Carmel Convent, 884 N. Lemoore Ave, Lemoore,
We Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa serve at Mary Immaculate Queen School that belongs to St. Peters parish in the Diocese of Fresno since 1991.
A Brief History:
MIQ School 52 years working with families in faith is a private Catholic School. The school was staffed and administered by the Sisters of Mercy from Ireland since 1959 until we Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa took charge in 1991. The school is now staffed by 5 sisters and lay teachers.
Our main apostolate here is teaching and pastoral work. One of the sisters is the principal, and three others teach in Kindergarten, Grade 2 and 6. As you know teaching here is very challenging and rewarding in some extent. Catholic Schools here unlike in India are private schools without any aids from the government. However, the parents work very hard to support the school in financing with high tuition fee and mandatory 40 hrs of service and many fund raising activities throughout the school year. Their sacrifice and committed service to the school is commendable! The number of Catholic School that is being closed in every diocese throughout the United States is growing high.
At MIQ School 99% of our students and teachers are Catholics. Religion is one of the main subjects hence Religion is given priority. The curriculum and all the other activities in the school are orientated towards promoting Christian values and Catholic faith. For this reason we teach Religion every day, we have adoration every Tuesday, Mass Wednesday, Rosary Thursday and Stations of the Cross every Friday during Lent in the school. These are open to the parish community and so the parents and grandparents participate in one or the other. Students from kindergarten through 8th Grade take turns to conduct Liturgy with the help of the sisters and their teachers. The school choir sing for Sunday Mass.
All the teachers and sisters should have compulsory 40 hrs of studies to obtain a license and authorization from the Diocese. Religion certification in an ongoing process to renew our certificate every year by updating 10hrs of studies attending seminars, workshops, in-service or courses. This is the way Catholic faith is promoted and practiced by teachers and students. This is mandatory and if you don’t fulfill the requirements you will be fired from your job.
Sisters prepare for the reception of the sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation which is done when they are in the second grade. We are active members in the church, engaged in teaching Catechism, visiting the sick, praying with the family who are going through difficult time. We are an integral part of the church’s three fold Mission of communicating word of God, building community of faith and serving the people.
From the past 2 years one of the sisters is in charge of the pastoral ministry of the parish. She visits the hospitals and home bound take communion to the sick. Give all the help and assistance necessary and coordinate with the priests to prepare for the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
The presence of the Sisters is very much appreciated by the community. We are considered as people of prayer, simplicity and cheerfulness. We are satisfied with minimum and very committed and dedicated in our ministry. Parents prefer their children to be in sisters’ class than the lay teachers. They trust us with their children’s safety and education. We are accepted, loved and cared.
Our presence is a help to the parish too financially because we are not salary people like lay teachers but receive religious stipend which make a huge difference financially and make MIQ school more affordable for Catholic Education.
We keep our prayer life as our top priority in spite of our busy schedule. Besides being teachers we are the chefs, drivers, gardeners, cleaners and jacks of all trades.
We are fortunate have a new and big church just close to the school. So we do not have to drive to the church every day. Students also get to go to church every week for Mass and adoration.
We are happy being here to serve the church in Lemoore as long as we are here with keeping our CSST identity and charism in the best possible way.