Traverse City Carmelites Chapel Renovation

The Carmelite Nuns of Traverse City, Michigan, will soon have a renovated chapel, one that will be “more beautiful so the mind is lifted up to heaven.” For almost 50 years, the nuns have lived on their 60-acres of property worshiping and praying in a chapel  that “has some very beautiful elements, but we thought it would be difficult if not impossible to give it a more traditional and transcendent look due to its structure and small size.”

Then they were introduced to the work of architect Duncan Stroik whose recent commissions have included the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI, and the  Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA. A professor of architecture at the University of Notre Dame, he authored the book Reconquering Sacred Space and is editor of the professional journal Sacred Architecture.

The Carmeltes small chapel would seem to be small potatoes for a man of his renown but he is excited about the project. “The sisters have a great love of beauty, of the liturgy and of tradition, and want to do something worthy of Christ. The fascinating part of the project is the sisters’ desire that the sanctuary be designed to be beautiful and inspiring from the nave as well as from their cloister chapel.”

Bishop Bernard Hebda of the Diocese of Gaylord is an enthusiastic supporter of the project. “My deepest hope is that these sisters may soon offer their praise and prayers in a setting that reflects the best of Catholic theology and the deep reverence and beauty of their personal faith,” he wrote. “At a moment when Pope Benedict has invited the Church in the English-speaking world to renew its appreciation for the Mass, and as we actively embrace a new Roman Missal which restores some of the richness of our traditions, the timing is perfect for construction of a new sanctuary within the Carmelite monastery chapel.”

For more information about the renovation project, contact

To be WOWed and I mean WOW by Duncan Stroik’s other works, visit his website.

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