New Carmelite monastery established in Oakland
02 August 2012
On 24th July 2012, five cloistered Discalced Carmelite nuns arrived in their newest foundation near Moraga in the American state of California. The new foundation is the Carmel of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph of Canyon, California. The nuns are from the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Valparaiso, in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, headed by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz.
The norm, laid down by Saint Teresa of Avila, stipulates that a Discalced Carmelite monastery of enclosed nuns may number no more than 21 women. Her observation was that when this number was exceeded, loss of community occurs. The Valparaiso community had exceeded that number.
The arrival of the sisters is timely. The last remaining cloistered nuns in the Diocese of Oakland had been the Discalced Carmelites at the monastery of Christ the Exiled King in Kensington. The monastery was established in 1948, but as the sisters grew older their experience was described in a 2005 article in the Oakland Catholic Voice: "Recent years have been ‘a phase of communal suffering,’ the nun said, because members of the community are growing older and fewer, and it has become more difficult to carry out work duties and meet the obligations of prayer."
Recently, the elderly members of the Kensington community joined their sisters at the Cristo Rey Monastery in San Francisco. Oakland’s Bishop (San Francisco’s new Archbishop) Salvatore Cordileone recognized the need for a cloistered order in his diocese.
The Nuns were met at the airport by Bishop Cordileone, who accompanied them to their new home. The premises are not yet finished, and they will still be in need of support, as they fulfill their mission as "… women who have discovered the absolute value of the Kingdom of God, and wish to realize this in their monasteries, as a praying sisterhood at the service of the Church."
The Nuns hope to build a full monastery, capable of housing 21 community members. Now the on-site building is capable of housing the five advance members, although it is being subdivided to house 6-7 additional members who will arrive soon. The chapel is up and running. The inaugural Mass in the chapel was celebrated on Wednesday, July 25 at 7:00 a.m. The celebrant was Bishop Cordileone.