At their Thirty-seventh General Chapter of Elections, the Sisters of Mount Carmel elected their first Filipina Sister to serve as president, Sister Maria Sheila Undang. Four councilors were also elected: Sisters Elma Calajatan, Mary Ellen Wheelahan, Janet LeBlanc, and Gina Yabo. The sessions were held at St. Joseph Abbey Christian Life Center, St. Benedict, LA from December 27, 2022 to January 1, 2023. The theme of the General Chapter was, “Here I am, I come to do your will.” (Hebrews 10:9). Installation is scheduled for April 22, 2023. The Philippine Region will hold its Regional Chapter June 11 – 14, 2023.
Sister Maria Sheila Undang, O. Carm. president-elect, serves on the Executive Council as assistant to the president, corporation secretary and as Development Director, Lacombe Property Manager, Congregation Social Media Coordinator, and Maintenance Coordinator of St. Adele. As a member of the Philippine Region, she served as Regional Treasurer of the Sisters of Mount Carmel, Administrative Assistant and Department Head at Holy Child Hospital, Dumaguete City, Finance Officer of the Sisters of Mount Carmel Catholic School in Quezon City, Philippines, and formator for novices and junior professed sisters. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and a certificate for Accompaniment Program for Formators from the Institute of Formation and Religious Studies in Quezon City, Philippines, a Master of Arts in Theology with a major in Spirituality from the Institute of Consecrated Life in Asia in Quezon City, Philippines and a Master of Pastoral Studies and graduate certificate in Theology and Ministry from Loyola Institute of Ministry, New Orleans, LA.
Sister Elma Calajatan, O. Carm. serves as Timor-Leste Mission Treasurer, Formator of postulants and canonical novices, Formation House Treasurer, Mother Thérèse Chevrel Community House Coordinator, and Formation Team Coordinator. She attended Mandu-ao Elementary School, Bayawan City and Kabankalan Catholic College, Kabankalan, Philippines and received her Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from Foundation University, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. She is enrolled in Master of Arts in Psychology, Major in Counseling Psychology in Silliman University, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. She attended trainings in Formation and Spiritual Direction for Formators. Sister Elma has also served as Treasurer of the Philippine Region, Assistant Formator and Formator of postulants and canonical novices; she was a member of the Vocation Animation Team of the Philippine Region, and a Finance Officer of the Sisters of Mount Carmel Catholic School in Quezon City; she also served in pastoral care in the Philippines and as part-time clerical aide at Holy Child Hospital.
Sister Mary Ellen Wheelahan, O. Carm. serves as the Safe Environment Coordinator for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. She received a degree in Elementary Education from University of New Orleans and Adult Education/Christian Community Development degree from Regis University, Denver, CO. Sister has taught at St. Dominic School in New Orleans and Mount Carmel Elementary in New Iberia. In 1987, while still working part time at St. Dominic, she served as Director of Mount Carmel’s Cub Corner Preschool in New Orleans until 2002. She has served as the Associate Director of Elementary Catechesis in Elementary Schools for the Archdiocese of New Orleans and on the Board of Directors for Bread for the World. Sister served as an executive councilor from 2013-2017.
Sister Janet LeBlanc, O. Carm. returns as executive councilor for a second term. She served as principal/president of Mount Carmel School of Abbeville, teacher and principal of Mount Carmel High School in New Iberia, teacher at E.D. White Catholic High School, Thibodaux, LA, and Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans, LA. She attended Mount Carmel School of Abbeville and Vermillion Catholic High School in Abbeville, University of Southwestern, Lafayette where she received her B.S. in Health and Physical Education and St. Thomas College in St. Paul, MN where she received her Master of Arts Degree in Administration and Supervision. She currently serves as healthcare provider for the sisters in Abbeville and Lafayette areas. She previously served as executive councilor from 2005-2013 and 2017-2022.
Sister Gina Yabo, O. Carm. serves as Philippine Region Treasurer and Administrator of Holy Child Hospital, Dumaguete City, Philippines. She attended Macalibre Alto Elementary and High School and received a Bachelor of Secondary Education in Math and English from Immaculate Conception College, Ozamiz City, Philippines. She received a Master of Arts degree in Educational Management, St. Paul University of Dumaguete, a Juris Doctor non-thesis degree, Foundation University, Dumaguete City, and is enrolled in a master’s program in Hospital Administration, Silliman University, Dumaguete City. Sister has served as assistant to the director of Bread for the World, New Orleans Chapter, as a vocation animator in Mindanao, Philippines, a teacher at Holy Cross High School, Dumaguete City, and hospital canteen manager while doing part time work at Holy Child Hospital business office. She also served as principal of Sisters of Mount Carmel Catholic School in Quezon City from 2000-2005 and 2009-2012, she served as Philippine Regional Coordinator and, at the same time, assistant administrator and financial auditor of Holy Child Hospital, Dumaguete City.