Carmelite Sisters Of Mary
The community of the Carmelite Sisters of Mary is located on 80 acres in the mountain wilderness of northeastern Washington State, about 35 miles north of the city of Spokane. This area is known as the "Appalachia of the West". Though many of the people are poor, the area is rich in beauty, natural resources, lakes and recreational areas. Our physical setting includes a large main house called "Regina" with a chapel, library, laundry facility, business office, guestrooms, a community kitchen, dining room and living room. Clustered around this larger house and "St. Teresa's Well", are five smaller hermitages: Hallel, St. John of the Cross, St. Joseph, St. Therese, and Elijah's cave. There are many nature trails, and a variety of wildlife,-- birds, deer, elk moose, ermine, etc. but no poisonous snakes or poison ivy! The Sisters have as part of their charism a concern for the earth and its life forms, and received the "2003 Wildlife Farm of the Year" Award.
Our county is one of the most un-churched areas of the U.S., and as such, it is in need of the presence and prayers of Carmelites. There is only one priest in the county, who must travel to five churches to say mass. Due to this there is no daily mass in the county. However, the Carmelite Sisters have the Blessed Sacrament reserved in their hermitages, and come together during the week for communion service and scripture reflection. They attend Sunday and Holy Day liturgies at one or another of the parish churches that are nearby.
Spiritual direction, giving retreats, sharing our Contemplative and mystical tradition and prayer are works proper to Carmelites. The apostolic dimension and meaning of our contemplative life and prayer is for the transformation of the consciousness and lives of all humanity to that of Christ's, so as to make the Kingdom of God—God's Reality—present among all peoples with whom we share the earth.
Canon 603 allows for each hermit to structure her life as the Spirit leads her, and so the daily horarium of each Sister is her individual response to God. Carmelites are required to give two-hours a day to contemplative prayer, an hour to spiritual reading, to attend Eucharist and participate in saying the Divine Office. Work, recreation, community meetings and faith sharing are also part of the life.
The weekly horarium of the community is set by all of the Sisters. Presently it is as follows: Monday- Wednesday there is a gathering for a communion service and reflection on scripture. Also, we have supper, with faith sharing and recreation together on those days. The Sisters earn their own living, and on Thursdays, two of the Sisters go to Spokane for mass and work at the Infirmary of the Sisters of the Holy Names caring for their aged and infirm Sisters. Because the protection of our solitude is important to us, on this day any errand/needs are tended to during that one trip to town. In addition to this work, we feel an obligation to wisely manage our 80 acres. Friday and Saturday are set aside for days of solitude as desired. On Sundays, the Sisters attend mass at a parish and spend the day in prayer, leisure and recreation. We try to live a balance of community and solitude, in our prayer, leisure, study and work. We celebrate Feasts with special liturgies and prayer together. Whenever possible, we ask a priest to come to our chapel to say mass for our Carmelite feasts. We participate monthly in a spiritual direction group for growth and accountability in our prayer and the living out of our Carmelite life. This lifestyle and terrain dictates that for the most part jeans are the most sensible clothes to wear, but we do wear Habits to mass and to official functions.
We enjoy a close relationship to our Bishop, and to our Sisters in the Carmels, especially of Seattle, where we are invited to join them for retreats, feasts and workshops. Also, we receive visits from our friars, as well as our Carmelite Nuns who come from all over the United States for hermit retreats at our Carmelite Desert. We are invited to the meetings of West Coast Carmelites and the Association of East Coast Carmelites, and are active in this new movement of the Spirit for collaboration and friendship among the Carmelite hermits.
See also: Photos