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Marin Carmelites celebrate 50th Foundation Day

November 12, 2015
Christina Gray

Fifty years after Mother Dolores and a small group of pioneering Carmelite sisters arrived in a downpour on Nov. 24, 1965 to found the Carmel of the Mother of God Monastery in San Rafael, former prioress Mother Dolores, 93 – the sole survivor of the original founding sisters – wore an orchid corsage and a broad smile on Nov. 1 during the first of three jubilee Masses this month.

More than 75 supporters packed the small monastery for the All Saints’ Day Mass celebrated by Santa Fe Archbishop John C. Wester, who was associate pastor of St. Raphael Parish in San Rafael and president of Marin Catholic High School in Greenbrae during the Carmelites’ earlier decades in Marin.

In 1965, Archbishop Joseph T. McGucken invited 10 sisters from the Carmelite monastery at Carmel-by-the-Sea to come to the Archdiocese of San Francisco and built the suburban enclave for them. Today the Carmelite community includes Mother Dolores, who served as prioress for more than 20 years, current prioress Mother Anna Marie and four other sisters.

In his homily, Archbishop Wester said that our sanctification is nearly guaranteed if “we let God be God” and honored the sisters’ life of prayer.

“My dear sisters, you are living examples of this because you believe in a God who actively works in you in very beautiful ways,” he said. “It’s not always been easy, but you take on our sufferings and make them your own.”

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