A proud past: Re Chiffy recounts what made ‘God’s house’ her ‘home’


When it came time for me to verbalize what Mount Carmel means to me, one word kept coming to me over and over — home. 

Mount Carmel not only is the sanctuary of Christ, the place of worship my grandparents helped to build, but it has become a second home for me. It has been my mainstay during difficult times, the place I longed to be during this terrible year of the pandemic.

When Masses were first livestreamed, I found myself in tears many times, wondering when I would be able to be back in the place where I felt safe and where I loved being surrounded by lifelong friends who share my faith. This has been a very difficult year, and I look forward to returning to some sense of normalcy.

Normal for me always has included Mount Carmel. I was baptized there, received my other sacraments there, had my children baptized there, and as many others have done, I have said goodbye to beloved family there as well.

I attended the school as a child and have many happy memories of the beautiful nuns who taught us reading, writing, arithmetic, and most of all, about the love of God. I sent my children there as I hoped they also would experience the joy of growing up in such a beautiful place.

The values I learned in the halls of our school have proven invaluable. They have sustained me through the ups and downs of life.

Many of the priests who led our worship over the years have proven to be some of my dearest friends: Father Henry, Father Joe, Father Paul and Father John Rose, to name a few. They came to our parish and quickly became like family.

That’s what I have always loved about Mount Carmel. The sense of family, a strong community of faith. It’s not just God’s house; it’s our home.