Heritage of Carmel

The original Carmelites were hermits who settled on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land where St. Elijah the prophet had lived in Old Testament times.  In 1204, they received a rule which expressed their deepest desires:  "to meditate day and night on the law of the Lord and to watch in prayer."

In the 13th Century due to strife and unrest in the Middle East, the hermits of Mount Carmel migrated to Europe and became mendicants.

The nuns became part of the Order in 1452.  A century later, St. Teresa of Jesus initiated her reform which spread throughout the world and became known as the Discalced Carmelite nuns.

In her monasteries Teresa ardently endeavored to form houses of prayer where intimate friendship with Christ would be sought and valued above all else, and where He would be served with fidelity and with a burning love. 




Milwaukee Foundation

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.

In November, 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.

The Milwaukee 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.


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