During a 1935
visit to the Bettendorf, Iowa, Carmel, Father General William of St. Albert,
OCD, suggested Milwaukee as the site of a foundation. In
November,1935, Mother Paula of the Mother of God requested permission of
Archbishop Samuel A. Stritch to found in Milwaukee. As he had received
an earlier request for a contemplative foundation, Archbishop asked for a
delay. In 1940, Archbishop's successor, the Most Reverend Moses E.
Kiley, approved the petition, inviting the Nuns to Milwaukee.
With help from
the sisters' families, the Bettendorf Carmel began arrangements. A
modest house was purchased at 4802 W. Wells Street and , with the help of
the new community's first superior, Monsignor Albert E. Meyer (cousin of
Sister Joan of the Cross, of the founding sisters), the work began.
1940, following the departure ceremony, Mother Paula and five founding
sisters began the drive to Milwaukee. Mother Paula carried her
favorite statue of the Blessed Virgin on her lap for the entire trip.
That statue still remains in the novitiate.
Upon arriving at
the remodeled Wells Street house, the sisters chanted "The Laudate" and a
new Carmel was born. A few weeks later 11,000 people, including the
mayor of Milwaukee, attended an open-house celebration.
On November 14,
1940, Archbishop Kiley presided at the Pontifical Foundation Mass with
concelebrants Bishop Roman Atkielski and Father Paul Lipscomb, Father
Bernadine, OCD, Prior of St. Florian's Monastery and , in attendance,
Monsignor Albert E. Meyer. The Carmel of the Mother
of God was now formally recognized. Mother Miriam of the Holy Spirit
(Jessica Powers) was the first to enter the Milwaukee Carmel on June 24,
1941. Within a few months two more postulants had joined her.
Carmel made one foundation. On December 6, 1953, four nuns led by
Mother Grace of the Eucharist went to St. Paul (Lake Elmo), Minnesota.
Move to Pewaukee
On November 28,
1958, the nuns moved to their newly-built monastery in Pewaukee, 25
miles west of Milwaukee. Bishop Roman Atkielski presided at the
dedication on December 10, 1958.