Eleven Discalced Carmelite Sisters of Fairfield, Pennsylvania are establishing a new monastery on a 40-acre, hilltop site in the Diocese of Harrisburg, just eight miles from the historic town of Gettysburg. The nuns were originally part of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in Elysburg, also part of the Harrisburg diocese, but as their community has grown, the 11 sisters, according to the Carmelite custom, separated to form a new community. Both groups had previously separated from a Carmelite community in Valparaiso, Nebraska.
The Carmelite sisters wear a full habit and live and pray in community. They use the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and Divine Office. They live a life of penance, and enjoy few of the benefits or comforts of modern technology. The sisters rise for prayers at 4:30 a.m., fast often, do not eat meat, do not drive or own cars, use candles for light, and lack many appliances, such as a dishwasher. The bulk of the community is young, with most sisters in their 20s and 30s. They rarely leave their cloister, except for such things as medical emergencies. They do not have an active apostolate; as their website indicates, “The primary mission of the Carmelite Order is to pray and offer oblation for the Church and the world.”
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