A MONASTERY BUILT TO LAST
It all started when…
Since moving into the Elysburg monastery (vacated in 2007 by an aging community), the Nuns have experienced a surge in vocations. Here, this new generation has found the perennial ideals of the cloistered Carmelite vocation lived in all its traditional fullness. While this is a blessing, it has also created a challenge. With these new vocations, the Nuns had outgrown their Elysburg monastery. Rooms meant for recreation, meals, and work were fast being turned into living quarters to accommodate new postulants.
Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Harrisburg Diocese gave the Carmelites permission to branch out and found a new community. With his blessing, the Carmel of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph began the design process and in 2012 purchased the land on which to build.
At both Elysburg and the new monastery, the nuns will be able to continually grow, attracting new vocations and providing powerhouses of prayer and sacrifice the world so desperately needs.
MADE BY HAND
Delving into their rich Carmelite history of architecture and tradition, the Nuns are recreating the way monasteries were originally designed: to be settlements, not just a building. These settlements are mini villages, made up of small, auxiliary cottages connected by walkways, courtyards, and gardens. The Chapel stands at its center. On the perimeter are fields and pastures for their crops and livestock.
Following in the footsteps of their Holy Mother, St. Teresa of Avila, the new monastery farmstead is designed on a smaller scale, meant for more of a family-sized religious community. Much like homesteaders of 19th century America, these Nuns are building not just a home, but a self-sustaining community, in which they raise their animals, till their fields, tend their gardens, spin their wool, and ply their needles.
BUILT WITH STONE AND TIMBER
In the style of traditional building methods, each building will be constructed using only authentic materials and craftsmanship. Stone masonry, timber framing, slate, plaster, and reclaimed wood for flooring will be used to recreate the simple and humble style of our American heritage.
Building materials will be sourced as locally as possible. For example, the woodshed will be built with stone from the property; and the utility garage and guest cottages will use stone from an 18th century farmhouse and barn donated by a local family.