Support the Carmelite Nuns of the Discalced Carmelite Monastery
We Love Our Carmelite Nuns!
In 1992 Mother Celine and Mother Anne Christine of the Carmelite Monastery of the Infant Jesus of Prague and St. Joseph, both of whom loved the Tridentine Mass, offered to have the Mass at their Chapel each Sunday. Both Mothers strongly believed the Latin Mass should be available to those who desired it. And since no other churches or chapels were available to the Latin Mass Community in Dallas on Sunday mornings, the Carmel gladly opened its doors. This short-term plan of having Mass at the Carmel turned into an 18-year relationship, founded on the generosity of these Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Dallas.
The Mater Dei Latin Mass community will forever be grateful to the Carmelites for their kindness and love. We also continue to support “Our Carmelites” and join them in their life of prayer and devotion.
The nuns depend on the support of benefactors to continue their quiet life of contemplation, and the sisters keep us all and our intentions in their prayers. To contribute to the Discalced Carmelite Monastery, leave a donation at Mater Dei in the donation box in the wall facing the Infant Jesus of Prague statue in the back of the church.
In addition, Mater Dei coordinates food donations for the Sisters throughout the liturgical year. Watch the website and bulletins for opportunities to donate food to the Convent.
Confraternity of the Holy Face (a Non-Parish Based Organization)
Confraternity of the Holy Face meetings and Benediction are held at 3:30 P.M. every First Sunday at the Carmelite Monastery. The Carmelite nuns invite all who wish to attend.
A Brief History of the Discalced Carmelite Monastery of the Infant Jesus of Prague and St. Joseph
The Beginnings of the Carmel of the Infant Jesus of Prague and St. Joseph
The initial Carmel was started in Tulansingo, Mexico on November 4, 1907. Initially it was called the Carmel of the Infant Jesus of Prague. There they worked and prayed through the joys and sorrows of life for years until the persecutions under President Calles began in the year 1924. Under President Calles they were forced to leave the monastery several times to escape the wrath of Calles’ hatred for the Catholic Church.
Finally on March 13, 1928, the eight Sisters fled Mexico and arrived in Dallas where they lived in an old dirt floor house on Wichita Street. After one year they moved to an old, almost condemned, abandoned orphanage on Page Street. They stayed there until 1942 when they found housing at a mansion on Turtle Creek. Soon the area was too populated around them and they were able to break ground on the new monastery on March 19, 1952, the feast of St. Joseph.
Bishop Gorman was appointed coadjutor bishop in 1952 and one of the first things he did was to visit the Carmelites. Since the monastery was already started he said the building of the monastery could go on. But he did tell the Nuns that had he been here he would have never permitted it to even be started due to the lack of finances. Also seeing the improbability of the Nuns ever getting it paid off with their sewing embroidery, etc., the new bishop said he would see what he could do.
The Move to the Oak Cliff Convent
With the Korean War going on in 1952 they soon ran out of and had little hope in obtaining steel to complete the building of the monastery on Flowers Avenue. Virginia Dellitt, a friend and benefactress of the Carmel was the secretary to Mr. Wiliford who was Mr. H.L. Hunt’s right hand man. In 1952 Mr. Wiliford went to the refrigerator for a drink and unfortunately drank toxic film developing solution. The Sisters were called and immediately began praying for him. He survived the ordeal. Mr. Wiliford called Senator Lyndon B. Johnson asking for the steel to complete the building. The Sisters soon received a letter from President Harry Truman telling them he would make sure they obtained the steel they needed for the completion of the monastery.
During this time period Mrs. Saner’s Jewish lawyer came to the monastery and asked to read some books on Carmel and their way of life. Mrs. Saner was one of the first benefactors of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Dallas. Soon Bishop Gorman and his committee of prominent laymen held a meeting to decide if the diocese could have a fund raiser for the Carmel. While the meeting was taking place the Carmelites were praying and begging St. Joseph to intercede on their behalf to obtain funding. Mrs. Saner, who lived to be 101 years old, sent her Jewish lawyer to the meeting of the Bishop and his committee. After the unanimous vote to DECLINE any help with fund raising, this lawyer asked the bishop if he could say a few words. He spoke so beautifully of Carmel and the benefit of prayer while each man hung his head low through the speech. Then the Bishop stood up and said, “Gentlemen, would you like to reconsider and take another vote?” Then there was a unanimous vote to ALLOW the diocese to take on a fund raiser which successfully built the Carmelite Monastery with the steel being delivered as promised. Each church within what was then one large diocese of Dallas-Ft. Worth contributed something to the building of the Monastery.
The name of the Carmel was changed to the Carmel of the Infant Jesus of Prague and St. Joseph in 1954 in honor of St. Joseph. St. Joseph had truly interceded for this Carmel many times. The Sisters moved into their current building on December 20, 1952. The Carmelite Nuns sent about five nuns per the Bishop’s orders to start a foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1945. Then the Santa Fe Carmel started another foundation in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1960. The last of the original Dallas nuns from Mexico to die was Sister Veronica who died in 1982.
Preserving the Carmelite way of life
In 1994 the Sisters realized the site of their Carmel was again being inundated with people buying land around them and encroaching on their peaceful life of prayer and sacrifice. By the grace of God in 1999-2000, the land around them to the south was purchased for a golf course. The Carmelites helped those purchasing the land for the golf course with their zoning and water issues. The Carmelite Monastery is located on Hole 16 of the Dallas National Golf Club. Many of the golfers have expressed the joy the ringing of the monastery bells bring to them while they golf. Since the Carmelites had helped the National Golf Club the owner of the club repeatedly told the Sisters to let them know if there was anything at all they could do for the Carmel. In recent years when the Sister’s organ was deemed irreparable the Nuns, while speaking with the golf course owner, suggested they might place a box at the club for donations to someday replace the organ. Several men that were members of the Golf Club told the owner to call the Sisters and let them know they would be getting a new organ soon. The Sisters are now enjoying the music this organ is providing.
In 2001, somebody tried to purchase the five acres of land in front of the Carmel and planned to build many apartment buildings at that site. At the same time, Fr. Eades, a long time friend of the Carmel had died. He left his home to the Sisters which they sold for the EXACT amount of money needed to purchase the land in front of the monastery. The land is now a prayer garden with various statues and the Stations of the Cross open to all who care to spend some time surrounded by the beauty of this peacefully landscaped five acres.
There are very few Carmelite monasteries that live under the Traditional Constitution of St. Teresa of Avila but the Carmel in Dallas has always practiced those rules. The Sisters have weathered many storms and live solely on donations of others which allow them to pray and sacrifice for Holy Mother Church and all of its members.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us!