Young carmel reflects historic connection for nuns

"From the first minute, it was like a beautiful dream"

The following comes from a March 23 Catholic Voice article by Michele Jurich:

Five novices join with five nuns in the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph at a Mass at St. Monica Church in Moraga in 2012. ( Jose Luis Aguirre/ the Catholic Voice)

Five novices join with five nuns in the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph at a Mass at St. Monica Church in Moraga in 2012. (Jose Luis Aguirre/ the Catholic Voice)

The Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is coming up on its third anniversary in the Diocese of Oakland, but the Order of Discalced Carmelites has a history in the area that dates to the Mexican Revolution when the intrepid Mother Luisita brought her sisters to safety in California. A small band lived at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga. A grille in the college chapel is a memento of their stay.

Five sisters were greeted at the end of July 2012 by then-Bishop Salvatore Cordileone. The sisters took up temporary residence in Canyon, within the boundaries of St. Monica Parish, where they were befriended and beloved by parishioners and their pastor, Father Wayne Campbell.

“Our Holy Mother founded Carmel really to pray for the church, to pray for priests in particular,” said Mother Agnes, OCD, who served as mother superior of the carmel until returning to Nebraska. “That’s really our life, to give our lives for priests, and for the faithful.”

A benefactor purchased a former Kensington monastery last year, giving it to the diocese to become a home for women religious. Years of vacancy and deferred maintenance took their toll; the process of renovation will unfold over the next 20 years.

The nuns moved in November. “From the first minute, it was really home,” said Mother Sylvia Gemma, OCD, the superior. “It’s like a beautiful dream: a real monastery, such a beautiful monastery.”

Ten sisters are in residence. Since coming to California, two young women have entered formation. Mother Sylvia Gemma corresponds with women who are discerning a vocation.

Current correspondents range in age from 7 to their 20s. “Little girls who are homeschooled sometimes write a letter,” she said. “Parents teach them how important it is to pray and see if Jesus is calling them to religious life.”

Neighbors are becoming accustomed to the return of a monastery. The chapel is open daily for Mass. The public sits on one side of the chapel; behind a grille, on the other side of the chapel, are the nuns. Bells ring daily. Upon moving into the monastery, “One of the sisters said, ‘We feel like little birds who have been set free. We can live our life,'” Mother Sylvia Gemma recounted.

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Comments

  1. Linda Maria says:

    I am so thankful to God, for this new Carmelite Monastery, and for all their young religious vocations! They are just wonderful– and a true hope, for the Church’s future! It is terrific, that they were able to take over the former Carmelite Monastery of Christ the King, Exiled Priest, in Kensington, due to a generous benefactor! Those poor, elderly nuns, who used to run this monastery, could no longer run it, due to old age and illness, bless them! So now, their monastery has new life, flourishing with new, young Carmelite nuns— and more vocations soon to come!! Wonderful!

  2. Canisius says:

    Hope for the future…..Deos Gratias

  3. St. Christopher says:

    If you wish to see a vibrant, holy, and growing group of Traditionalist religious, please check out the website of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles: http://benedictinesofmary.org/home. And, be sure to purchase their new CD, “Easter at Ephesus”. Ora et labora, indeed. (Not a paid, or any other, solicitation.)

  4. What a beautiful story! It’s refreshing to see “life” in the Church.

  5. Please, dear Sisters, come out of the monastery and pray at the closest Planned Parenthood. You will truly save lives there!

  6. Father Karl says:

    This is the future of the Catholic Church. Christ told Martha:” Mary has chosen the better part.” Yes, it would be difficult to enter a cloistered monastery and devote oneself entirely to God, but if it would save your soul, you would do it. After Vatican II the cry was “Action, action” and contemplative life was put down and ridiculed. But it is the prayers and sacrifices that these nuns make that helps to sanctify Holy Mother Church. Thank God the sisters are attracting vocations, and I hope more Carmels will develop.

    8/47777777777777777777

  7. Catherine says:

    “But it is the prayers and sacrifices that these nuns make that helps to sanctify Holy Mother Church. ”

    Beautifully stated and so true! Thank you Father Karl.

  8. Yes St. Christopher you are correct the good and Traditional sisters of Benedictines of Mary are well, just plain wonderful and very very Traditional. They have had the help of Bishop Finn of Kansas City who is very very friendly to the TLM and has offered it many times, the Left wing media and modernist Catholics have been trying to destroy him because he does not fall in line the Novus Ordo play book, so pray for him and the good sisters he has helped in his diocese. P.S. the sisters CD has done very well!!! All in Latin the language that the Novus Ordonarians said is to hard to learn.

    • St. Christopher says:

      “Janek”: A good number of Latin scholars dispute the difficulty of learning Latin, noting that it was the language of “the street” in Rome.

      As you, and everyone, knows, the Zombie-Liberal crowd does not realy dispute this, they are just opposing anything of the “Medieval” Church. They insist on a “New Church” and argue against anything that is at all traditional/Traditional (small or big).

      Bishop Finn is a great man, and a true lover of the Church. His support of the Benedictines of Mary is heartwarming. The Sisters’ Easter at Ephesus CD is an instant classic. Yes, pray for the Bishop and the Benedictine Sisters: they certainly pray for us.

    • Anonymous says:
  9. Bill Zdanoski, OCDS says:

    Another great and glorious example of how God always provides.

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