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Carmelite Nuns In Elysburg, Pa


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#1 Cherie

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 07:37 PM

This is an article on the monastery - their address is at the end. Please write them if you are interested!!!

(Note that Bishop Rhoades has been recently moved to the diocese of South Bend, IN, so the Harrisburg diocese is waiting for a new bishop)


New set of nuns at home in Elysburg Monastery
BY Rachel Carta (Staff Writerrachel_c@newsitem.com)
Published: August 23, 2009 for "Republicanherald.com"

ELYSBURG - The set of Discalced Carmelite nuns has moved from Nebraska to inhabit the Elysburg Monastery, bringing with them a simple existence and an extreme devotion to prayer.

The monastery previously had been home to a revered group of Carmelite nuns, which moved to Danville in January 2008.

The new nuns held an open house Friday for priests, deacons and religious women. On Saturday, a second open house was held for the public.

On Monday, after the Opening Solemn Mass and Blessing of the Monastery at 10 a.m., the nuns will return to solitude and will no longer be seen by the public.

Only two nuns, Mother Stella Marie of Jesus and Sister Therese of Merciful Love, were available Friday, and both remained "behind the grill," as it's called. They speak to visitors from behind a heavy black metal grill inside one of the "speakrooms."

Mother Stella expressed the nuns' happiness in living in the Elysburg community.

"We are very privileged to be able to come back and open this monastery," she said, noting the close bond the nuns have formed with former Elysburg Carmelites, who are now referred to as the Danville Carmelites.

"It is beautiful here, and we are so welcome," Mother Stella said. "We are so grateful to the surrounding community. All of the sisters are excited to begin our new lives."

At the chapel, an Extraordinary, or Latin Mass, will be celebrated at 7 a.m. Monday through Friday and at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Sisters from several area orders toured the monastery Friday afternoon and were thankful for the Carmelite presence there.

When the former Elysburg Carmelites left, the fate of the monastery was unknown. With the work of the Rev. William Waltersheid, secretary for clergy and consecrated life for the Diocese of Harrisburg, the new group arrived in Elysburg in April. By Monday, 11 nuns will live at the monastery.

Nine of those 11 are in their 20s, creating a "young and vibrant group," said Waltersheid, who grew up in Locust Gap and spent time at the Elysburg monastery as a youth.

"Not only are the sisters a tremendous blessing for the diocese and the local area, but they have already been a blessing (in their former location)," Waltersheid said. "It is a reminder of our call to holiness and the gospel and God's goodness."

The new community is founded from the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Valparaiso, Neb. Members came to the Diocese of Harrisburg because of a constant increase of vocations to their monastery that caused overcrowding. Their total number is 33, and the maximum desired number of nuns in a Carmelite monastery is about 21.

The Valparaiso, Neb., Carmelites join the Danville Carmelites and the Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary in Lancaster as the third contemplative community of nuns in the 15 counties of the Diocese of Harrisburg.

"Bishop Rhoades (of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg) is very grateful to the sisters for being courageous enough to come here. He is counting on their prayers for all the needs of the diocese and the world," Waltersheid said.

Extensive renovations were made to the monastery to create the necessary rooms for the religious lifestyle the Nebraska nuns follow.

The new altar in the chapel was taken from St. Casimir's Church in Mahanoy City, and a the new communion rail was taken from St. Lawrence Church in Harrisburg. These traditional pieces are necessary for the Latin Mass, Waltersheid said.

The Our Lady of Mount Carmel statue, which had been given to Divine Redeemer Church in Mount Carmel, was returned to the chapel.

Though the Elysburg Carmelite nuns were a cloistered group, had been visible to the public. By contrast, the new group lives a strictly cloistered life, setting themselves apart from the world in order to dedicate themselves "to God and his saving plan."

The order states that the separation of the cloister attunes the heart of the Carmelite nun to the Heart of Christ and the needs of people: "Freed from noises and distractions, the Carmelite nun becomes more aware of the struggle of people today to know and love God."

No radio, television, newspaper or Internet is permitted.

Likewise, the black grills, which had been removed in 1969, have been reinstalled in the chapel. During Mass each morning, the new group of nuns sits behind the grills, separated from the public.

In the speakrooms, the sisters meet family and friends through the grills as well.

To receive donations or prayer intentions, a wooden turnstyle device is located just inside the front door. Through it, nuns can receive a message. A nun can also speak through the "turn," but is not visible.

"Some of the most in-touch people are those that are enclosed," Waltersheid said.

During Friday's tour of the monastery, the nuns "cells," or rooms, were open. Each includes a small bed with a straw mattress, a desk and dresser. Carmelite nuns leave all things, family, friends, pastimes, pleasures and attachment behind.

Each of the cells is dedicated to a saint, such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Anne of Bartholemew or Saint Mary Magdalene.

Inside the refrectory, or dining room, are three tables with simple settings. At the center table, where the mother, or prioress, sits, is a skull, a reminder of mortality. The nuns eat in silence.

Inside the recreation room, the nuns take two hours a day to talk, laugh and do light handwork. No games are permitted.

A day for a Carmelite nun begins at 4:30 a.m. The sister rises and begins to pray. Latin Mass is held at 7 a.m. and a light breakfast follows. From 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., the nuns begin a work period. Each sister has a job. The day continues with more prayer, recreation, chanting and simple meals. The nuns do not eat red meat. At 10:30 p.m. the sisters retire for the night.

The Carmelite nuns are in need of donations. Gifts can be sent to Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, 430 Monastery Road, Elysburg, PA 17824.

Edited by CherieMadame, 31 March 2010 - 07:39 PM.


#2 IgnatiusofLoyola

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 10:26 PM

This is an article on the monastery - their address is at the end. Please write them if you are interested!!!

(Note that Bishop Rhoades has been recently moved to the diocese of South Bend, IN, so the Harrisburg diocese is waiting for a new bishop)


New set of nuns at home in Elysburg Monastery
BY Rachel Carta (Staff Writerrachel_c@newsitem.com)
Published: August 23, 2009 for "Republicanherald.com"

ELYSBURG - The set of Discalced Carmelite nuns has moved from Nebraska to inhabit the Elysburg Monastery, bringing with them a simple existence and an extreme devotion to prayer.

The monastery previously had been home to a revered group of Carmelite nuns, which moved to Danville in January 2008.

The new nuns held an open house Friday for priests, deacons and religious women. On Saturday, a second open house was held for the public.

On Monday, after the Opening Solemn Mass and Blessing of the Monastery at 10 a.m., the nuns will return to solitude and will no longer be seen by the public.

Only two nuns, Mother Stella Marie of Jesus and Sister Therese of Merciful Love, were available Friday, and both remained "behind the grill," as it's called. They speak to visitors from behind a heavy black metal grill inside one of the "speakrooms."

Mother Stella expressed the nuns' happiness in living in the Elysburg community.

"We are very privileged to be able to come back and open this monastery," she said, noting the close bond the nuns have formed with former Elysburg Carmelites, who are now referred to as the Danville Carmelites.

"It is beautiful here, and we are so welcome," Mother Stella said. "We are so grateful to the surrounding community. All of the sisters are excited to begin our new lives."

At the chapel, an Extraordinary, or Latin Mass, will be celebrated at 7 a.m. Monday through Friday and at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Sisters from several area orders toured the monastery Friday afternoon and were thankful for the Carmelite presence there.

When the former Elysburg Carmelites left, the fate of the monastery was unknown. With the work of the Rev. William Waltersheid, secretary for clergy and consecrated life for the Diocese of Harrisburg, the new group arrived in Elysburg in April. By Monday, 11 nuns will live at the monastery.

Nine of those 11 are in their 20s, creating a "young and vibrant group," said Waltersheid, who grew up in Locust Gap and spent time at the Elysburg monastery as a youth.

"Not only are the sisters a tremendous blessing for the diocese and the local area, but they have already been a blessing (in their former location)," Waltersheid said. "It is a reminder of our call to holiness and the gospel and God's goodness."

The new community is founded from the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Valparaiso, Neb. Members came to the Diocese of Harrisburg because of a constant increase of vocations to their monastery that caused overcrowding. Their total number is 33, and the maximum desired number of nuns in a Carmelite monastery is about 21.

The Valparaiso, Neb., Carmelites join the Danville Carmelites and the Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary in Lancaster as the third contemplative community of nuns in the 15 counties of the Diocese of Harrisburg.

"Bishop Rhoades (of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg) is very grateful to the sisters for being courageous enough to come here. He is counting on their prayers for all the needs of the diocese and the world," Waltersheid said.

Extensive renovations were made to the monastery to create the necessary rooms for the religious lifestyle the Nebraska nuns follow.

The new altar in the chapel was taken from St. Casimir's Church in Mahanoy City, and a the new communion rail was taken from St. Lawrence Church in Harrisburg. These traditional pieces are necessary for the Latin Mass, Waltersheid said.

The Our Lady of Mount Carmel statue, which had been given to Divine Redeemer Church in Mount Carmel, was returned to the chapel.

Though the Elysburg Carmelite nuns were a cloistered group, had been visible to the public. By contrast, the new group lives a strictly cloistered life, setting themselves apart from the world in order to dedicate themselves "to God and his saving plan."

The order states that the separation of the cloister attunes the heart of the Carmelite nun to the Heart of Christ and the needs of people: "Freed from noises and distractions, the Carmelite nun becomes more aware of the struggle of people today to know and love God."

No radio, television, newspaper or Internet is permitted.

Likewise, the black grills, which had been removed in 1969, have been reinstalled in the chapel. During Mass each morning, the new group of nuns sits behind the grills, separated from the public.

In the speakrooms, the sisters meet family and friends through the grills as well.

To receive donations or prayer intentions, a wooden turnstyle device is located just inside the front door. Through it, nuns can receive a message. A nun can also speak through the "turn," but is not visible.

"Some of the most in-touch people are those that are enclosed," Waltersheid said.

During Friday's tour of the monastery, the nuns "cells," or rooms, were open. Each includes a small bed with a straw mattress, a desk and dresser. Carmelite nuns leave all things, family, friends, pastimes, pleasures and attachment behind.

Each of the cells is dedicated to a saint, such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Anne of Bartholemew or Saint Mary Magdalene.

Inside the refrectory, or dining room, are three tables with simple settings. At the center table, where the mother, or prioress, sits, is a skull, a reminder of mortality. The nuns eat in silence.

Inside the recreation room, the nuns take two hours a day to talk, laugh and do light handwork. No games are permitted.

A day for a Carmelite nun begins at 4:30 a.m. The sister rises and begins to pray. Latin Mass is held at 7 a.m. and a light breakfast follows. From 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., the nuns begin a work period. Each sister has a job. The day continues with more prayer, recreation, chanting and simple meals. The nuns do not eat red meat. At 10:30 p.m. the sisters retire for the night.

The Carmelite nuns are in need of donations. Gifts can be sent to Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, 430 Monastery Road, Elysburg, PA 17824.


What a lovely story--and it came from a secular newspaper!

I am in awe of the Carmelite's ability to live the lifestyle they do. Personally, I could never get by on 6 hours of sleep a night. If I get less than 8 hours, I find myself getting irritable, and I start losing my ability to think clearly (assuming, of course, that I had that ability in the first place. LOL) However, I have read stories of people who are able to function quite well on only a few hours of sleep, and obviously these nuns have that ability.

The Valpariaso, NE community is growing so fast! Apparently they are getting so many new vocations that several of the nuns sent to the new foundation in PA are still in the novitiate. I could tell this from a site with photos of their enclosure ceremony, (with the pictures of the nuns taken from the back to preserve the nuns' privacy), and several of the nuns were still in the white veil.

It sounds like a very rigorous and dedicated life, but it certainly appears that this is what many young nuns are looking for (not to mention the Latin Mass). I wonder how long it will be before they grow so much that they have to establish yet another new foundation!

It doesn't appear that the Elysburg Carmelites have a Web site, but here is a link to a number of photos from their enclosure ceremony (click on the small pictures to make them regular size).

#3 Cherie

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 08:58 AM

Thanks for the pics!

You're right, they don't have a website - and I'm pretty sure they're in line with other Carmelite communities who don't ever show their faces in pictures. :)

So neat! :)

#4 vee8

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 09:16 AM

Sigh :love: I wish I could visit that one or the Valparaiso one.................. permanently.

#5 tinytherese

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 11:14 AM

It's good to know that there's another traditional community out there that isn't schismatic. That can sure be hard to find. :wacko:

#6 TotusTuusMaria

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 02:26 PM

Here are some more pictures of this monastery (inside, taken during the open-house in August): http://img692.images...lysburg073.jpg/

http://www.phatmass....1

#7 Saint Therese

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 05:25 PM

Thanks for posting those pics, they were great!

#8 Freudentaumel

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 09:38 AM

Here is a video about that convent.

#9 JTheresa

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 10:49 PM

:bump:

It's good to know that there's another traditional community out there that isn't schismatic. That can sure be hard to find. :wacko:


Do you know of any that are semi-cloistered? Meaning they participate in apostolates? I have a friend who has really been looking.

oh and btw, Bishop Rhodes is our new bishop now!!! He is so amesome. But I'm sorry to hear that Harrisburg doesn't have a new bishop yet. :(

#10 stlmom

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 06:36 AM

:bump:



Do you know of any that are semi-cloistered? Meaning they participate in apostolates? I have a friend who has really been looking.

oh and btw, Bishop Rhodes is our new bishop now!!! He is so amesome. But I'm sorry to hear that Harrisburg doesn't have a new bishop yet. :(



If your friend is seeking a Carmelite spirituality combined with an apostolate, maybe she could look at the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus in St. Louis. They have apostolates to young children (preschool) and the elderly (nursing home) all on the grounds of their motherhouse. I think a recent thread was posted with the sisters' latest newsletter.

#11 Chiquitunga

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 09:40 PM

On his first official day as the new bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop McFadden visits Carmel! http://newsitem.com/...alling-1.862062 :pray:

#12 Cherie

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 06:43 AM

On his first official day as the new bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop McFadden visits Carmel! http://newsitem.com/...alling-1.862062 :pray:


Thanks so much for posting this. It is a great sign. I was just in Harrisburg over the past few days to visit my family before my husband and I move, and we were talking about the new Bishop and the fact that almost nothing is known about him by the people of the diocese.

I'm so glad to see he stopped to visit the Carmelites in Elysburg first ... how beautiful! :)

#13 Chiquitunga

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 11:36 PM

Thanks so much for posting this. It is a great sign. I was just in Harrisburg over the past few days to visit my family before my husband and I move, and we were talking about the new Bishop and the fact that almost nothing is known about him by the people of the diocese.

I'm so glad to see he stopped to visit the Carmelites in Elysburg first ... how beautiful! :)

You're welcome! Yes, it is a good sign! I heard that on his first day as the Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal George was immediately on the phone with the Poor Clares in Roswell, NM asking them to come back! :pray: (they were originally from Chicago .. which they did .. they made a foundation in 2003 :)))

Another article I just found on Bishop McFadden's first few days in The Catholic Witness (with a picture of him blessing the nuns!) He visited the three contemplative communities in the Diocese that day .. the Carmelites in Elysburg and Danville and the cloistered Dominican Nuns in Lancaster. Very neat! :bishop:

#14 Chiquitunga

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 11:50 PM

Okay, I figured out how to post this here! Isn't this beautiful?! :saint:

Posted Image



#15 vee8

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 06:12 AM

Wow six novices!! No wait seven, as one is obscured by the bishops arms.

Edited by vee8, 05 July 2010 - 06:18 AM.


#16 Cherie

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 06:56 AM

Wow six novices!! No wait seven, as one is obscured by the bishops arms.


Are the ones in the capes (towards the middle of the group) postulants? What a beautiful postulant outfit, if so! :woot:

#17 vee8

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 07:15 AM

Are the ones in the capes (towards the middle of the group) postulants? What a beautiful postulant outfit, if so! :woot:

Good eye! I was just counting white veils and they snuck in two postulants :sweat:

#18 laetitia crucis

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 07:29 AM

Are the ones in the capes (towards the middle of the group) postulants? What a beautiful postulant outfit, if so! :woot:


Wow! Okay, if those indeed are postulants then those are my new favorite postulant outfits -- hands down! :lol: :woot:
  • vee8 gave this props

#19 krissylou

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 08:55 AM

Whoa, I wonder how such an immature community functions.

Errr, that came out wrong. I don't mean "immature" in a bad way. I mean immature as in green. Young.

I know the Carmel that sent out this foundation was bursting at the seams with new vocations. But still. Geez.

When I see pictures of other monasteries showing the sisters who made their foundation there are often some novices but most have at least made their first profession.

Everything I hear says that it takes a significant amount of time to grow into religious life. It must be hard when you don't have many professed sisters to balance out the young ones.

#20 SrBenigna

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 11:14 AM

Whoa, I wonder how such an immature community functions.

Errr, that came out wrong. I don't mean "immature" in a bad way. I mean immature as in green. Young.

I know the Carmel that sent out this foundation was bursting at the seams with new vocations. But still. Geez.

When I see pictures of other monasteries showing the sisters who made their foundation there are often some novices but most have at least made their first profession.

Everything I hear says that it takes a significant amount of time to grow into religious life. It must be hard when you don't have many professed sisters to balance out the young ones.



There are a great many established communities that sent out new foundations and had only a handful of professed sisters. This is nothing new and never impacted them. Not many orders can send out a huge amount of professed sisters - especially Carmels where the limit is only 21 in a community (unless taking a few more in because they were planning a foundation like Valparaiso did in founding Elysburg and even then not all Carmels take in more than 21 before founding another Carmel).




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