Welcome to the Diocese of Lake Charles

By Pamela Seal
Diocese of Lake Charles

The installation for the 2024-2027 Council Members of the St. Therese Little Flower Lay Carmelite Community #1916 took place on Saturday, April 6, at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Lake Charles. 

The Lay Carmelite Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Third Order) is an association of lay persons — men and women from all walks of life — who exhibit a love and commitment for the Carmelite Order and for Our Lady.

The 2024-2027 St. Therese Little Flower Lay Carmelite
Community Council members are, from left, Jeanne LeBato,
Director; Dale and Ainsley (in front) DeSonier, Sick and
Homebound Ministry; Ruth McDaniel, Secretary;
Debbie Habetz, Formation Director; and Marie Davidson,
Treasurer; with Rev. Josh Page, Spiritual Assistant for the Council.

Rev. Josh Page, Spiritual Assistant for the Community, installed the following council members to serve a three-year term: 

  • Jeanne LeBato, Director
  • Debbie Habetz, Formation Director
  • Ruth McDaniel, Secretary
  • Marie Davidson, Treasurer
  • Dale and Ainsley DeSonier, Sick and Homebound Ministry

Not to be confused with members of an organization or a club, Lay Carmelite members have chosen to live out their baptismal commitment according to the spirit of the Carmelite Order. 

The director, Jeanne LeBato, has been a member for 15 years and credits Ainsley DeSonier for inviting her to a Carmelite meeting in the Fall of 2009.

Members of St. Therese Little Flower Lay Carmelite Community
attend First Saturday Mass on April 6 in Our Lady Queen of Heaven
Catholic Church. They can be seen wearing the Brown Scapular
as sign of dedication to Mary, trust in her protection, and as an
expression of one’s commitment to live in allegiance to Christ
by serving others.

“As I sat in that meeting ‘falling in love’ with the Carmelite way of life, this was the ‘something more’ I needed to settle the restlessness within me,” said Jeanne who made her final profession on March 13, 2016. 

“The quietness of contemplative prayer, the Spirit of common bonds in community, the call to service wherever we are in daily life, the breaking open of spiritual writings of the Carmelite Saints all immediately ministered to my soul,” she said. “My cup was being filled so I could go out and pour into others.” 

St. Therese Little Flower Carmelite Community is made up of members from throughout the Diocese of Lake Charles who meet monthly for community and formation.   

The Order is named after a mountain range in the Holy Land called Mount Carmel where Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Baal took place. The main Carmelite models are Elijah and Our Blessed Mother.

Lay Carmelite members make the Sign of the Cross
at the beginning of their First Saturday monthly meeting
at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Family Life Center on April 6.
Ainsley DeSonier, seated in front, was responsible for inviting
Jeanne LeBato, now Director, to a meeting in 2009.

Being a Lay Carmelite is not just a devotion, but rather a vocation. By entering the Order, the Lay Carmelite takes upon him/herself the Carmelite charism of prayer, community, and service to others. 

Jeanne said her prayer life has deepened through contemplation. 

“From the teachings of Carmelite doctors of our Church such as the simple childlike way of St. Therese to the complex writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, to the zeal of Elijah, to the Fiat of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I have learned so much regarding personal and communal prayer life that has assisted me in ways I had not known before.” 

With a focus on virtuous service to others, Jeanne said she has been strengthened through the Lay Carmelite Third Order allowing her to “be still and know that He is God” in all areas of her life. 

Several goals for the Lay Carmelite include: 

  • Participate in daily celebration of the Eucharist when possible
  • Spend about a half hour in meditation each day reflecting on scripture
  • Pray the Liturgy of the Hours — Morning and Evening Prayer — in union with the Church throughout the world
  • Spend time doing spiritual reading weekly
  • Attend monthly community meetings and other periodic community activities
  • Wear the Brown Scapular daily as a sign of dedication to Mary, trust in her protection, and as an expression of one’s commitment to live in allegiance to Christ by serving others. Those who wear the Scapular are called to be interiorly clothed with Christ and to show in their lives his saving presence for the Church and for humanity.

The St. Therese Little Flower Lay Carmelite Community meets on the first Saturday of each month. Jeanne invites anyone who is searching for a way to find a quiet sense of peace within their soul to discern if this is a vocation that God is calling you to. 

“If you feel called to follow the charisms of contemplation, community, and service, I invite you to take the time to visit one of our community meetings.” 

Lay Carmelites must be at least 17 years old and be a Catholic in good standing. For more details on the formation process, contact Debbie Habetz, Formation Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

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