Carmelites to break ground for new monastery
Denmark Monastery on hill will mirror Transfiguration
By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor
The Discalced Carmelite Nuns invite you to climb the hill to experience the Transfiguration of Christ. At 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 6, a groundbreaking ceremony will be held for the new Monastery of the Holy Name of Jesus. Bp. Robert Banks will preside at the ceremony, which is open to the public.
Site work on the land, located near Denmark on a hill at the corner of County Trunk BK and Pepper Road, will begin in September. Construction begins in October.
The Carmelite Nuns arrived in Robinsonville in May of 1992 from Grand Rapids, Mich. The Carmelites are contemplative religious who live in the only cloistered community in the Diocese of Green Bay, separated form the outside world. They devote themselves to silence, prayer and simple living. There are currently 10 sisters at the Carmel of the Holy Name of Jesus plus one who entered the community this month.
The Carmelites live a life of perpetual abstinence, eating no meat and only leave the Carmel for medical or business purposes. The sisters are permitted to visit their families through a grille-work.
While the sisters were hoping for a new house of prayer, the timing of the ground breaking is a pleasant surprise, said Mother Mary Elizabeth.
"I never expected it this soon," she said. "I am very excited. For it to come about this soon is miraculous. There is no human reason that it should have. God's providence has taken care of it."
The new monastery will feature a Romanesque design modeled after the classic European monasteries. The exterior will be built in stone as a token of eternity. The design of the new chapel is dedicated to the Gospel of the Transfiguration including three rooftop peaks with crosses symbolizing the three tents Peter said he would build for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. (Mt. 17:1-27). The chapel apse will face East as a symbol of Christ's Resurrection and final coming.
"You need to have the right environment for a life of prayer," said Mother Mary Elizabeth. "Following the Carmelite rule, the chapel will be the heart of the monastery."
The landscape will include public gardens on both sides of the walkway and a cloistered interior courtyard. The location atop a hill is designed to further enhance its beauty and the dedication to the mystery of the Transfiguration.
"The appearance is meant to lift people's hearts," said Mother Mary Elizabeth. "It will be set apart on the hill and reminds us that we are on a journey to God."
Tours of the new monastery will be available before the sisters move from the Robinsonville site. Completion of the building project is scheduled for February of 2002.
The Carmelites welcome requests for prayers and information about their life of prayer. Please write to: Carmelite Monastery of Holy Name of Jesus, 4047 Chapel Drive, New Franken, WI 54229.