Why I am a Discalced Carmelite

By Dinah Evans

My life is structured and focused on what is important in this world – my Lord and my God. I can thank my involvement with the Carmelites for my peace of heart and mind.

Unfortunately, it was not always that way.

I was a fortunate person to be raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools and colleges clear through to my masters degree. However, when I was about twenty, I started backsliding regarding being at Catholic. I soon realized, it was not easy to live in the secular world and be Catholic.

I abandoned my faith with little thought, though I always said I strongly believed in my faith. I said it is too hard. In the next twenty years, I lived a secular life having “fun” and marry three times by a Justice of Peace. After my marriages failed and I dealt with sadness and disruption, I felt a yearning to return to the church. Instead, I went into the bar business, which easily lead me in the opposite direction from God and the church. After years living the “night life”, I went to therapy saying I was unhappy. We identified that my values did not match the life I was leading. I left the bar business and went to college to be a social worker.

When I went to St. Louis to get my masters degree, I used to walk by a Catholic Church. One day I just went into the church. Gradually through attending Mass and Overeater’s Anonymous, I had a spiritual awakening and return to the Catholic Church. I was so grateful to be back.

As I grew in my faith, I had this calling to do more. One day, I read in the church bulletin about the Carmelites. I knew with surety that is where I belonged. I have been a Carmelite for 14 years, and it has given me pain, struggles, and immense joy.