St. Teresa was a woman of deep prayer in her time,
so we seek to be 21st century Carmelites and persons
of prayer. Forty years ago Vatican Council II initiated
a renewal that touched every aspect of our lives.
Together we reassessed our customs and lifestyle,
asking: "How are these related to a deep life of
prayer?" We examined the difficulty of balancing
silence and solitude with a strong community life.
We acknowledged that the human and spiritual needs
of our sisters differ according to personality,
and change over time. As a result, our policies
and schedules have a built-in flexibility that encourages
each sister to deepen her presence to God in love.
An ordinary day looks like this:
Morning Praise from Liturgy of the Hours
Eucharist, followed by personal thanksgiving
Breakfast, picked up either before or after Mass,
An hour of private prayer
Work, generally for about two hours
Midday Prayer from Liturgy of the Hours
Pick-up lunch, on your own or with others
Free time for spiritual reading, writing, etc.
Work for about another two hours
Evening Praise from Liturgy of the Hours
An hour of private prayer
Supper, which is our community recreation
Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Readings for the
Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours is
recited privately before retiring.
one day each week is "unstructured", except for
morning Eucharist. This gives each one the freedom
to seek her own rhythm of prayer and work for the
day. Sundays and Feast days are typically times
of greater leisure and rest.
atmosphere of prayer is meant to inspire all the
activity of a Carmelite's life, so much so that
we tend to speak of prayer always in the singular:
our life is one of prayer, not prayers. Prayer becomes
an attitude, a reverent approach to all of life.
Times of deeper solitude and silence include our
yearly community retreat, each sister's two week
private retreat, and monthly hermit days.
In her Way of Perfection Saint Teresa
wrote: "…all must be friends with each other, love
each other, and help each other." She wanted her
sisters to live in small communities where they
would be able to support and companion one another
on the way to union with God. Our daily time of
informal sharing and recreation at the evening meal;
our ways of decision-making that involve all the
members of the community; our interest and concern
for one another's family members; our sessions of
faith-sharing around a chosen theme; these are some
of the ways we have found of building a loving community.
life together also includes on-going education for
the community through current books and media, as
well as invited speakers who expand our theological
and spiritual horizons.
types of work we do to help support ourselves have
changed over the years. Presently, our sisters do
clerical work for the diocese, some Liturgical art
work, spiritual direction and spiritual sharing
with groups that come to the Monastery.
Communities Associated (CCA) is a group within
the larger family of Carmel as it exists today in
the United States of America. CCA was created in
1970 by a number of Discalced Carmelite Monasteries
in order to enable an exchange of ideas and resources,
and to create a deeper contemporary understanding
of Teresian contemplative life among the member
communities. Benefits which we experience from
belonging to CCA are: study projects related
to Carmelite history and Church law; the sharing
of lived experience in Carmel today; personal encounters
made possible by bi-annual meetings open to all
the nuns of the associated monasteries; increased
communication among member monasteries and with
monasteries in other countries.