Vocation Story

Sister Peter Lillian DiMaria, O.Carm.

The Lord leads the dance and has many surprises for those who follow!This was definitely true in my life. I grew up in Enfield, CT raised by loving parents who instilled in me the importance of family values and our Catholic faith.I attended Catholic grammar and high school and college. My parents sacrificed much to insure my siblings and I received a strong Catholic Education.In college I majored in Natural Science and Secondary Education and after graduating from college, I taught Science at the largest Junior High School in Connecticut. My family and my teachers, the Felician Sisters, nurtured my vocation.The Felicians are wonderful educators and I found their many kindnesses and their prayerfulness inspired me to pursue Religious Life.I spent many days helping the Sisters on special projects after school and the more I volunteered with them the more I became attracted to Religious Life.

While attending college, I spent a couple of summers working in a local nursing home operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor.The seed of Religious Life that my family and Felician Sisters planted began to grow even more as I worked with the Residents, especially those with different forms of dementia. I became very attracted to this ministry to elders.When I realized that I was being called to Religious Life, I began to discern my vocation by visiting both teaching orders and those working with the elderly.

I visited the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm in Fairhaven, MA in 1977 and was greeted by Sr. M. Colette of the Assumption who was extremely welcoming and spoke with such joy about her vocation and her Congregation.I felt very much at home with her. Sr. Colette relayed that our dear Mother Foundress, Mother Angeline Teresa had said how important it is for us to remain in contact with our parents because although we are making a sacrifice when we enter Religious Life, our parents are also making a sacrifice.It was this sensitivity to the family life that attracted me even more to this Religious Congregation and Religious Life that embodied what I felt I was being called to – a strong sense of Community Life, Community Prayer and Ministry to elders throughout the country and Ireland.

I knew Carmelite Spirituality was an area I wanted to learn more about and more importantly live.I love the many aspects of our Spirituality especially the importance of developing our relationship with God, practicing self-knowledge and being of service to others.I knew when I entered we were not a teaching order and wondered how I was going to be of service to our Congregation.The answer did not come right away and I had many challenges a long the way, serving in various aspects our Congregations’ ministry in areas I may not have ever chosen. I am very grateful for all the experiences and the challenges, as they have brought me to a deeper relationship with God, myself and those I serve.I am presently the Director of the Avila Institute of Gerontology, the Education Arm of our Congregation – talk about letting the Lord lead the dance!I have served 32 years in our Community and pray that others experience the same peace that I have that comes from knowing you are where God wants you to be.

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Sister Peter Lillian DiMaria, O.Carm.