A 5,000 square foot greenhouse next to their monastery will help feed the Carmelite nuns of the Diocese of Wichita and generate income in the future. (Courtesy photo taken Feb. 2011)
Wichita – When the Carmelite nuns moved in November of 2009 from their dilapidated home in Clearwater to their location north of the Spiritual Life Center, Wichita, they weren’t able to move a 5,000 square foot greenhouse.
But in the last few weeks Tony Strunk took down, moved, and reassembled the greenhouse with the help of Robl Construction, who also assisted the nuns with their manufactured home. Simpson and Associates helped Strunk take down the greenhouse, which will be used by the eight nuns to generate income. “We are planning to do the same thing we were doing over there, God permitting,” said Mother Mary of the Angels. “Of course, we’re going to go slow at the beginning. We have to set up, little by little, because of our prayer life. We will not be able to spend so much time, but our goal is to set it up like we had over there (in Clearwater) with fish tanks and vegetables, flowers, and some trees.” Mother Mary said she hopes to have the greenhouse fully set up and running by next year.
The nuns also make granola, candied almonds,embroidered tea towels, palls for the priests, and other items. The items are available at the monastery at 7445 N. Woodlawn. They also have friends who sell the items at churches.
The greenhouse will help them support themselves and encourage donations for their building projects. The nuns are still working on the design of the chapel and do not have an anticipated start date.
Want to request items from or leave items for the nuns?
Calling the nuns at (316) 744-2652 before going to the monastery helps them prepare orders because they do not yet have an entrance with a turn; a special table where items are passed through without being seen. The nuns can set items outside on the porch in a covered container for the time being.
Wichita Diocese Catholic Advance Article (2009)
Carmelites Building New Monastery Near Wichita
By Christopher M. Riggs
The Catholic Advance
Construction of a Carmelite monastery has begun north of Wichita.
Mary DeGraffenreid, a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Wichita, said a basement has been poured for the monastery for the 10 Carmelites who will live on 40 acres near Woodlawn and 77th Street North.
DeGraffenreid, who has been assisting the cloistered nuns since their arrival in the Diocese of Wichita in 2001, said Bishop Michael O. Jackels asked the nuns to relocate from their temporary Clearwater monastery. The Monastery of Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Guadalupe, to a location near the Catholic Spiritual Life Center so that the priests in the Priest Retirement Center would be able to celebrate daily Mass for the nuns. The Clearwater monastery has also been flooded through the years, is in ill-repair, and will likely be demolished.
The contemplative nuns moved to the diocese from Gallup, N.M., at the request of Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber. His successor, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, was head of the diocese when the nuns moved to Kansas.
Tony Strunk will build the monastery and Randy Hazen will build the enclosure wall. Construction is in its first phase, which will allow the nuns to move into a temporary, manufactured double-wide home. Randall Steiner of Wichita is the architect.
DeGraffenreid said the nuns are planning a golf tournament to raise money for the new monastery.
Msgr. Robert Hemberger, vicar general for the diocese, said in a news release that the diocese wishes to help raise awareness and money for the monastery because the “the nuns are not tied to the diocese financially or by assignment. The nuns live a cloistered life, a life they choose in order to offer themselves as form of prayer for others and to be united as much as possible with God.”
The nuns are dedicated to a life of prayer and loving self-sacrifice through obedience and labor. Their superior, Mother Mary of the Angels, said, “We live with an indescribable happiness, make daily sacrifices, and are here for the love of God and for the love of souls. Our mission is to pray for the Holy Church, the priests, and the world, and to be heart of our Church because without the heart, the body cannot live.”
To help support themselves, the nuns have raised vegetables and fruit in a large greenhouse and fish in tanks. Their work provides a modest income for the growing monastery, which now includes a nun from St. Anthony Parish, Wichita, Kansas.
Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber said in a statement that the nuns hardly ask for anything for themselves. “They just depend on Divine Providence. Their presence is a strong witness, it’s a countercultural witness, it’s a religious witness, and beyond that, they’re praying and sacrificing for the church, especially for the diocese they are in.”
Prayer to St. Joseph, The Provider for Carmel
Our Holy Father St. Joseph,
Thank you for the beautiful property you purchased for us
for the well that you provided and we ask that it will have more water,
the Monastery you will build for us,
for the vocations you will bring her,
for the final perseverance and sanctity you will help us reach,
All just as you would have it for the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Infant Jesus. Amen.
Our Holy Mother St. Teresa of Avila speaks about our Holy Father St. Joseph:
“Would that I could persuade all men to be devoted to this glorious Saint, for I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God. I have never known anyone who was truly devoted to him and honored him by particular services who did not advance greatly in virtue: for he helps in a special way those souls who commend themselves to him. It is now very many years since I began asking him for something on his feast, and I have always received it. If the petition was in any way amiss, he rectified it for my greater good… I ask for the love of God that he who does not believe me will make the trial for himself – then he will find out by experience the great good that results from commending oneself to this glorious Patriarch and in being devoted to him…” Autobiography, VI, 11 – 12
“To other Saints Our Lord seems to have given power to succor us in some special necessity – but to this glorious Saint, I know by experience, He has given the power to help us in all. Our Lord would have us understand that as He was subject to St. Joseph on earth – for St. Joseph, bearing the title of father and being His guardian, could command Him – so now In Heaven Our Lord grants all his petitions. I have asked others to recommend themselves to St. Joseph, and they, too, know the same thing by experience…” Autobiography, VI, 9
“There are three things God cannot make greater than He has already made them. The first is the Humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The second is the glory of the Elect (the Saints in heaven). The third is the incomparable Mother of God, of whom it is said that God can make no mother greater than she. One can add a fourth in honor of St. Joseph. God cannot make a greater father than the father of God.” St. Thomas Aquinas
Discalced Carmelite Monastery
7445 N. Woodlawn St.
Valley Center, KS 67147