Skip to main content

Holladay Journal

Carmelite Monastery celebrates 70th year and return of the Carmelite Fair

Oct 01, 2022 07:28PM ● By Collette Hayes

By Collette Hayes | [email protected]

After a two-year absence due to the pandemic, the Carmelite Fair returned Sept. 18 to the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Monastery located in Holladay. Mother Therese of the Holy Family and Temporary Professed Sister Genevieve greeted a crowd during the event as they presented the recitation of The Angelus Prayer at noon.

Currently, 12 cloistered nuns ages 21 to 95 live among each other speaking only when necessary. The nuns remain separate from the world only leaving the monastery for medical reasons.

According to Mother Therese of the Holy Family, Carmelite Fair donations provide 80% of the monastery income for the year. The nuns do not visit the grocery store. The Sisters live on alms or donations of food and goods and when receiving a donation prepare it for shelf or freezer storage.

“We are so grateful and honored to be in the state of Utah,” said Mother Therese. “This is our home now. We dedicate our lives to pray for all of you. Just know we are a group of cloistered nuns behind a wall in Holladay and are full of love for every single one of you. We promise we will continue to do what we can in our lives to provide support to you through our love and unceasing daily prayers. We thank you for any support that you give to us because it is not us that you are supporting. It is God. You are God’s hands and feet. We together are working to build a better world.”

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the monastery. The Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Monastery was founded on December 8, 1952. A group of Carmelite Sisters left the monastery of Carmel of Saint Teresa in Alhambra, California in order to bring the Carmelite life and Apostolate to Salt Lake City. Now in their 90s, Sister Margaret Mary of the Sacred Heart and Sister Maureen of the Trinity were two of the original foundresses of the monastery, and on a spiritual level, both Sisters continue to focus on a life of prayer and sacrifice.

On Oct. 1, a mass of Thanksgiving will be held at the monastery chapel in celebration of the 70th anniversary.

The day at Carmelite Monastery begins at 5:25 a.m. when the Sisters gather for prayer. In between the hours of prayer, the nuns participate in manual labor and recreation including housework, cooking, gardening and crafts.

“Our vocation is unceasing prayer,” said Mother Therese. “We follow a balanced life including prayer, work and recreation. After the dishes at noontime and suppertime we gather together to do things such as embroidering linens for the fair[LL1] .”

Preparation for the fair is tremendous. The first fair meetings begin in March with over 125 volunteers in attendance.

“The fair volunteers have become so dear to us,” Mother Therese said. “They come from all different areas in the Salt Lake Valley. Our sponsors, volunteers and the news media all help us to sustain our Carmel. Looking a little bit deeper, I’m at peace and full of gratitude and graciously accept the help and donations that come into the monastery in God’s name.”

A Carmelite cafeteria, a live and silent action, handmade goods, including embroidered hand towels and pillowcases made by the nuns, dancers from around the world, giveaways, including a 2022 Kia Sportage donated by Jerry Seiner Dealerships, and games and prizes were all part of the fair this year.

Next year’s fair will be Sept. 17, 2023. For questions about how you can become a volunteer or make a donation to the Carmelite Monastery of Salt Lake email [email protected]