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LifeSiteNews launches fundraiser to move contemplative nuns from urban hell to rural retreat

Discalced Carmelite nuns at the Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Joseph are escaping the noise of Brooklyn, New York for the tranquility of Pennsylvania.
Wed Jul 21, 2021 - 7:54 pm EST
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Discalced Carmelite Nuns at the Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Joseph will relocate from Brooklyn to this donated piece of property in Pennsylvania.

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BROOKLYN, New York, July 21, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — LifeSiteNews has begun a fundraiser for a group of contemplative nuns whose Brooklyn home has become a hell.  

“We have received so many graces here at the Carmel in Brooklyn,” the Mother Superior of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns at the Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Joseph told LifeSiteNews.    

“However, our location next to Highland Park has proved to be an insurmountable difficulty for our contemplative life,” she continued.  

“The noise and especially the loud music coming from the park — at times it is so loud that even the walls seem to vibrate — has been a real difficulty for our Community over the years. Even with the help of friends and police, there doesn’t seem to be any foreseeable solution to the problem.” 

The Mother Superior told LifeSiteNews that the problem, which includes gang activity, is growing worse and, “with the evidence of drugs, alcohol and satanic rituals, even dangerous.” Young women, potential postulants, have asked to stay with the Brooklyn nuns, but the Sisters believe it would be “impossible to receive them” at that seedy location.  

The 10 Discalced Carmelites, who currently range in age from 30 to the 80s, tried to find a new home within the Diocese of Brooklyn but were unable to find a building that would suit their contemplative life. Providentially, the nuns have been offered a new home: 13 acres of rural property in Pleasant Mount, Pennsylvania. The Catholic family who gave the Sisters the land has already had it consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Discalced Carmelites see in this generous offering a “wonderful opportunity.”  

“When we received the gift of land in Pennsylvania, we saw in this a real answer to prayer and a wonderful opportunity, especially since it would be a suitable place to receive more young vocations to Carmel,” the Mother Superior said.  

Click HERE to help Carmelite nuns move from Brooklyn to rural Pennsylvania! 

The Brooklyn nuns follow the Primitive Rule of Carmel and the primitive Constitutions of their Order, which were written by St. Teresa of Avila herself. Therefore, with the help of an architect friend, the Sisters have designed an “authentic Spanish Carmel.” This will be a monastery like the ones lived in by St. Teresa and her spiritual daughters, with the distinctively “beautiful but austere" Carmelite architecture that can be found in religious houses all over Spain.  

However, a full-sized Spanish monastery cannot be built all at once. Eager to flee the dangers of their disintegrating neighborhood, the Brooklyn Discalced Carmelites are focusing for now on building the first wing of the Pleasant Mount Carmel, which they estimate will cost $2 million.   

“With the simplicity and poverty of our Carmelite charism, we hope to eventually build a Chapel and cloister worthy of the Majesty of God, and which will be set apart as consecrated ground,” the nuns wrote in a fundraising brochure they shared with LifeSiteNews.  

“But even to be able to move by the end of this year to the initial structure of the new Monastery would be a great blessing for our Community.”  

Sadly, the sisters cannot raise money on the building they have been living in for the past 16 years. When the Bishop of Brooklyn asked the Discalced Carmelites to return to Buffalo and obtained for them a building, they were told that the property would be returned to the Diocese if they ever left. The property, a former Franciscan friary and community center, had needed extensive renovations to become suitable for cloistered life. Thus, the Carmelites do not have the means as yet to build their rural refuge. They are depending on their brothers and sisters in Christ, and have promised to pray for their benefactors in perpetuity.  

Asked by LifeSiteNews to share with our readers something of their lives, the Mother Superior stressed their fidelity to the pattern set by their great foundress St. Teresa of Avila.  

“Following the directives and saintly example of Our Holy Mother, St. Teresa of Jesus, and so many holy Carmelites who have followed in her footsteps, we live a life of solitude, silence, prayer, manual labor, penance, and fraternal charity, embracing the evangelical counsels and striving to imitate and  be united with our Lord Jesus in all things,” she wrote.  

“The enclosure wall, the grills, the silence, and the generous gift of self, all help to create a desert (both exteriorly and interiorly) where the bride may encounter her Bridegroom.”  

The goal of the Brooklyn — soon to be Pleasant Mount — Discalced Carmelites is to live out their life as strictly as their foundress envisioned “for the sanctification of priests and for the salvation of souls.” In their liturgical celebrations and prayers, they also remain faithful to the ancient traditions of the Church.  

“We pray the traditional Latin Breviary and the Latin Mass,” Mother Superior told LifeSiteNews.  

“Aware of the great crisis of holiness in the Church, our own insufficiency and the need for more intense prayer and penance, we understand the importance of praying the Office, which includes the recitation of the entire psalter.” 

Mother Superior asserted that petition and praise are the greatest things the Sisters can do for the Church, and that they all love to recite the Divine Office. 

“We normally chant the Office recto tono [a simple, reciting tone], but on Sundays and Solemnities, we chant Lauds and Vespers in the traditional Gregorian Chant, and the Mass is chanted on those days, as well,” she said.  

As this story is published, Lifefunder has already raised more than $1,000 for the new Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Joseph. Mother Superior expressed thanks for LifeSiteNews readers and benefactors.  

“We are so grateful for the outpouring of prayers and help which we are receiving,” she stated.  

“We know that this is our Lord’s work, and only through Him will anything be accomplished!” 

Click HERE to help Carmelite nuns move from Brooklyn to rural Pennsylvania!


  brooklyn, carmelites, catholic, contemplative nuns, lifefunder

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