Many people are unaware that East meets West in the Carmelite Order-The Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania is a community of nuns of the Byzantine Catholic Church. The foundation of this monastery was led by Sr. Marija, a professed sister of the Carmel of the Incarnation in Sioux City, Iowa. Sr. Marija's spiritual director at the time of the foundation was Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J. whose cause is before the Holy See.
Here in Ohio, in the city of Burton, in the Eparchy of Parma, there is a newly-formed community of Byzantine Catholic nuns. Here is a description of their community in their own words (from their blog). To read more about this community click on their logo image below.
We are a Byzantine Catholic monastic community of women in the Eparchy of Parma dedicated to a vigilant life of prayer and hospitality according to the traditions of the Christian East. Laying down our lives in imitation of the Bridegroom, we joyfully embrace the monastic virtues of poverty, chastity and obedience. We participate in the dynamic love of the Trinity by sharing a life of prayer, work and recreation at our monastery. Meditating on Scripture, especially the Song of Songs, and immersing ourselves in a life of personal and liturgical prayer, we enter into a spousal relationship with Christ the Bridegroom. Looking to the Theotokos as our model, we open ourselves to the Divine life of the Holy Spirit, bearing forth fruit for the Church and the world. Our monastery provides a spiritual garden and a bridal chamber in which we draw others into this same life-giving relationship with Christ the Bridegroom.
Our Typical Weekday Schedule
6:30 a.m. Matins, First Hour
8:00 a.m. Personal silent prayer/spiritual reading
9:00 a.m. Third Hour
9:15 a.m. Breakfast and meeting
9:45 a.m. Work
12:00 p.m. Sixth Hour, followed by lunch
1:00 p.m. Work
3:00 p.m. Ninth Hour, followed by work
4:00 p.m. Personal free time
5:00 p.m. Vespers
6:00 p.m. Dinner
7:00 p.m. Recreation, studies or work
9:00 p.m. Compline, followed by silence
Our work includes hospitality, gardening, housework, iconography, office work, youth ministry, cooking, baking, caning, etc. We welcome guests who would like to spend a day or more to pray, eat and work with us and to relax on our grounds and in our guest house. Guests are also welcome to stop in just to pray one of our services with us. Please call ahead before making a visit.
To learn more about the Byzantine Catholic Church, please visit:
Let us be grateful, that within the Order of Carmel, "East meets West." Let us pray for church unity, that one day we may be united with our brothers and sisters in the Orthodox Church. So that in the words of John Paul II, "...that the Catholic Church once again may breathe with both lungs."
The Carmelite Order developed from a group of hermits living on Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land. They followed the example of the Prophet Elijah in his search for God. These early hermits were dedicated to Our Lady.
Today, the Order of Carmel is still following in the footsteps of those early hermits who sought to meditate on the law of the Lord day and night.
While the lay person may find it difficult to pray day and night, St. Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians exhorts us to, "pray constantly."
In whatever task we are doing, as Christians, we are called to do everything with love and with God in mind. As Carmelites, we are striving for that purity of heart of which Our Lord spoke about in his Sermon on the Mount..."Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:3-12) A Secular Carmelite promises not only poverty, chastity, and obedience, according to his or her state of life but also promises to live according to the Beatitudes. Carmelite spirituality helps us in our quest for union with God.