Tag Archives: Salt Lake City

Rocky Mountain Carmelites

Monastery with Mt. Olympus in the background
Monastery with Mt. Olympus in the background

There is a nice write-up in a local Catholic newspaper on the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Salt Lake City, Utah. In the article, they talk to Mother Margaret Marie Miller who in October was named the new Mother Superior. Mother was one of the five founders who came from Alhambra, California, in 1952 to found a Carmelite monastery in the then-sparsely populated Catholic diocese.

“To be a Carmelite is a real vocation,” said Mother Margaret Marie. “The Lord gives it [the vocation] to you, but you have to be open and you have to be open to whatever he wants from you.”

Mother was inspired by St. Therese of Lisieux and like her wanted to save souls. She considered becoming a missionary but concluded, like St. Therese, that in the cloister she could reach everybody. “That was the thing that struck me. I didn’t even know what the life was going to be like, I just knew that I was going to pray for the whole world. You pray for the whole mystical body and that is what sounded really great.”

ocd utahI am reminded of a priest whose father wanted him to become a doctor. He said, “Dad, as a doctor, my patients are going to die. As a priest, I can lead them to eternal life.” Carmelites are praying people unto eternal life.

She has some practical advice on prayer. “Prayer is very simple; it’s not complicated. Prayer is a loving exchange with someone that loves you. God is all-powerful; His will is Him, so it’s pretty simple: Open your mind and He is with you all the time. It doesn’t have to be complicated; it’s simple.”

You can support the eleven Carmelites in Utah by purchasing their candy and holy cards and the like. You can also get a first-hand glimpse into their lives by watching their very appealing YouTube video.

A Carmel in the Desert

I once went out of my way to go to Mount Carmel, Utah, thinking that a Carmelite Monastery might be nearby, only to discover that it hosted a three way stop sign and a motel. That was about it. It was beautiful country though.

As it turns out, there is a Carmel in Utah that happens to be in Salt Lake City. This IRL Affiliate Community recently hosted a Fair which provides them with their main source of income for the year. The sisters also make altar breads, carmels, peanut brittle, fudge, toffee, note cards and Carmelite dolls. There are 11 nuns living at the Carmelite Monastery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary which was founded in 1952 as a foundation from the monastery in Alhambra, California. The purpose was to establish a Catholic presence in a state where Catholics were a distinct minority.

The reason for the Carmelite life, its prayer and austerity, its silence and enclosure, is to allow the Carmelite Sister to devote her entire energy to the worship, the contemplation, and love of God.  A Carmelite Sister is dedicated to pray for the needs of the Church, the Pope, Bishop, Priests, religious, laity, and especially for the diocese in which the Carmel is located. She prays for the return of lapsed Catholics to the spirit and practice of the Faith, for the conversion and salvation of all peoples, and recommends to God their needs in all circumstances of life.


God gives Himself wholly to the soul

which gives itself wholly to Him.

(St. Teresa of Jesus)