The Moving of the Carmel of Saint Joseph in Prague
we are addressing you with a great plea for financial support of moving our monastery, the Carmel of Saint Joseph in Prague.
The community of discalced Carmelite nuns started in Prague in the seventeenth century. The first monastery was built at Lesser Town in Prague. A part of the monastery was a large garden. In 1782 the community of sisters was forced to leave the convent and go to exile. When the sisters could finally come back to Prague ten years later, their house had been taken. As a compensation for that, they were given a monastery that originally used to belong to male monastic order of Barnabites at Hradčany square (in Czech Hradčanské náměstí).
The house was not primarily adjusted for the carmelite way of life but it was provided as a provisory solution for their situation. During the Communist era (1950–1991) the sisters were forced to leave the monastery and the building was adapted for use as a hotel. The house was returned to the community in the first wave of church restitutions in 1991.
Even though the location in the centre of Prague has many unquestionable advantages, rather soon we became aware of the problems connected with staying at this place. The old historical building is a part of world cultural heritage. That is the reason why the administrative and financial requirements for the maintenance of the building are not low and often they are unbearable. There is an increasing amount of city noise coming from the Hradčany square and the streets of Lesser Town. The main problem we experience is a small garden which makes life in papal cloister physically and psychically very difficult.
For all these reasons, after long discernment, we came to a decision in 2005 that we should try to find a new place which would be more suitable for our community. A place that would be suited for our life in papal cloister and its requirements.
After a very long period of searching for a new ground that would suit our needs and at the same time fulfil some criteria, at the beginning of 2018 we decided to buy an old homestead in the village of Drasty – east of Prague. In 2015 this place was acquired by the Vyšehrad Chapter of Canons in the second wave of church restitutions. The homestead was returned to the Chapter 70 years after the communist coup d’état currently being in highly dilapidated state.
This farmstead fulfils the needs for location, area and silence, which are necessary for our contemplative life. At the same time, this place is the proximity of Prague, a part of which we wished to stay.
The search for a buyer of our monastery was very hard and lengthy, too. In our community, we preferred a non-commercial sale to a commercial use of the monastery. We had known that we would have been able to receive much more money by selling it for commercial use. We felt bound to the remembrance of our sisters, who sanctified the house and church with their prayers and sacrifices over 180 years of living there. Finally, we can announce with gratitude that the monastery and church are going to continue serving Carmel. Our brothers, the discalced Carmelite Friars, are going to live and work here. They managed to find an investor to buy our cloister.
Apart from the convent quadrature, there should also be a new chapel consecrated to Saint Teresa of Avila as a part of the new grounds in Drasty. Other parts of the plot should be an apartment building (for the current tenants) and a house for visitors with an adjacent forest park. Our effort is to reconstruct the original, but now devastated grounds, so that it would become a new spiritual centre of the northern outskirts of Prague and the local people, as well as those who come to stay with us, could find it a place for spiritual rest.
The whole construction of the monastery, church and the adjacent buildings is planned in several stages. In the first stage (2018–2019) the apartment building shall be renovated and the future house for visitors shall be built, which should serve as a provisional accommodation for sisters until the construction of the monastery is finished. At the end of 2019 the community of sisters should move to Drasty. In 2019 the actual construction of the new monastery and church is going to start. The aim is to have most of the construction finished in 2021.
As the prices of construction works and materials have been rising in recent years and because we decided to sell our monastery to our brothers for non-commercial use, we lack sufficient amount of money to build the whole site. That is the reason why we dare to ask for your financial support.
We will inform you about our movement and building progress in the following years.
Thank you for your favour. We pray every day for our benefactors and every month, the Holy Mass is celebrated for them.
For the Carmel of St. Joseph
Sr. Theresa Margaret of the Hearts of Jesus and Maria,
The number of our bank account is:
IBAN: CZ22 0100 0001 1569 5763 0217
IBAN: CZ30 0100 0001 1569 5750 0287