Two thousand twenty-three marks 100 years of the Carmelite presence in the Philippines. After a century of contemplation and reflection, Carmelite nuns are faithful witnesses to the simplicity of life.
Since they are evangelized and have nurtured personal relationships with the poor, they embrace the sacred mission of bringing them closer to God through the immense power of prayer. Indeed, this religious way of life aligns with the plight of a country where the poor desperately need all the support they can get.
A living testament to this life of humility and deep spirituality is Sister Dulce Inlayo, OCD, from the Province of Infanta in the Philippines.
A cloistered nun for almost three decades, her mission in life is pretty straightforward: to express her overflowing love by becoming a praying heart in the Mystical Body of Christ, the Holy Church—most especially the poor.
A Beacon for the Church
For the prioress, prayer is the apostolate of a cloistered community of nuns. They grow in love and spirit by centering their minds and hearts on Jesus alone for the entire day.
“With our minds and hearts centered on Jesus, the love of our lives, we offer to our Triune God a pleasing sacrifice of unceasing prayer from the rising of the sun to its setting while carrying in our hearts the needs and intentions of the Church, especially our priests and the poor,” said Sister Dulce, as featured in Business Mirror.
Living in prayerful seclusion, she pointed out that their “life of hidden union with Christ” is rooted in poverty and simplicity. This way of life allows them to fend off earthly desires through holiness and be content with God alone, just like Saint Teresa of Avila did.
A Gift of Vocation
Considering her Carmelite vocation as “the greatest blessing” of her life, she hopes that her vocation brings a light of faith to others.
“Pope Francis calls us beacons that guide the Church, torches that illumine in the darkness, and sentinels heralding the morning,” Sr. Inlayo explained.
She invites other women, her fellow Filipinas, to celebrate their lives as witnesses to the joy and beauty of belonging totally to Jesus. Her heart goes out to religious and lay women alike.
A Hundred Years of Religious Life
The Philippine celebration of a century of Carmelite presence will culminate at Jaro, Iloilo, on November 9. At present, there are 22 Carmel convents in the country.
On top of that, Sister Inlayo also revealed that they remember the founders of the first Carmelite convent in the country this year.
In response to the Second Vatican Council's call for the renewal of religious life, Bishop Julio Xavier Labayen, OCD, and five Carmel volunteers founded the Infanta Carmel in 1981.
Religious women living in total contemplation are considered the church’s praying heart. According to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Constitution, “Vultum Dei Quarere,” every cloistered convent is regarded as a storehouse of graces and apostolic fruitfulness and a visible witness to the mystery and wide variety of holiness.”
May Sister Dulce Inlayo and the countless cloistered nuns in the Philippines and around the world never cease to pray for the world we live in, serve the poor who are struggling daily, and forge a meaningful relationship with Christ for the sake of others.
Let us pray for their life of prayer— their efficient weapon against temptation, a reliable source of spiritual strength, and a channel of grace for the whole Church. - Luke Godoy
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.