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Carmelite Monastery in Holladay, hidden from the world, prays for all to live in peace

Posted at 5:40 PM, Sep 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-17 19:40:06-04

HOLLADAY, Utah — On eight acres of land in Holladay sits the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Monastery, a little-known sanctuary for the nuns who live and worship there.

It's where just 11 cloistered Catholic Carmelite nuns fulfill their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

"We are so blessed to be here to offer our lives to pray for the church and all God's people," says Mother Therese, Prioress of the Carmelite Monastery.

The grounds on which the monastery sits is their entire world.

Every day, the sisters wake up at 5:15 a.m. and prepare themselves for prayer, dressed in full habits to emphasize their dedication to the Lord.

Over six hours is dedicated to prayer each day.

As cloistered nuns, they never leave the monastery and do not allow the outside world in.

Mother Superior Therese made an exception to speak with FOX 13, as typically they only speak through iron bars, symbolizing the separation between modern society and the nuns' union with God.

She acknowledges that it's not an easy vocation, but allowed FOX 13 to visit to raise awareness of their mission.

The monastery has been in existence since 1952, when the Bishop of Salt Lake City reached out to the Bishop of Los Angeles,
asking him if any Carmelite nuns could move to Utah to start a monastery here.

Two of the original sisters, now in their 90s, still live at the monastery, with the youngest in their 30s.

All live a highly structured life, with limited electricity and heat, no air conditioning, and conservative amounts of food as a detachment from modern society.

There is no television or radio, and no trips to the mall, a movie, or a concert.

"It's because we would like to just stay at the monastery to offer everything we have to serve God only, and we don't want the world to take any part of our life," explained Mother Superior Therese.

When questioned how it's possible to be so detached from the modern world, she explained there is no other way for them, thanks to the glory of God and God's blessings.

Any information about the outside world comes from emails and letters.

They often receive mail from all over the world, asking for prayers for sick family members or those in crisis.

Seven times a day, when the bell rings, the sisters depart from their work of sewing, cooking, or making communion hosts to pray and meditate, which they say provides them with an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction.

"I don't know why people think we are missing out . . . truly, I don't feel sorry for myself at all, I don't feel sorry for the nuns at all . . . we feel so blessed and like we have everything," said Mother Superior Therese.

But she says a serious problem is that people are losing their faith in God and putting faith in things that are not important.

At the monastery, the nuns may not be known to the outside world, but they are praying for them and believe that God loves and supports everyone.

"We pray that humanity repents and comes back to faith. They don't have to be Catholic," she says.

"As long as they believe they will find peace."

Those wishing to donate to the monastery can find information about how to do so here.