Building Update!

As we celebrate the feasts of our dear Carmelites, Our Holy Mother St. Teresa of Jesus and St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, we rejoice in the blessings sent our way this past summer, to our Carmels of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph here in the diocese of Harrisburg. After a beautiful and moving Holy Mass and enclosure ceremony on July 25th, nine of our Nuns are happily established at their new home in Fairfield. With a lot of hard work and sacrifices from our friends old and new, our families, caretakers, and our construction team, the move went smoothly despite an almost constant downpour. The unseasonal record-breaking rainfall was a sign to us of all the graces that God has and will be pouring over this new little Carmel.

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There has been significant strides forward with the construction. A successful stone laying workshop, followed by a timber-framing workshop has produced a lovely 20 x 30 woodshed. It is particularly monumental in that it is so constructed entirely from stone excavated from our own property. Presently a second stone structure is being built, slowly but surely. Its stone foundation is impressive: three feet thick with the stone at intervals spanning its entire width. The language of the solidity and permanency as well as the humility of the rough stone speaks to our hearts of our precious faith and reminds us of our role in the Holy Mother the Church, silent and hidden below the surface, committed to fidelity until the end.

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In Elysburg, the observance of the monastic life continues with fervor. Young women keep knocking at the door and the community has welcomed two new postulants since the foundation to Fairfield was made in July. Construction is also underway for the building of a new barn, a gift from a very generous benefactor, as well as an enclosure fence which will include the new barn, St. Joseph’s grotto and the pond, now making these areas accessible to the nuns. How grateful we are to God for His many blessings and graces!




May He reward abundantly all of our friends and benefactors. We shall keep each one of you in our prayers, especially during the Novena to St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, September 25 - October 3, and St. Teresa of Jesus, October 7 to October 15.

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For where two or three gather in My Name...

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July 25, 2018 was a momentous occasion for the diocese of Harrisburg!

Bishop Ronald Gainer celebrated a Solemn High Pontifical Mass in the temporary chapel at the Carmel of Jesus, Mary, & Joseph Fairfield.

Nine Nuns now live there, papally enclosed, and will oversee the building project until its completion in the next several years.

Braving torrential downpours, muddy pathways, and fewer seats than there were attendees, over 200 faithful came to witness this powerful occasion.

Preceded by a Clothing Ceremony, Bishop Gainer then celebrated the High Mass, followed by a meet and greet, and then finally, the Enclosure Ceremony.

Bishop Gainer later spoke to us about the importance of these Nuns in his Diocese, of the Latin Mass, and the pursuit of Holiness.

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Meant to last...

All around the Fairfield/Gettysburg area, there are farmhouses and barns built in the very style the Nuns are striving for in their own monastery.

 

When their journey began several years ago, the Nuns were told over and over again their vision couldn't be achieved. No one builds that way any more! And it's true, our modern building structures aren't meant to last 1000 years. They're meant to go up quickly and cheaply, only to be torn down in a few decades to be replaced with something else.

But the Carmelite charism is timeless. And it isn't replaceable.

Instead, the Nuns's vision for their new monastery is one of timeless beauty, simple functionality, and austere living. Their monastery is designed to last a millennia or more, just as the churches and monasteries of medieval Europe were built. Stone cottages pepper the landscape of Ireland and Scotland; in France, entire villages built in the 16th century are still standing today because of their building methods. And our American forefathers and craftsmen designed their homes and farms in just the same fashion when they arrived centuries ago.

Built by hand, craftsmen erected their structures using only the stone and timber they sourced from their own properties. Cleaning, sanding, chiseling - piece by piece they laid their stone, and log by log, they raised their walls. This is the Carmelite vision: this is what St. Teresa of Avila had in mind when she designed her monasteries. 

And this is precisely what the new monastery will be: Timeless. It will be a monastery our grandchildren and our grandchildren's children will look at and say, "Our granddad built that!"

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