Carmel Of The Holy Trinity
Ed. Note: This Carmelite Convent opened in the USA in November of 1985. The story here gives one an idea of the life they live, including their daily schedule.
Originated From Our Motherhouse in Quiévrain, Belgium
Our Mother Foundresses of the Carmel of Quiévrain came to Quiévrain, Belgium, from the Parkes Carmel in Australia, which descended from the Carmel of Angouleme, France, founded in 1654. The religious were expelled from the Carmel of Angouleme in 1901 during the religious persecution and went to Enghien, Belgium. They were established in Tourcoing (in northern France) in 1925 and transferred to Australia in 1949, where the Carmel celebrated its third centenary in 1954.
The Carmel of Angouleme had been founded by the Carmel of Limoges, inaugurated in 1618 by the Carmel of Toulouse. The latter was founded in 1616 by the Carmel of Bordeaux, which was the seventh Carmel founded in 1610 by one of the Spanish Mothers who came to Paris in 1604. That is to say, the Carmel of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, is in direct line of descent from the Carmels founded by the great Reformatrix of Avila of whom the last foundation had been made at Burgos in 1582, the very year of her death.
How did the foundation of Our Motherhouse in Quiévrain come about?
Our Mother Foundresses knew from His Excellency Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre that there were many vocations falling away because they could not find any Carmel where the Tridentine Mass was celebrated. Having solicited the permission of their Prioress in Australia for the founding of a traditional Carmel, they were heartily supported, receiving all powers from her and the assurance of her help.
Our Mothers could only see the blessing of the Lord at each step of the foundation in Quiévrain, especially by the way they were able to start in August, 1978, in spite of the many reparations which had to be made in the monastery abandoned for ten years by the Poor Clares—also in the number of applicants and in the fervor and joy of the young novices. After eight years time, there have been four other traditional Carmels founded from Our Motherhouse: The Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Ruffec, France; the Carmel of St Joseph in Brilon Wald, Germany; the Carmel of the Holy Trinity in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, the Carmel of the Blessed Sacrament in Le Puy, France. The total number of nuns has reached more than 80 at this time.
The Tridentine Mass is assured daily by a priest of the Society of St Pius X. We are keeping the strict observance as much as health at this time can support it—with enclosure and grates, Rules and Constitutions as they were before the Council. This, we can see, is the most appealing to the young ones, giving them a feeling of security and faithfulness.
Dispositions for a Vocation
One who is thinking of entering the Carmel should have in mind that this call is coming from God; we cannot give the vocation to ourselves. When praying perseveringly, we can believe that God has many ways to make us understand what His plans are for our life. Like Samuel, we have to say: "Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth." This is the first disposition of the soul.
The second disposition is in ourselves. God has prepared us for answering His call. This is in the attraction to intimate friendship with God, to a total gift of self to Him in order to fulfill our duty towards Him as our Creator. Thus, there is an attraction to silence and solitude with Him alone, in spite of the mortification and sacrifice of our nature which is constantly attracted to rely on itself.
Also, Our Holy Mother Teresa of Avila insisted on good judgment which leads to sound humility and happy dispositions. The Rule assures good equilibrium. The curriculum of the day being wisely established between prayer and work, the mind will be fit and well-prepared for staying in the presence of God, which is the leitmotif of Our Father Saint Elias and the particular object of the Carmel—"praying day and night"...
The schedule is as follows:
5:45 a.m. Awakening.
6:00 Lauds, followed by one hour of mental prayer.
7:15 Prime. (Grand Silence ends at the end of Prime). Terce.
8:00 The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, thanksgiving, breakfast.
9:45-11:45 Work time.
12:00 p.m. The Angelus, dinner, and one hour of recreation.
2:00-2:30 Spiritual Reading.
2:30-4:45 Work time.
4:45 Vespers, followed by one hour of mental prayer.
6:00 Collation, followed by one hour of recreation.
7:30 Compline. (Grand Silence begins at the end of Compline).
8:30 Matins, followed by retirement.
During work time, each one has her duty to fulfill: cooking, laundry, sacristy, sewing and embroidery of liturgical vestments, sewing of Habits, knitting, crocheting, gardening, cleaning, etc.
The postulancy lasts six months and we can add another six months, if there is any need of it. The Novitiate lasts two years. After these two canonical years of Novitiate, the novice makes her temporary profession of three years, and after these three years, her perpetual and solemn profession.
Visits and Correspondence
The Sisters can receive visits every month from their family and friends. They can see their parents through the grate without any veil, and this for half an hour if the visitors are coming every month. If not, we do accordingly. Correspondence should be discreet in order that the world would not enter into the cloister. The Nun can write to her parents every month when they do not come to visit her.
Age: 18 to 30 years.
of The Holy Trinity
R.D. 2, Box 435 Phoenixville, PA 19460