About the Hermits


The Hermits of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel were founded in 1987 as an eremitical Carmelite Shield community of Carmelites within the ancient Order of Carmel. We lead a semi-eremitical, semi-communal form of life, based upon the Carmelite Rule and the spiritual teaching of the saints of Carmel.

By means of prayer and silence, stillness and solitude, we seek a participation in the life of the indwelling Holy Trinity. Gathering the faculties of the soul to employ them in the unceasing remembrance of God and the work of love, we attempt to fulfill the admonition of Sacred Scripture to pray always (Lk. 18:1 and 1 Thes. 5:17).

Our Lady of Mount Carmel The Blessed Virgin Mary is the principal patroness of the Order of Carmel and of our monastic community. The goal of our life is to be pure of heart, as she, the Immaculate Virgin, is pure of heart, in order that our life may be given over completely to the service and worship of Christ, her Son. The maternal tenderness and transfigured beauty of the Mother of God compel us to place ourselves beneath her protection.

As far as possible, we support ourselves by the labor of our hands and minds. We lead a simple life; our treasures are spiritual not material, yet our life is wholesome, nourishing body, mind, and spirit. Monastery Cloister

We are mindful of the living reality of the Body of Christ which is the Communion of Saints. We desire to strengthen this Communion and hasten the Kingdom of God by acting as a hidden leaven in the Church (Mt. 13:33). Although hidden from the world, we are at the same time silent witnesses and living signs of the future glory which was once revealed in the Resurrection of Christ and is to be fully revealed at His return. For the grace of God which brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this world, while we await our blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Tit. 2:1 1-13).

Saint John of the Cross

Strive to preserve your heart in peace and let no event of this world disturb it. Reflect that all must come to an end.   + Keep spiritually tranquil in a loving attentiveness to God and when it is necessary to speak, let it be with the same calm and peace. + Let Christ crucified be enough for you, and with Him suffer and rest.

+ St. John of the Cross

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Monastery Cloister

Aspirants to our life must be between the ages of 20 and 40. After initial correspondence, a visit to the hermitage is arranged. A simple application process precedes postulancy, which begins on the day of entrance and lasts for six months to one year. At the end of this period, the postulant receives the Carmelite habit and a new name. He then begins a two year novitiate. Upon successful completion of this program of formation, the novice makes vows of obedience, chastity and poverty, first for three years, and then for life.

Our Community is composed both of priests and brothers. We do not engage in priestly ministry outside of our monastery with the exception that we offer assistance to the Carmelite Nuns by way of retreats, conferences and spiritual direction.

All of us who wear this sacred habit of Carmel are called to prayer and contemplation, because that was the first principle of our Order and because we are descended from the line of those Holy Fathers of ours from Mount Carmel who sought in such great solitude this treasure, this precious pearl of which we speak.

Brother reading

+ St. Teresa of Jesus

Our life is composed of prayer and study, manual and intellectual labor. Both liturgical and personal prayer are important to us. Most important of all is that our prayer spring from a pure heart and lead us back into the heart, the dwelling place of the Holy Trinity.

Carmelite Monastery The study of sacred things is a source of nourishment for the spirit. Particular emphasis is given to Carmelite and monastic spirituality and to the liturgy. We occasionally author books and articles in these and related fields. Manual labor provides an important balance to the work of the mind and helps to sustain the hermitage. We have an extensive garden, carpentry and leather shops, as well as a studio of sacred art. The studio makes available reproductions of the original iconographic art created by us for use in worship in our private monastery chapel. Friends of the monastery fulfill many of the business requirements of the studio, leaving us free to pursue our first vocation,which is prayer.

Monastery Hermitages Each member of our community spends part of his day in the solitude of his hermitage. We come together as a community for the liturgy, meals and an hour of recreation during which the silence is lifted and we enjoy the company and conversation of one another. A greater degree of solitude is permitted to experienced members of the community.

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Tabernacle in the Chapel The glorification of God in the liturgy is of great importance to us, for the liturgy is the source and summit of the spiritual life. In the liturgy, the mysteries of Christ’s Death, Resurrection and Ascension into heaven are renewed and made present. The liturgy is, in fact, a foretaste of the celestial worship of the heavenly Jerusalem.

Thurible The Order of Carmel once possessed its own liturgical Rite, called the Rite of the Holy Sepulchre. Similar to the Roman Rite in many respects, it contained a number of its own proper feasts, hymns, prayers and ceremonies. This Rite was in use among Latin Christians of the Holy Land during the Middle Ages, including our Carmelite forefathers who dwelt on Mount Carmel. They brought the Rite of the Holy Sepulchre back to Western Europe when they were forced to leave Mount Carmel. It became their liturgical Rite and remained in use throughout the Order until our present century.

For the past twenty years we have been studying the Carmelite Rite. With permission from our Father General, we are able to use some elements of the Rite while we await fuller approbation. Divine Liturgy We have been researching the history of the Rite: its prayers, hymns and ceremonies, and translating liturgical texts into English. We foresee that certain elements of the Rite would need to be adapted in order to ensure that it Hand bell will nourish the spiritual life of those who use it. At the same time we wish to preserve the riches of the Rite.

Our liturgy is sung very simply on ferial days (weekdays). On Sundays and feast days it is celebrated more solemnly with the use of Gregorian Chant. Conventual Mass is celebrated daily and all the hours of the Divine Office are prayed by the community. The major hours are celebrated communally, while the other hours are offered by each hermit in the solitude of his hermitage.

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Our monastery is located in a rural setting, northeast of St. Paul. The monastery is 45 minutes by car from the St. Paul/Minneapolis International Airport, and 35 minutes by car from the Amtrac station. 

For further information, please write or email:

Carmelite Shield Carmelite Hermitage
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8249 de Montreville Trail
Lake Elmo, MN 55042-9545
Monastery Cloister