The Discalced Carmelites of the Monastery of the Little Flower of Jesus have resided in, New York state since 1920. Their founding Prioress, Mother Mary Elias of the Blessed Sacrament, had miraculously escaped execution after the communist takeover of Mexico. The United States Church had offered her and her Sisters a refuge from persecution and "freedom to worship without fear."
But now, after over one hundred fruit-filled years, the peaceful life of these holy women is again threatened. Contrary to the requirements for cloistered monasteries, the Sisters can see – and be seen by – their neighbors on every side. Devout young women and men are gently drawn to lifelong service to the Lord through various vocational pursuits. But the Sisters can no longer ensure the solitude and silence which are essential to form young vocations for the contemplative life.
Thus, Mother Teresa of Jesus, the Prioress, urgently seeks a more suitable surroundings for her Community which would provide the solitude and beauty so necessary for contemplative prayer. All the Sisters are united in their discernment that, for the present well-being and future flourishing of their Community, they must relocate to a different area. After many months of prayerful supplication, the Carmelites have been led by Divine Providence to seek their new home in the Diocese of St. Augustine.
Bishop Pohlmeier, sympathetic to their plight and deeply appreciative of the immense blessings which a cloistered contemplative Monastery would bring to the Diocese, has forwarded a request to the Vatican to formally transfer their Community to this area. Meanwhile Mother Teresa and Mother Miriam (the previous Prioress) have spent concentrated time under the guidance of Catherine and Kyle Hensley reviewing their real estate options and meeting many wonderful people from our Diocese. Both Mothers have encountered strong enthusiasm wherever they have gone and from whomever they have met.
Friends of the Carmelite Nuns of North Florida, Inc.an incorporated 501(c)3 organization, now exists. Its specific goal is to raise some $5 million to acquire a well protected home in a rural-like environment; invest in upgrades to the new monastery to ensure the physical integrity of their holy charism; move Mother Teresa of Jesus and her band of 14 holy women to this area from New York; and then provide ongoing support. Checks can be mailed to Friends of the Carmelite Nuns, P.O. Box 1012. Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32004. The salutation on the check, Friends of the Carmelite Nuns is sufficient.
We pray that these plucky nuns, filled with the Holy Spirit, will shortly, permanently, grace our community with their efficacious, prayerful presence.