“Community life, as set forth in the Rule of Carmel and renewed by Saint Teresa, follows the example of the primitive Church. It requires that the sisters who have been called to form the little “College of Christ” should help one another advance toward sanctity. Their supreme law must be the love which the Master enjoined on his disciples, the very love which he proved in giving his life for us.” (Constitutions 87)
Currently, 17 women between 22 and 87 call the Carmel of St. Joseph home.
Individually and communally our lives are centered on God. Everything in our lives is focused on a life of prayer, centered around the daily celebration of the Eucharist.
Two hours of solitary mental prayer, one in the early morning and the other in late afternoon, further enhance our lives. We are the only Carmel in the United States to have daily exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and each sister has a period of adoration during the day.
The nuns’ primary work is to recite in common all seven “hours” of the Divine Office throughout the day. This prayer of the Church incorporates psalms, readings from Scripture and the Fathers of the Church, hymns, and prayers.
Activities by which the sisters earn their living are painting enrollment cards, printing novenas, and packing and shipping altar breads. Other common duties in the monastery include gardening, beekeeping, sewing, bookkeeping, cooking, and cleaning.
Each day the nuns come together for meals in silence. After dinner at noon and supper at 6:00 P.M. the sisters enjoy a period of community recreation. Most often, this time is spent talking and sharing as a family; at times it includes walking outdoors, working a jigsaw puzzle or playing a game. Because the sisters keep silence during the day, recreations can be lively!
Feast days and profession days call for special times of coming together. Preparations and decorations, festive themes and gifts, special meals and conversation mark the community’s memories of such events as the Prioress’ feast day, Christmas, Easter and other solemn feasts of the Church.
After daily Benediction and Compline (Night Prayer), the Great Silence begins. The sisters go to their cells for solitude and quiet before retiring for the night.