Submitted by Sister Regina of the
Immaculate Heart, O.C.D.
MOBILE — Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi celebrated Mass on Sunday, Oct. 7 at the Carmelite Monastery in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the monastery.
The plan for a Carmelite Monastery in Alabama began with Fr. Frank Casey, S.S.E., the superior of the Edmundite Fathers. He hoped for a monastery, “where the prayers and sacrifices of the nuns would silently intercede with God for the success of the Edmundites in their difficult work.”
Archbishop Thomas J. Toolen requested nuns from the Carmelite Monastery in Philadelphia, and on Oct. 7, 1943, four nuns arrived in Mobile.
Richard Cardinal Cushing of Boston gave the funds to purchase the Holcombe estate, a farmhouse of six-plus acres of land at 716 Fulton Road (now Dauphin Island Parkway) for the monastery.
The nuns set about living their Carmelite vocation in Mobile until 2010 when they asked Archbishop Rodi to visit.
“… They explained to me at that time they had come to a decision that the monastery had become just too much for the four of them to care for, to care for one another, and at the same time for them to continue the most important thing of all — their life of prayer.
“They made two requests: they asked, “Could there be some assistance in finding them a place to live?” And the other: “If at all possible, could another Carmelite community come to this place to keep it a place of prayer?” Well, fortunately, through the cooperation of the Carmelites, The Little Sisters of the Poor and the Sisters of Mercy, the Carmelites were welcomed at the Convent of Mercy to continue their ministry of prayer, but in a much better environment.”
Archbishop Rodi contacted the Carmelite Monastery in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and asked if they would be willing to send nuns to Mobile.
“To make a long story short, the Carmelite Monastery in Vietnam said, ‘We can send some,’ and what a beautiful blessing” Archbishop Rodi said.
For the next year, renovation of the building was undertaken. It involved many benefactors, contractors and volunteers. Finally, on Feb. 20, 2011, eight nuns arrived from Vietnam.