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 Welcome to the Carmelite Community of the Word Webpage!  

Meet our Sisters 

The Carmelite Community of the Word would like you to get to know each of our sisters.   Each month we will focus on a different sister and tell a bit of her story.  


Sr. Theresa Nelen, CCW

This year is a very special time for one of our Carmelite Community of the Word Sisters.   

Sr. Theresa Nelen is celebrating her 80th birthday as well as 60 years in religious life.  These milestones are remarkable and so our community celebrates with her. 

Sister Theresa was born on a farm in Chest Springs, PA, the youngest of the twelve children of Henry and Emma Nelen.  She attended elementary school at St. Monica’s Catholic School, a small three room school house with Grades 1 through 8.  She graduated from Patton Chest High School and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from St. Francis College, now St. Francis University.  Sr. Theresa writes about her call to religious life.

“The simple life of my father and mother in raising their children in an atmosphere of prayer and loving support of each other is where I received my desire to follow the consecrated life as a Sister.  The Sisters of Mercy who taught me in elementary school were also instruments in my becoming a sister.  I spent many hours sitting by the woods admiring God’s beautiful creation, only later learning that this contemplation was, in essence, prayer.  I entered the convent on September 8, 1956.”

“From farm girl to consecrated religious woman, the following passage from St. John’s Gospel has always been important for my life and religious vocation: “Jesus said, ‘I am the vine; you are the branches.  The one who lives in me and I in them will produce fruit abundantly, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5)

Sr. Theresa has served faithfully over the years.  Some of her ministry has been in the area of education as teacher and principal at various diocesan schools, and as Pastoral Minister at St. Demetrius Parish in Gallitzin.  Currently she is a volunteer at the Discalced Carmelites in Loretto.  Sister Theresa also offers Faith Enrichment opportunities for adults. 

Sr. Theresa recently reflected on her life as a Consecrated Sister: “Those wonderful years of loving and thanking God have passed into 60 years in his vineyard.  I continue to live a simple life in total gratitude to my God for all the blessings he has bestowed on me.  Finding contentment wherever I am assigned, I can be an instrument in the hand of God in whatever the work he has designed for me.  I am deeply thankful for my family and the rich Catholic heritage they handed on, which in turn has helped me to cling to the True Vine.”

In this modern age, it is wonderful to find a person who has dedicated 60 years of life in God’s service.  May God bless you, Sr. Theresa, for your faithfulness!  Congratulations!