene.
The monastery is located on Little New York Road, Rising Sun, off Route 1.