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New Carmelite prioress originally from Panama

Sister María Cruz de León succeeds Sister Cecilia Chun who served six years

Published: August 13, 2015   

Sister María Cruz de León was elected prioress of the Carmel of St. Teresa of Jesus monastery in Little Rock July 28.

The native of Panama entered the Carmelite religious order 25 years ago. When elected, Sister María told Arkansas Catholic, “If I say ‘no,’ it will be my will and if I say ‘yes’ it will be God’s will.”

She succeeds Sister Cecilia Chun, OCD, who has led the discalced Carmelite nuns as prioress for the past six years.

“Sister María Cruz is a prayerful person. Her beautiful Panamanian culture and her experience as a former Franciscan sister would help her to be a wise prioress,” Sister Cecilia said. “Our vocation as Carmelites is to pray. If she depends on God for everything and prays, all our wonderful Carmelite saints will certainly intercede for her.”

The cloistered Carmelite community came to Little Rock in 1950. Its vocation, according to, is “to live as hermits in community” balanced by “solitude and community, silence and recreation, work and prayer.”

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