Growing Order of Carmelite Monks to Build a Spiritual Oasis in Western Wilderness

Excerpt from the article for the National Catholic Register by Anthony Flott

Powell, Wyo. — Father Daniel Mary of Jesus Crucified is fond of saying that his Carmelite community doesn’t have a vocations shortage. Rather, it has a housing shortage.

That may begin to change when Father Daniel Mary’s Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel celebrate Holy Thursday next year.

On the same day the Carmelite monks commemorate the Last Supper with a breaking of the bread, they hope to break ground on a magnificently designed French Gothic monastery.

It not only will help a community bursting at the seams with vocations, but also will include hermitages, a Carmelite convent and a retreat center.

“This is going to strengthen the whole Church in America and be a spiritual oasis for America,” Father Daniel Mary said. “A spiritual oasis for monks, nuns, priests and laity.”

“Lives are going to be changed by this.”

The monastery will rise on 10,000 acres of creek-fed land — 2,500 purchased and 7,500 leased— nestled on the backside of Carter Mountain in Wyoming’s northwest corner. It sits about 80 miles northwest of the monks’ current home in desert-like Cody, Wyo. The new property, Father Daniel Mary says, “is absolutely exquisite,” featuring pines and aspens, an abundance of wild flowers — and plenty of solitude.

Why so much land?

“We are striving to recover the monastic and agrarian way of life, so much of this land will be used for our cattle, livestock, fields and gardens,” said Father Daniel Mary. “The forested areas will be logged. In keeping with the rich monastic tradition and identity, we have lay brothers and choir monks (priests or seminarians). The lay brothers work the land, both in the fields or forests, as part of their manual labor for the community.”

He added that the 2,500-acre ranch will “marvelously support our beautiful monastic tradition in Carmel in a setting that is solitary and so conducive to prayer.” “It is not unusual for cloistered, monastic communities of men who are geographically enclosed to have large tracts of land, many times far greater than even what we are contemplating here,” he said.

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