Sunday, February 8, 2015, 12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Our Lady of Grace Carmelite Monastery and Mt. Carmel Hermitage will open their doors for public visitations Sunday, February 8, as part of a day designed to familiarize people with the monastic and cloistered life. The event is part of the Church's global observance of The Year of Consecrated Life, as designated by Pope Francis, which began on November 30, 2014 and will conclude in February 2016.
Catholics and others are invited to attend Mass at the Our Lady of Grace Monastery at 9:30 a.m. and then visit with the cloistered Carmelite sisters. Our Lady of Grace Monastery is located at 6202 County Road 339, southeast of Christoval, in Schleicher County.
Mt. Carmel Hermitage is southwest of Christoval. Visitors should travel south down Highway 277, southwest of Christoval, and then turn west on Allen Rd., proceeding 1.5 miles west before coming to the hermitage's entrance at "St. John's Way" at the crest of a rise.
Following the sisters' Mass at 9:30 a.m., February 8, the public is invited to then travel in their own vehicles to the monastery/hermitage from 1-3:30 p.m.for the hermits' open house.
"The best way to learn about our life is to come talk to the sisters and ask questions," said Sister Mary Grace, superior at the convent. "Most people who come to visit us want to know about our life, and what drew us to Carmel. "For us, it takes prayer to even know our vocations. Pray and be open to God, and hopefully the Year of Consecrated Life will encourage young people, and maybe not so young people, to stand back and consider what God might want of them. That's where they are going to find their peace."
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations is helping promote these "Days with Religious" initiatives and resources to help families learn about the consecrated life of religious men and women. Activities focus on sharing experiences of prayer, service and community life with those living a consecrated life.
"We will give a tour of our Hermitage and talk about our way of life," said Fr. Fabian Rosette, prior of the hermitage. "We will also distribute brochures we made for the Year of Consecrated Life, which explain our way of life to the public. The Year of Consecrated Life can be an opportunity to bring people together and get to know us and what we do here at the Hermitage. People can become more familiar with our way of life: a life of prayer, penance, solitude and separation from the world. We strive to live this spiritual life such that it transforms us and everything around us to be what God wants it to be, and we hope that this special time can be an opportunity for others to experience these spiritual things."
Other events planned in the diocese during the Year of Consecrated Life include a Day of Service, which is set for summer, and a Day of Prayer with Religious, September 13, 2015.
Google either Carmelite order's web site for additional information and travel directions.