Looting of Philly Carmel now imminent: Archdiocese collaborating with Roman forces to shut down monastery

Maike Hickson broke this at Lifesite last night; I’ve pasted the first part below. I have not verified all the details, but I did reach out for Ken Gavin, the archdiocesan communications director, who did not immediately respond. One of the new accusations in the Lifesite piece is naming Auxiliary Bishop Michael Fitzgerald, the Vicar for Religious, as a specific collaborator in the Roman INFIL. Gavin had insisted in emails to me back in April that no one in the archdiocese had anything to do with the situation at the monastery.

Motives? Loot. The property itself is probably not that valuable. It’s relatively small, would cost a bundle to repurpose, and is not in a great neighborhood (not terrible, but not great). But once inside, it’s a treasure. The windows in the chapel are Tiffany, worth easily over $1 million apiece. Countless works of art, many priceless, including a portrait of St. Therese painted by her sister, Celine. Think that’s worth anything? Word has it that during the April inquisition, just after the Valparaiso and Fairfield nuns escaped, the interrogators were busy taking inventory, down to the last doorknob. Literally.

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Mass at the Carmelite Monastery of Philadelphia

(LifeSiteNews) — According to several sources, the Vatican is attempting to shut down the Carmelite monastery in Philadelphia that had been the cradle of devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux in the early 20th century.  

Collaborating with Archdiocese of Philadelphia Auxiliary Michael Fitzgerald, Rome has now discouraged younger traditional nuns who had moved into the monastery from staying to help some of the elderly nuns, with the result that this house of prayer would have to be closed. American Catholics should rally to make it possible that this heart of St. Therese of Lisieux – the “birthplace of devotion to St. Therese” – be preserved as a house of prayer and sacrifice instead of being turned into a museum and retreat center.

The Carmel of St. Joseph and St. Anne, founded five years after St. Therese’s death in 1897, has had a close connection with the “Little Flower” from its beginning. Its website states that one of the founding sisters, Sister Stanislaus of the Blessed Sacrament, was the “the pioneer in establishing devotion to St. Therese in the United States”: 

Her assignment as portress gave her the opportunity to share Therese with many others. Until Sister Stanislaus died in 1911, aged only 31, she corresponded with Mother Agnes of Jesus, Therese’s sister Pauline. The letters from Mother Agnes are posted on this site. As a result of this correspondence, the Carmelite Monastery in Philadelphia became the “depot” for thousands of booklets, pictures, and articles promoting devotion to St. Thérèse [as well as relics].

Until recently, this history has been fairly unknown, but Carmel has now posted on its website numerous historical documents showing the spiritual role of the Discalced Carmelites of Philadelphia in the spreading of devotion to St. Therese. The monastery also has custody of first-class relics of St. Therese and her parents, Saints Zelie and Louis Martin, which are on loan from the Magnificat Foundation. This alone should lead any church leader to do his utmost to protect this monastery and make it flourish.

However, Rome has other plans…


Sister Saint Therese by her sister, Sister Celine

23 thoughts on “Looting of Philly Carmel now imminent: Archdiocese collaborating with Roman forces to shut down monastery”

  1. To the officials with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (and I know you’re reading this): Please get Archbishop Perez – right now – to stand up to Rome and the Association of St. Joseph. The Archdiocese needs this Carmelite Monastery within its boundaries A LOT more than the Carmelites need us. Their prayers over the years may very well have been what’s held the Hand of God back from rightfully chastising this city and it’s increasingly God-less metro area. Yes, the prayers of Carmelites are more powerful than the prayers of many other religious and definitely more powerful than the prayers of the laity.
    Traditional Carmelite orders are growing. They need monasteries. We have one that can accommodate sisters right now. Please, for the love of God, do not allow this Monastery to be suppressed. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away and if this Carmel is taken away, get ready for a very unpleasant future.

  2. These Carmelite Sisters have devoted their vocations to prayer and now the Archdiocese of Philadelphia wants to displace Nuns who would care for elderly Sisters. Shame on them. During High School we passed this Monastery everyday and knew there were Holy women there praying. In later years my husband and I took the opportunity to visit this Monastery when they opened the doors to view the Relics of St. Therese. Philadelphia needs prayers warriors to save itself.

  3. We can’t let tradition stand in the way of the great reset. We’re gonna do communism right this time, ya know.

  4. Mass this morning at the Monastery was Novus Ordo because, I’m sure St. Teresa would have wanted that.

    1. Yes. I was there this morning and what a disappointing surprise that was. I did not assist with the novus ordo – I prayed my Rosary instead in reparation. St. Teresa of Avila, ora pro nobis.

  5. Makes me wonder if all that VII demolition was all really motivated by a desire to sell off property and treasure all along.
    Christ got really angry with the moneymen in the Temple for a reason you know. The same treatment should be shown to the Vatican visitors. Violence is a virtue when justified. Don’t let the cowardly sissies fool you.

  6. Archbishop Perez and the other ecclesiastics failing to support traditional women’s contemplative orders are guilty not only of theft of the material treasures at these monasteries but also of abuse, as thugs, rather than true shepherds of their flocks and guardians of the Catholic Faith. As many of you have noted, the loss of this holy community of praying Brides of Christ will not only create a vacuum into which the devil will enter but the deliberate destruction of these communities will bring down the Wrath of God upon those responsible. Faithful of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, beware. Things are about to get much worse –

  7. Everyone says that the traditional Carmels are filling up with vocations. Why has the Philly Carmel been able to keep vocations for decades and now these nuns leave suddenly?
    How many posting comments have a child or relative or have encouraged a child to enter Carmel or any enclosed monastery?
    I still don’t understand why everyone is blaming the diocese and accusing them of “looting” the monastery.
    How is the Association of St. Joseph responsible.
    I really am just confused.

    1. Susan Maria. If you’ve been following this website and the links provided on this site to the LifeSiteNews source material, then the answers to your questions have already been answered.

    2. I agree. Would someone show some documents? There are a lot of accusations without any proof. I have helped out when a Carmelite monastery was down to three elderly nuns, and it was being closed, and the Nuns went to other Carmels. All the assets belong to the Sisters. Not to the diocese. The assets go to the monasteries where the Sisters go. So if Mother Pia goes to another Carmel, the assets of the Monastery (and that includes all the money from selling the building and the property) will go to the Carmel which welcomes her. The Diocese can’t touch a penny.

      1. The details related here are facts, not accusations. Eyewitnesses accounts of the events in question. If you have eyewitness testimony that disputes what I’ve written, by all means, present it. Otherwise you are engaging in calumny against me.

        1. Mark, There is no Reply button to your reply to me, so I am posting another Comment. I asked you for documents about what is posted on your website, and you accuse me of calumny. Why? You posted documents in the past: you posted Mother Stella Marie’s Update on why the Nuns left, you posted the Association President’s email about going to Philadelphia, and I just checked this morning, and Sr. Gabriela’s letter to Mother Stella Marie is still on your Facebook page. So why are you upset because I ask for documents? You shared them before, keep sharing what you’ve got! Treat us like adults!

      2. The incorporation documents, of course. As I said, I helped out when a Carmelite monastery was closing, and usually a Carmelite monastery is an independent legally incorporated entity. That means that where the assets go is set out in the Statutes of the Corporation. So if the Philadelphia Carmel is a Corporation, then the assets belong to the Corporation and that usually means the Community. and it’s ridiculous to say that the Diocese or the Association is planning to sell it off and get the money. An outside entity can’t walk in and sell of an independent Corporation. You might as well accuse the Humane Society!

  8. JMJ
    I grew up near the Philly Carmel, and would frequent it for Mass and private prayer until I moved out to the Midwest in the early 2000’s, this before the Traditional nuns moved in.
    I can only describe the place back then as “an oven of grace!” Having had the privilege twice of entering the cloister itself, I can only describe the cloister as “an oven of grace” compared to the extern/public section, which itself was an “oven of grace!” I can only imagine how graced it was when the young Traditional nuns joined dear Mother Pia!
    By effectively banishing most of the inhabitants of this holy place from his Archdiocese, Archbishop Perez has put Metro Philadelphia at risk for great Divine punishment! Shame on him!

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