A local newspaper once described our monastery as a refuge, an oasis. We had to laugh. Yes, it is true that God has blessed us with plenty of land in beautiful northern Michigan and abundant wildlife for our delight. Yes, our beautiful chapel attracts the laity from miles around as a sanctuary for silent prayer and reverent liturgy in both English and Latin.

But we know better. Carmel is a desert. God alone is the oasis.

Cloistered religious life can never be an escape from “the real world.” Before entering Carmel, a young woman must be able to embrace ordinary life with its daily trials and difficulties as well as its joys. Only then will she be able to find God in the responsibilities of monastic life, whether she is chanting God’s praises in the Divine Office, or baking altar breads—our means of support—or doing the dishes or some other humble task. For a Carmelite, every human experience should become an experience of God.

Carmel’s written history began in the 12th century when hermits living on Mount Carmel obtained a Rule from the bishop of Jerusalem. This band of ex-Crusaders combined a chivalrous love for Our Lady with the spirit of the prophet Elijah, whose exploits include a mysterious encounter with God heard in a gentle breeze, and a dramatic showdown with false prophets on Mount Carmel. Our Order’s spirit is thus Marian, contemplative, and zealous for God’s glory.

Ct. Teresa of Jesus renewed the Order by founding the first monastery of Discalced (“barefoot”) Carmelites in 1562. She revived the “hermit spirit” by stricter enclosure, solitude and detachment lived in small joy-filled communities, where her nuns would seek friendship with Christ through loving surrender to His will, both in prayer and in daily life.

Courageous women brought the Carmelite Reform to Mexico in the 1600s, and then during the religious persecution of 1913-1927, other heroic nuns brought it to America. Two of these Mexican sisters, and some of the first Americans who joined the exiled community, founded our monastery in Traverse City in 1950. 

 

 
 


We welcome young women age 17 to 35. For more information, please visit our website at www.carmeloftraversecity.org.

 

Or contact us at:

Discalced Carmelite Nuns
Monastery of the Infant Jesus
3501 Silver Lake Road
Traverse City, Michigan 49684-8949
Phone: 231-946-4960

  Our monastery, chapel, and Lake Michigan in the background