Last week I made a retreat at the monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the Holy Name of Jesus in Denmark, Wisconsin. This was not my first time there, but it was the first retreat I’ve made with them. They are a wonderful and joyful group.
Of course, an added bonus for me was that there was a good amount of snow while I was here.
These faithful sisters live a hidden life in the rural farmland outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin. About 20 minutes down the road is the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in the town of Champion — the only approved Marian apparition in the USA. A couple of miles down the road there is a charming wayside chapel, recently built there with the Bishop’s blessing — the Curran Spirituality Center. In the nearby city of De Pere there is the Shrine of St. Joseph. Further afield, a couple of hours toward the southwest is the beautiful Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. A couple of hours to the south is Holy Hill — the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady, Help of Christians. Another fun stop on a “Wisconsin family vacation/pilgrimage” route could include the quirky Dickeyville Grotto in the eponymous small town. I’ve been to all these places and I’ve eaten at several Culver’s restaurants (frozen custard, mmmm) along the way!
The charism of these sisters is expressed on their web site as follows: “Prayer is the Carmelite nuns’ apostolate. Through it they reach out to the world, the Church, the young, the sick and elderly, but most especially, as apostles of the apostles, to priests.” Since being here, I have learned that devotion to St. Joseph is also a big part of their prayer. St. Joseph has provided richly for them and they entrust all their most important intentions to him. The hospitality house for priests is named after him. Here is the nice statue of St. Joseph they have in their convent chapel:
The nuns have beautiful liturgies daily in their convent chapel, including not only a daily conventual Mass but also the various hours of the Liturgy of the Hours – the Divine Office. Their horarium (daily schedule) is posted on this page (scroll down).
Please pray for these sisters, that they continue to receive good vocations and that the young ladies who come to them persevere in their call. If you know of any young women discerning the religious life, you might encourage them to check out Holy Name Carmel.