Internet Outreach

At a community recreation in the summer of ’96 it was remarked that we should somehow get Email. In the same week a woman came to the monastery asking us to repair a rosary for her parents. In the course of friendly conversation the Email concern was mentioned and she said, “I can do that for you!” As it turned out the woman worked for John Deere Company and was able to bring us two computers that were donated because they were being replaced with newer models. She gave us a six month internet connection. Thus, our work with the web began.


In a few more months, it seemed obvious that we needed a web site to help people get to know more about Eldridge Carmel and Carmelite life in general and to include these visitors in our prayer intentions. As is our custom, before starting any major project, we held a community meeting and asked for suggestions concerning appropriate topics to include on the site. Sr. Mary Teresa suggested prayer. Sr. Mary Anne suggested music, and when we asked about something current or fresh, Sr. Mary Jo suggested news about the Carmel and Current Reflections.


A major concern, however, was how this new technology might impact our life of prayer and how much it might cost. Well just as Our Lady seemed to overshadow the humble beginnings of the project, we kept being made aware of her support as we went along. The Web Site was well received by many new friends, and by some that had known the Sisters in Bettendorf before the Carmel moved to Eldridge. Equipment and money came from unexpected sources. Quietly, the work of publishing to the web continued.


Early on we agreed to some guidelines that we continue to endorse:



    1. We would center our efforts on making quality material available to our readers. An early example of this was in getting Sr. Catherine Sullivan’s permission to publish her translation of The Spirit of Carmel by Paul Marie of the Cross.
    2. We would seek “to give freely to all that which we were so freely given.” There was a deep understanding among us that many of the Carmelite Sisters who went before us had encouraged our vocations and spent hours explaining their way of prayer. They never asked for compensation of any kind.
    3. Our primary preference would be to present the writings of our Sisters concerning their life of prayer.At the time, we endorsed this notion from a sense of justice for women. However, as a result of taking this stance we were able to obtain a grant from Mary’s Pence to buy new equipment.
    4. Aware of the command to “Go tell everyone,” we would make the modern message of gospel living available and understandable to as many people as we could, especially to the young people who are into computers and interested in Carmel .
    5. Knowing that everyone needs and deserves prayers,we try to briefly answer those that Email us after reading the web site material.


Over the years, the work has flourished and taken some interesting paths. For example, visits to our site increased astronomically when Zenit in a News Brief concerning CARMELITE SPIRITUALITY ON INTERNETquoted Sr. Mary Jo as stating that the Sisters' purpose "is to make our life of prayer more accessible to people." Further the Current Reflections were read by a priest down in Argentina. As a result, of his interest, he had some of Sr. Mary Jo’s writings translated into Spanish for the magazine he edited.

In 1999, Journey and the Joy was first published by the community. The Sister’s writing skills were sharpened and also put to use on the Web Site. After Sr. Mary Anne went home to God in 2002, it became obvious that her music would need more space than was available on the community site. Hence was published. Today the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as pictured above the organ in Bettendorf, Iowa, invites people to enter our main web site.   The same Sister who is responsible for the latest power point presentations also makes rosaries. May Our Lady indeed pray for us and continue to guide the work of our hands and hearts.


In 2015, we added a mobile site and MP3 files to our web offerings.


Finally, concerning the internet we find that we get a fair amount of education and ongoing formation for ourselves this way,  and that is often passed on to those with whom we come in contact. Technology keeps changing but in the spirit of Our Holy Mother St. Teresa, we strive to grow in a deeper awareness that: “Nothing is lacking to those that possess God. God alone suffices.”