A New Monastery

 
 

WHY THE NEW MONASTERY

A beautiful monastery is worthwhile to build as an end in itself. Full of light and peace, it communicates to the senses the inner life of a nun’s union with God, which is full of simplicity and silence. The opacity of its enclosure is a visible sign that something mysteriously valuable is hidden therein. Like anything of value, we know its worth by how closely it is guarded — and how beautiful the shrine in which it is enclosed. The new generation of vocations seeks the beauty of traditional monastic architecture. Should we not build such a window into heaven and a link to God, Who is this earth’s most vital treasure?

The land surrounding the new property is ideal for prayer and contemplation

Ground has been broken and consecrated for a new monastery in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. A quiet spot in the countryside, the location is providentially close to Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and other Catholic shrines. The contours of the land suggest seclusion and privacy while allowing a wide view of the landscape. The nuns will be able to raise farm animals, grow vegetable and flower gardens, and praise God in nature. The simple, functional, beautiful design of the new building is inspired by the monasteries of St. Teresa of Avila. Every corner, every room, every window is meant to bring each nun’s heart, mind and soul closer to God in everything from eating to working to praying.

The existing monastery is overcrowded. Rooms meant for recreation or work are being used as living quarters to accommodate an abundance of vocations. The aging building is becoming too expensive to maintain — and to top it off, the nuns are located directly opposite an active gun range that severely interrupts their contemplative lifestyle. Apart from space, expense and location issues, the current monastery design leaves much to be desired.

 

First Floor Sketch

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PROGRESS REPORT

  • August 2017: The site is cleared, the driveway and chapel parking lot are paved, and drainage systems are installed.
  • June 2016: The Nuns break ground, which is then consecrated by Bishop Ronald Gainer of Harrisburg.
  • Christmas, 2015: A $1,000,000 donation funds an access road, excavation, and water and sanitary facilities.
  • 2012: The Carmelites meet a Catholic widow, who believes her land in Fairfield, PA is meant for a mission.

Aerial footage of the new property (Summer, 2017):