By Arianna Locatell
The Carmelite Sisterhood has a legacy of success when it comes to carrying out its mission of helping people in need. Establishing many institutions and now premiering the Rose Gardens First Cottage at Santa Teresita’s Neighborhood of Care, the Carmelite Sisterhood continues to provide compassion and care to those who need it most.
In 1921, Venerable Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament (affectionatley known as Mother Luisita) the sisterhood’s founder, formed the Carmelite Sisterhood in Mexico. Following the religious persecution that occurred during the Mexican revolution, Mother Luisita and two companions entered the United Sates as religious refugees in 1927 to safely share their spiritual ideals.
Sister Timothy Marie, a member of the Carmelite Sisterhood says “Mother Luisita and her two companions brought with them, as religious refugees in 1927, a legacy that it is our God-given mission, a mission of the heart, a mission of loving service to the poor, the sick, the needy and the uneducated.” Dedicated to that legacy, the Carmelite Sisterhood has sponsored several institutions in the United States including schools for children in Arizona and Florida and many healthcare institutions in Southern California.
Believing that the elderly need access to healthcare and committed to providing it, the Carmelite Sisterhood primarily focuses on medical services for seniors and has sponsored three facilities in Los Angeles that provide healthcare to elderly individuals: Avila Gardens, located in the San Gabriel Valley, is an independent living facility that offers care to active individuals over the age of 55; Marycrest Manor is a nursing facility that offers 24-hour care to seniors in need of short-term or long-term rehabilitation, and dating back to 1930, the sisterhood’s oldest facility, Santa Teresita, is located in Duarte, and provides independent living, assisted living, nursing and hospice services. Reflecting on the Carmelite Sisterhood and healthcare for seniors, Sister Timothy Marie says “we fervently believe that the latter years are meant to be lived out in joy, vibrancy, and security. We need to give back to those who came before us; we want to upgrade the options offered to them in their senior years.”
Santa Teresita: a Neighborhood of Care is the sisterhood’s latest accomplishment in senior healthcare. On September 8, the Carmelite Sisterhood will proudly debut the grand opening of the Rose Gardens’ First Cottage at Santa Teresita’s Neighborhood of Care. Santa Teresita originally started out as a tuberculosis sanatorium for young women and then expanded to a hospital in 1955. Over the years, various medical services have been offered at Santa Teresita, but in 2004, the focus of care shifted to the elderly. The Rose Gardens at Santa Teresita will offer long-term or short-term housing, care, and rehabilitation for seniors. Sister Timothy Marie says “we want to address the many dimensions of aging in a proactive, caring atmosphere in a setting conducive to living life to the fullest. Santa Teresita’s Neighborhood of Care is that setting.” The Rose Gardens’ master plan includes seven to nine cottages that will each house ten to thirteen people, a gerontology learning center, a senior university and a town center for activities. Nursing and pastoral internships will also be offered at Santa Teresita’s Neighborhood of Care.
Festivities for the Rose Gardens’ grand opening will commence at 11:00a.m. and will include an official blessing, food, entertainment and open tours. The Carmelite Sisterhood welcomes the public to attend the grand opening as they continue to provide care for important members of our society. Santa Teresita’s Neighborhood of Care is located at 819 Buena Vista Street in Duarte.