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Carmelite Fair commemorates 60th year of Catholic nuns entering Utah

Carmelite Fair commemorates 60th year of Catholic nuns entering Utah

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HOLLADAY — The annual Carmelite Fair will take place in Holladay on Sunday as the Catholic nuns are celebrating their 60th year in Utah.

11 nuns who belong to the order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, live in a monastery in Holladay and worship in their Carmelite Chapel everyday. Those who join them for Mass can hear them through a screen, but can't see them because the nuns have taken vows to live cloistered lives.

The nuns wake before sunrise, as members of their order have for centuries. Founded in 1222, Saint Theresa of Avila reformed the first female monastery in Spain in 1562. A group came to America in 1790. Then in 1952, 5 sisters from California arrived in Utah.

"Oh yes, we wanted to come, to participate, to bring our form of prayer to the Diocese here in Salt Lake," said Mother Maureen of the Trinity, Prioress Carmelite Monastery. Mother Maureen is one of the original two members that came to start the monastery in Utah.

Their first home was in downtown Salt Lake, and then four years later, they purchased property in Holladay.

And if people find the right path, that's what we want. That's what we want. We give our life for that.

–Sister Margaret Mary

"It was out in the country, all these animals, and you could hear cows and pigs and goats," said Sister Margaret Mary of the Sacred Heart Carmelite Monastery. "It was great, kind of fun, but it was beautiful because it was so solitary."

The sisters keep house and bake sacrament wavers for communion, but their real vocation is prayer.

"Our life is work and prayer but principally prayer," Mother Maureen said.

They know through letters, emails or website messages of those who are suffering in the world.

"Even if we don't mention every single name [in our prayers,] the Lord knows," Mother Maureen said.

"And if people find the right path, that's what we want," Sister Margaret Mary said. "That's what we want. We give our life for that."

As they pray for you, they hope you will remember them.

The Carmelite Fair will take place on the grounds of the monastery from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The money raised from the craft and good booths and the silent auction supports the nuns throughout the year. There is also a 5k run "Race for Grace" to help raise money as well.


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