A day does not by
when I don’t thank God for the presence of the Carmelite community in our diocese - a true powerhouse of prayer. I thank God for their presence and I thank God for this sign of newness and growth for the Carmelite community.
Bishop Ronald Gainer
The Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is a papally enclosed Discalced Carmelite community in the farmlands of Elysburg, Pennsylvania. In communion with the Roman Catholic Church and approved by their diocesan bishop, the Most Rev. Ronald Gainer of the Harrisburg Diocese, the cloistered Nuns live lives of solitude, prayer and sacrifice. Their monastery is at full capacity — and their numbers continue to grow.
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.
Just like St. Teresa of Avila and St. Thérèse the Little Flower,
the Nuns practice all the traditional and recognizable aspects of Carmelite and monastic life: the full habit, mental prayer, fasting (the Nuns observe a meatless diet), enclosure (walls, grills), austerity, personal and communal pursuit of virtue, and union with God.
AT A GLANCE
- Fully in communion with the Roman Catholic Church and under the approval of the bishop, the Most Reverend Ronald Gainer, of the Harrisburg, PA diocese
- Primarily use the Extraordinary Form of the Holy Mass and the Divine Office and wear the full, traditional Carmelite habit
- Observe the Rule and the Constitution just as they were written in the 1200’s and 1500’s, respectively, and use the original Carmelite breviaries of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila
- Originate from the thriving Carmel in Valparaiso, NE
- Undertake to lead an austere and laborious life, which reduces their needs to the essentials
- Trust in Divine Providence for their sustenance, relying entirely on alms and in-kind donations (no funding from the diocese is received)
- Choose to live a simple, retired lifestyle largely free of modern conveniences, comforts, and technology
- Carry out their monastic life in the context of the farmstead milieu