Tag Archives: Latrobe

Golden Jubilee for a Daughter of Carmel

May crowning - Sr Tanya 2On this beautiful Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, it is wonderful to highlight the Golden Jubilee of a daughter of Carmel, Sr. Tanya of the Carmelite Monastery in Latrobe, PA.

Sr. Tanya (born Tatiana) knew from age six that she had a desire for God. Though she frequently went to daily Mass with her mother at a nearby Carmel, she first spent some time with the Maryknoll Sisters before coming to Carmel in 1962. The Carmel in Latrobe was founded from the Carmel in Loretto, PA, in 1961. Sr. Tanya was one of the first two women to enter the new Carmel.

Sr. Tanya is a talented artist who painted the images of the Way of the Cross that are hanging in the the Chapel. She is an avid gardener and has great devotion to Our Blessed Mother and skillfully makes Rosaries to sell in their store.

Her sisters say that her fidelity to God and to the Queen of Carmel is manifest in her generosity and self-giving love.

With a public celebration of the Eucharist in August followed by a reception, the sisters will thank God for His goodness to her and to their community.  Later this year, the Carmelites will begin a year-long celebration preparing for the 500th birthday of St. Teresa of Avila, who reformed the Carmelite Order.

May Sr. Tanya have many more joyous and fruitful years ahead, all to the glory of God!

Photo of community taken by Sr. Tanya. She is at the upper right.
Photo of community taken by Sr. Tanya.

Transformed to Christ by Love

Sr Mary Paul 2-1In 2010, the Institute of Carmelite Studies (ICS) published a book by Sr. Mary Paul Cutri, OCD, called Sounding Solitude. In this 176-page book, Sister Mary Paul draws on the rich heritage of the great Discalced Carmelite founders, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, as well as her own experience in contemplative prayer, to show us how to be transformed to Christ by love.

Sister is a member of the Carmel of the Assumption in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, that was founded in 1961 as a foundation from the Carmel in Loretto, PA. The land for the monastery was purchased because of its proximity to the Benedictine Archabbey of St. Vincent. The monks have served as their chaplains, confessors and spiritual directors from the very beginning.

Sister entered religious life in 1955 as a graduate of Mercyhurst College with a BA degree in Biology and a Medical Technologist’s certificate. She was one of the original sisters who came to Latrobe in 1961. Of her long life as a spouse of Christ, Sister says, “God who called me to Carmel continues to fill my days with love, peace and appreciation for this precious contemplative vocation in the Church.”

p_SSThe twelve chapters of her book describe experiences along the way of solitude’s intimacy, solitude’s savorings, solitude’s sufferings, love as its meaning and the power of transformation that takes place through Christ in us.  She says, “To spend time with the Lord in long periods of solitude and prayer is to begin to learn the ways of God and how we are to respond in the likeness of Christ to the work God is doing in us. In our desire for union with God, ‘God will capture the hearts of people, leaving them so touched by love that they have no desire other than to belong to God by consent, as they belong to God by creation and grace.  We are destined to be transformed in Christ by love.’”

To order the book, click here to reach the ICS website..

“I have received comments, especially from our Secular Carmelites who have read the book, saying that it has helped them in their life of prayer,” said Sister Mary Paul. “All praise to God who both inspires and motivates us in sharing the gifts of grace God gives us.  It is all God’s work of love.”



The Bavarian Benedictines’ Legacy

A-8-liturgical-sAll the monasteries in the US have fascinating histories and none more so than the Benedictine Monastery of St. Emma in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. St. Emma’s roots go back to 1931 when on the feast of St. Walburga they arrived in the United States to serve the monks, seminarians and students of St. Vincent Archabbey.

The first Benedictine monastery in the US was this very St. Vincent Archabbey, founded by Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, OSB, who came from St. Michael Abtei in Bavaria, Germany. The sisters founding abbey, Abtei St. Walburg, in Eichstatt, is also in Bavaria and was founded in 1085!! The Latrobe monks asked for the sister’s help and hence they came, by Divine coincidence it seems, on the feast of St. Walburga.

In 2009, St. Emma monastery voted to become an independent priory and they continue to belong to the “Federation of Bavarian Abbeys of Benedictine Nuns.” The nuns pray together six times a day, beginning with Vigils at 5:25 a.m. They welcome single women between the ages of 16 to 38 for monastic immersion weekends. The next one is scheduled for Thanksgiving Weekend: November 29-December 1, 2013.

My mind always goes on tangents and I wondered: who were these great saints, Emma and Walburga? St. Emma, Queen of Bavaria, was a wife and mother who died in 876. Queen Emma raised her children “in great care in faith and virtue and, in particular, in the fear of the Lord.”

st walburgaSt. Walburga was born in 710 in Essex in England but came to Germany to work as a missionary with her kinsman St. Boniface (c.675-754). In 741, Boniface created the diocese of Eichstätt, from whence would come the Benedictines of St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe. St. Walburga became the abbess of a monastery and after her death, her remains were eventually interred in a small church to which some canonesses were attached.  In 1035, these Eichstätt canonesses were replaced by the foundation of Abtei St. Walburg, the very same monastery that sent the Benedictine nuns to America.

All this makes me realize that what Mother Teresa said is really true: we are not saved in groups, but individually. In this case, the faith was not passed on by groups, but by each nun, abbot, and saint who left their mark and blood (Boniface was martyred) in Bavaria. Isn’t it amazing that these nuns and monks have as their spiritual forebears in faith Sts. Emma, Boniface and Walburga who lived 1300 years ago!

St. Emma, St. Walburga, St. Boniface and of course St. Benedict, pray for us!


Carmel of the Holy Family and Saint Therese

The IRL welcomes the Carmel of the Holy Family and Saint Therese of Georgetown, California, as a new Affiliate Community. There are 12 sisters in the Carmel with one in temporary vows and 2 novices. They joined the Diocese of Sacramento in 1935.

They live the traditional Carmelite life of prayer and penance seeking union with Christ in order to participate in His salvific mission

A second Carmel is also part of the IRL family as a our last Board Meeting: the Carmel of the Assumption in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. They were established in  1961 and have 13 solemnly professed nuns. The land for the monastery was purchased because of its proximity to the Benedictine Archabbey of St. Vincent. The monks have served as chaplains, confessors and spiritual directors to the community from the very beginning.

The Carmel of the Assumption is self-supporting.  The community supplies altar breads to the parishes of the diocese, and supplement their income by rosary making, icon plaques and bee keeping.