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Praised be Jesus Christ

The Friends of Carmel JMJ is an organization committed to providing support and financial assistance to the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Elysburg, PA, a convent of discalced Carmelite nuns who live a completely enclosed and contemplative life.

Become a "Friend of Carmel"

To register as a “Friend of Carmel”, visit our signup page and enter your contact information.

As a Friend you will be placed on our distribution list in order to receive the latest updates concerning the Monastery. Plus, your donation, if you choose to make one, will help us to help them keep their contemplative lives contemplative.

Become a "Friend of Carmel"


The Passion - Spring Newsletter 2010

Greetings Friends of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph...

Here is a poem for Holy Week that appeared in the Sisters' Spring 2010 Newsletter

We would also like to welcome all the newly registered Friends and ask that all of you keep spreading the word about the Friends of Carmel JMJ and our mission to support the Nuns of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Elysburg, PA.  We hope you all have a blessed Holy Week and a Joyous Easter.

The Kiss of Christ

Lo, there He hangs a shamed figure,

Pinioned beneath the wood.

God grant that I may love Him,

Even as I should.


I draw a little closer

To share the love divine

To hear Him softly whisper,

“Ah, foolish child of mine.


If now I would embrace thee,

My hands would stain thee red,

And if I bent to kiss thee

The thorns would pierce your head.”


'Twas then I learned in meekness

that love demands a price.

„twas then I learned that sorrow

is but the kiss of Christ


Please remember to pray for the Sisters, Our Holy Father Pope Francis, and our Bishop, the Most Reverend Ronald W. Gainer, Diocese of Harrisburg.

May God Reward You

Holy Week Schedule

Greetings Friends of Carmel

Holy Week Schedule:

Holy Thursday, April 17th - 5 PM

Good Friday, April 18th - 3 PM

Holy Saturday, April 19th (Easter Vigil) - 9:30 PM

Easter Sunday, April 20th - 9 AM

All of the above events are open to the public.  Please consider joining us for at least one of the Holy Days during this most blessed week of the year.

Thank you for your support of the 19 Nuns at the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Elysburg, PA.  Please continue to pray for the Nuns as they continue their days of strict fast and abstinence during the last weeks of Lent and join with them, wherever you may be, in their celebration of the Risen Lord on Easter Morning.  

Lenten Blessings during this Passiontide

Friends of Carmel JMJ

P.S.  We hope you are enjoying the newsletters recently posted.  Unfortunately, when we posted each newsletter it generated an e-mailing so please accept our apology for the email blitz.  We do hope that you found the temporary problem a blessing when reading the Nuns lovely newsletters.  Those newsletters, by the way, are entirely produced by the Nuns and printed, at no charge, by Fortney Printing in Steelton, PA

Welcome To Bishop Gainer

The Friends of Carmel rejoice that Pope Francis has sent Bishop Ronald W. Gainer to be the Shepherd of the Diocese of Harrisburg.  We pledge our filial obedience and love for our new Successor of the Apostles and we assure him of our prayers for his episcopal ministry.  May Our Lady Queen and Beauty of Carmel enfold him in her garment of maternal love and protection!

 Most Rev. William J. Waltersheid,

Friends of Carmel JMJ

News From Friends of Carmel JMJ

Greetings to our Friends of Carmel ,

As the new Church year approaches, all of us at the Friends of Carmel JMJ would like to extend our hope that all the Friends (and indeed all those in our Holy Mother the Church) have a blessed Advent.

For all the Friends who so faithfully pray for the Nuns and also send in contributions you will, we hope, be gratified to read the following story. 

The Monastery Caretaker had a dump truck that recently met with an unexpected demise.  The truck was invaluable to the Sisters because it was the sole means by which the Caretaker had to pick up and deliver the coal needed to heat the Monastery during the cold months and the hot water all year round.  With Board approval, the Friends of Carmel JMJ granted to the Sisters enough money to assist in the purchase of an old, but lightly used dump truck and to meet some other operating expenses.  This grant would not have been possible but for your kind, regular and generous donations. 

We hope that you will also be pleased to know that almost 100% of your donations go to the Nuns (there is a small transaction fee retained by PayPal for online donation).  Just about all of the other operating expensed are picked up by a corporate donor. 

For those of you who have placed orders, we would like to thank you for your patience in waiting for the order to be completed and shipped.  Most of the delay is because we do not have anyone to regularly staff the email account.  We will be attempting to bring that process up to speed very soon.  We are also in the process of updating our website to make the ordering process easier.

God Reward You All for your prayerful and financial support of the seventeen Nuns at the Carmel of Jesus, Mary & Joseph.  Please pray that the Holy Father will appoint a new Bishop for our Diocese very soon.


Friends of Carmel JMJ

Feast of our Holy Mother, St. Teresa (October 15th)


Tuesday, October 15th is the Feast Day of St. Teresa of Avila, or as Carmelites refer to her "Our Holy Mother."  High Mass will begin at 8 A.M.  There will also be a First Profession made by one of the Novices. 

FYI:  Later in October

On October 25 at 8 A.M. there will be either a Pontifical High or Low Mass celebrated in association with the cause for sainthood of Blessed Karl (see below).  The time of Mass is subject to change.

His Excellency, Don Teodoro de Faria
Bishop Emeritus of Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal, author of a new book about Blessed Karl.  As Bishop of the diocese in which Blessed Karl died in 1922, Bishop de Faria has long been active in his cause for sainthood, and it was he who formally presented to the Holy Father the petition to beatify Emperor Karl at the beatification ceremony in Saint Peter’s Square on 3 October 2004. A native of Madeira, Bishop de Faria was ordained in 1956 at the age of 26, consecrated bishop of Funchal in 1982, and since his retirement in 2007, has been working on his book about Blessed Karl, which he will discuss during his remarks.
For more information on Blessed Karl of Austria (Click Here ) 

Day 8, Sermon

And so we arrive at the vigil of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. What better way to honor Her than to speak of one of the greatest gifts She has given us: the Scapular.

The monks that can trace their lineage back to Elijah and the mountain were discovered by St. Simon Stock in the 13th century. He strove to found an official religious order, but finding it difficult, he turned to Our Lady in prayer. Shortly thereafter, She appeared to him and gave him the scapular, saying that "whosoever should wear this faithfully, will be saved from everlasting fire." It was this brown scapular which inspired the habit worn to this day by all Carmelite religious.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is deeply connected to the Fatima and Llourdes. The last visit of Our Lady to St. Bernadette was July 16, 1858: the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. And at Fatima, Our Lady made her final visit as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and She wore the scapular draped over Her wrist. As I said a few nights ago: pay attention to the details - love is always in the details!

What is Our Lady telling us? She has told us time and again that the Rosary and the Scapular are the most powerful weapons. But more than this: it is a way for Our Lady to reclaim mankind. It is the same way in which Christ reclaims man and matter when He walked among us again. Christ usually displays His power over matter, making commands. Once, He uses His own spittle to make the mud which He cures a blind man with. He turns an instrument of torture - the cross - into an instrument of salvation. Through these specific things, God is reclaiming man and matter.

Our Lady, too, uses specific material things to reclaim matter for God. After Adam and Eve sinned, they made garments as a visible sign of their sinfulness. The scapular is a garment, a visible sign of one's separation from God. In giving us the scapular, Our Lady has reversed Genesis 3.

Love is always in the details!

Day 7, Sermon

Today is Bastille Day - France's equivalent to the Fourth of July - and it commemorates the launching of the French Revolution. People say its benefits are still being felt to this day: progress, freedom, liberty. Interestingly enough, the Carmelites have a unique relationship with the French Revolution. In 1794 - two weeks before the end of the Revolution - the entire convent at Compiegne was convicted of crimes against the state and sentenced to death at the guillotine. When the Carmelites were awaiting their deaths beside the platform on which the guillotine stood, witnesses spoke of their peace and their joy. while singing Veni Creator Spiritus (the song they sang when receiving their vows). The youngest nun was the first to suffer her fate, but before she did, she knelt before the prioress and asked for her blessing and for permission to die. All the others did the same.

These 16 nuns weren't surprised. A Carmelite's entire life is in direct violation to to the "State"; her oath to God is civil suicide. They were given a choice: Accept Liberty or die. In the name of Liberty, these nuns were marched to the guillotine. The French Revolutionaries gave the same choice that Lenin did to the Russian people: Accept liberation from the Czar or die. Forty million Russians went to their deaths. Sixty million people died under Mao Zedong. And before we, the American people, become too smug, let us remember the 52 million children who have died because of our "choice". The secular world has dictated that a woman does not have true freedom unless she has the right to choose. Her choice, however, means another person's life.

Beware of the language of "The Rights of Man". Embrace the duty of God and you'll haver have to embrace the rights of man. The Carmelite sisters did, and this is why they were killed. Remember that we have a higher calling than to man. In this monastery in Elysburg, one will not hear "rights" but "duty": one will achieve the greatest freedom in following God's law.

God's law - in this secular world - is synonymous with soup kitchens. People will accept no moral, personal constraints, but will fawn over soup kitchens. With ill-disguised contempt, they will spurn prayer and penance, but will placate their consciences by giving money to charities and serving at soup kitchens.

These Carmelites never wavered from the conviction of God's duty. They embraced through their actions the words expressed in St. Ignatius Loyola's prayer, Suspice.

'Receive, O Lord, all my liberty. Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.' (Spiritual Exercises, #234)


Day 6, Sermon

The Evil One. The Devil. Satan.

For St. Teresa of Avila, he was not just a mysterious power, he was a malevolent being with whom she came into contact frequently. For St. John of the Cross, Satan was so frequently mentioned in his writings, people say could have had a treatise on Demonology. Satan understands our senses, our imagination, and our memory. He looks for patterns. This is his world and he has the ability to manipulate them. What makes Satan so effective is for two reasons: he works best unnoticed and knowledge of him removes the fear of the unknown.

Our Lord Himself comes into contact with Satan many a time. The first time He does is when in the desert, Satan tempts Our Lord. This first time, Satan is clumsy and conspicuous. After Our Lord turns down the offerings, St. Luke says, "Then the devil departed from Him for some time." The next time, Satan is far more subtle and stealthy. Our Lord asks the Apostles, "Who do they say I am" and "Who do you say I am?" St. Peter responds immediately, "Thou art the Christ." Our Lord knows immediately and says so, that Peter only knows this because the Father has told him. He goes on to say that Peter shall be the rock upon which His Church is built. Following this revelation, Our Lord tells His Apostles that He will suffer and die, but rise again on the third day. But St. Peter protests, "Lord, be it far from thee, this shall not be unto thee." Surprisingly, Jesus turns on St. Peter and says, "Get behind me, Satan!"

Nowhere else does Our Lord address another human with the name of Satan. One can sense more than simple anger in His reply. Think, for a moment, of what ambushed soldiers feel: at first it is surprise, they are stunned; and then they might feel fear; then they feel passionately angry at the enemy and at themselves. This anger is appropriate: God has put into humans the notion of self-preservation.

This is the "what" of Christ's anger. But what is the "why"? Our Lord became aware of a temptation straight from hell. Satan, through St. Peter, attempts to put in Christ's mind that there is a possibility of saving man without having to suffer crucifixion and death. This is cunning and cruel. It is put before Him in a suggestion from Peter, who had just been given a special oblation by God the Father and was the first human being, after the Holy Family and St. John the Baptist, to know and acknowledge Him as God. Our Lord reacts to this with joy, but then St. Peter says, "No, this will never happen to you!" Maybe, just maybe, God is revealing this to Peter as well. Then comes the awful, cruel realization that it was Satan speaking. Our Lord was ambushed, and reacts as the soldiers do: "Get behind me, Satan!" (All passages: Matthew 16:16-24). Our Lord's human personality, His sacred humanity, would never succumb to temptation, but He still feels the sting of a real, cruel temptation.

Look for Satan when you least expect him - even in the words of a good friend. Satan is an ever present entity, driven by hate, looking for souls to devour.

Day 5, Sermon

The Gospel is the canvas upon which the Sacred Humanity is brushed. If a Carmelite loses sight of the Gospels, she risks Heaven, for she will thus be losing sight of Our Lord.

For many, they will know and love the Carmelite sisters, will want to help them and serve them, but they might not understand the life of a cloistered. They might wonder why such a conglomerate of talent is being wasted behind closed and confined spaces. Look at Christ's life and we will understand this life more fully. Many people assume that Christ was a naturally extraverted person, social and people-oriented. However, He spends 30 years in reclusion, keeping company with only His family. After He makes His first appearance at His baptism, He immediately rushes off to the desert to pray and fast. His followers search for Him, but clearly He did not want to be found easily. Throughout the Gospels, He stays outside of towns, rather than in them; He is constantly departing from crowds as soon as possible; He sends His apostles away on more than one occasion so He can remain alone. There are only four occasions in the Gospels wherein He is at a social dinner, and in all four, He is in a confrontation or an argument. Christ is not at home among intense human sociability.

The Nazareth of Christ's time was only about 60 acres, inhabited with between 100 and 300 people. Despite this small size, and despite the fact that Christ lived there for 30 years, the Nazarenes express doubt and confusion when He arrives to preach. Perhaps the question they ask, whether or not "This is Jesus, son of Joseph", is not because they doubted His words, but that they were not sure if it were indeed Him. Perhaps, this is because Christ was very reserved and reclusive in His time there.

Our Lord was consistently oriented to small groups. The Holy Trinity (3 persons), the Holy Family (3 persons); His three favorite apostles, Peter, James, and John; His three friends, Lazarus, Martha, and Mary; and besides His Blessed Mother and John, there were only three persons at His Crucifixion, the three women. Love is in the details! More is not better. Christ did not prefer large groups. Is it not true that when one overdoes socializing, one feels tired and lonely? To be live a life in a small, almost unchangeable group does not mean loneliness. Aloneness does not equal loneliness. Though people might understand the Carmelite cloister because it is seemingly a confining life, we must remember that Christ spent 90% of His life in a small group or alone, as did Our Lady and St. Joseph. Christ might find Carmel much better company over His fellow Nazarenes.

Day 4, Sermon

In the Carmelite life, there is a companionship between the soul and God; it is an ongoing conversation that serves as the foundation of such a relationship. How, then, must one achieve this? St. Teresa of Avila speaks of the Sacred Humanity of Christ, which is what a Carmelite must aspire to imitate. Just as she is a corporeal being, she will see Christ as a corporeal being, as flesh and blood, because that is what He is. In imitating Christ, it is not necessary that one look to the unknown so much as to what is known: Christ revealed Himself through His interactions with the other Gospel characters, just as we reveal ourselves through interaction with other humans.

There is one particular story in the Gospel that stands out, for three reasons: one, there is only three occasions in which Jesus is called by name, and this is one of those; two, it is the only time a name is given for the person being healed; and three, it is one of only three occasions wherein Our Lord asks a question of the person He is healing. The blind man calls loudly, over and over again, to Christ, and one might suppose it obvious as to why he is calling, but Christ nonetheless asks the man, "What do you want me to do for you?" And the man replies, "That I may see." Why does Christ ask this question? Look at the details - Love is always in the details. The Sacred Humanity of Christ must be a constant companion to a Carmelite.

Contact Information

Friends of Carmel JMJ
430 Monastery Rd.
Elysburg, PA 17824

Telephone: 508-367-3201

Mass Times

Mass times:
  • Sunday: 8:00 A.M.
  • Monday - Friday: 7:00 A.M.
  • Saturday: 8:00 A.M.

Upcoming Events

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Selected Quote

Empty yourself completely and sit waiting, content with the grace of God, like the chick who tastes nothing and eats nothing but what his mother brings him.
- The Rule of St. Romuald

Spiritual Patrons