(LifeSiteNews) — The beautiful Carmelite monastery in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, with some 25 nuns dedicated to the traditional form of the Roman rite have received notice that an apostolic visitation will take place September 25–28. The Carmelites have sent out a press release (see full text below) and are asking for prayers and vigils, since such a visitation — which includes interviews of each sister and detailed scrutiny of their lives — is a “stressful trial,” in the words of the press release.
The Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is served by a hermit, Fr. Maximilian Mary Dean, who had earlier been a Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate. The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, an international order dedicated to the spirituality of St. Maxilimian Kolbe, had undergone a visitation early on in Pope Francis’ papacy — with very negative effects on the order.
Due to an increase of vocations, the Carmel of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph purchased land in 2013, with the blessing of their local bishop, Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Harrisburg Diocese, and moved to the new property in 2018.
As the Carmelites characterize their community on the website:
The primary mission of the Carmelite Order is to pray and offer oblation for the Church and the world. The use of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and Divine Office sets this monastery apart and their observance of the Rule and Constitutions is part of an unbroken tradition stretching back from Mexico to Spain to Mount Carmel itself in the Holy Land.
The Carmelites continue:
Steeped in the rich tradition of their heritage, these Discalced Carmelites in the rural farmlands of Pennsylvania live out the centuries-old rule of their Holy Founders, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. Completely in communion with the Roman Catholic Church and under the approval of the diocesan Bishop of Harrisburg, the nuns trace their roots back to sixteenth century Spain and seventeenth century Mexico. They are one of six other traditional foundations from the Carmel in Valparaiso, Nebraska.
These nuns are in the middle of a large building project, “seeking to re-create the beauty of the monasteries of old.” LifeSite has heard from numerous Catholic laypeople who travel from afar to visit this monastery and profit from the beauty and deep spirituality of these nuns. The nuns now ask that the faithful hold prayer vigils throughout the entire time of the Apostolic Visitation. LifeSite has not yet learned more about the reason for this visitation. We will update our reporting as soon as we learn more.
LifeSite kindly asks readers to join the prayers of those Catholics who are able to attend the prayer vigils.
Please see here the full press release of the Carmelite nuns of Fairfield:
This coming weekend, we ask that you pray in a special way for our Nuns. More than ever before, they are in need of your love and your support.
In August, they received the news they would be subject to an Apostolic Visitation and the dates have been scheduled for Sep. 25-28, 2021. A Visitation consists of interviews of each sister and a detailed scrutiny of the Nuns’ daily life. It includes an evaluation of their application of the Carmelite charism and their monastic customs.
It is for this reason, we are asking for your prayerful support as they undergo this difficult and stressful trial. We pray that the Nuns may quickly return to their quiet monastic observance.
If you are able, would you join us for a prayer vigil at their property? From 9am-5pm beginning Saturday and ending Tuesday, all our friends are welcome to stop by to say a Rosary or just a few prayers at the gates or in the cemetery. Your presence and support will be felt deeply by the Nuns and they will be eternally grateful.
On September 29, the Chapel will reopen at 9am for a glorious Solemn High Mass. Mass will once again be open to the public after that date.
LifeSite’s Jim Hale contributed to this report.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated.