Will you help us build a Home for the Lord?
Dear friends in Christ, We are at a crossroads! We need to lay the Chapel foundation, but we currently lack the means to do so. Without the necessary funds, we will be unable to hire our brick contractor. Last year, the Nuns themselves laid the 20,000 bricks for the refectory section to help save money. It took them from July to end of October, working day and night. The Chapel has 360,000 brick to lay. We hope to take this burden off the Nuns, not only so they can continue to live out their life of prayer, but also because—and one of the Sisters admitted this—for every one brick they lay, the masons can lay 20!
This little Chapel is the jewel at the center of our project and is the most important part of the monastery: Our Lord will reside here! While it shares in the simplicity and rusticity of the rest of the project, it is also reminiscent of our European ancestry.
The Chapel will stand as a physical and tangible manifestation of the Faith of the Nuns and our whole community. Romanesque in style and inspired by the chapel in Avila, Spain (St. Teresa’s monastery!), we want this Chapel to be home for not only the Nuns, but for the laity. Here, all of us can partake in the Carmelite charism of prayer and sacrifice. More than anything else, however, our monastery is an oasis for Our Lord, where He can, weary and battered, “lay His head,” as St. Teresa of Avila said.
If we can get the brick laid by November, 2021 then that means our spring plans, funds allowing, will not be delayed for another year. We ask for your support in this endeavor. The Nuns are intensely and sincerely grateful for every gift they receive.
The Crypt — of our new Chapel will serve two main functions. One, it will be a secondary summer chapel for both the faithful and the Nuns. This is necessary because there will be no electricity and therefore no air conditioning. The crypt will naturally stay cool during the hot Pennsylvania summers. In the section where the Nuns attend Mass, it is the plan to build a series of alcoves to serve as a Mausoleum. Each alcove is dedicated to a different saint and will be where the Nuns are buried.
Rood Screen — Once common to both the eastern and western traditions until the Protestant Reformation, the rood screen (iconostasis in the Eastern Rites) were used to signify the mystery of the Transubstantiation and Sacrifice of the Mass. Visually and architecturally it as like a veil that draws people towards something: telling the senses that there is something special behind it. The screen will be made of wrought iron with some gold detailing. Atop it, at the point of the arch above the sanctuary, there will be a Crucifixion scene with Our Lady and St. John.
The Pulpit — Like the Churches of old, we will have a raised pulpit to help with acoustics.
Stained Glass — On the left side of the Chapel, each window will depict a scene from the life of St. Joseph, and on the right side, the life of Our Lady.
Lighting — The Chapel will be lit entirely with lamps and candles, as no electricity will be installed.
The Altar — The Nuns are designing their own altar with The Holy Family as the centerpiece. The Pieta, by Michelangelo, was meant to be on an altar seen from the priest’s perspective (looking up). It was designed so that when the priest raises the chalice he raises it to about the level of Our Lord’s Heart. This is what the Nuns hope to replicate in their own design.
Baptistry (side room) — where the Easter water is blessed, for baptisms, and for reposing the Eucharist during Holy Week.