Rising Sun con­vent be­gins con­struc­tion of her­mitage

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— The Epis­co­pal Carmel of St. Teresa is sup­posed to be an order of nuns whose pri­mary job is to pray.

How­ever, the busy­ness of the daily life of the monas­tic order was mak­ing it hard for the sis­ters to have that soli­tary time of prayer deemed nec­es­sary by their call­ing.

“Our job is to pray for the church and the world,” said Sis­ter Teresa Irene, pri­oress of the order near Rising Sun. “We’re sup­posed to have three weeks in each year of si­lence and soli­tude.”

RISING SUN

How­ever, like ev­ery­one else, the sis­ters also have hos­pi­tal­ity de­mands that get in the way, in­clud­ing daily vis­i­tors and ad­min­is­tra­tive du­ties. The sis­ters also have a three-bed­room guest house on site.

“We’ve got­ten busier and busier with a steady stream of ac­tiv­i­ties and vis­i­tors,” Irene said.

A gen­er­ous gift to the order, made last year in honor of Sis­ter Bar­bara tak­ing her fi­nal vows, al­lowed the Epis­co­pal Carmel of St. Teresa to be­gin con­struc­tion of a her­mitage be­hind the con­vent.

The 500-square-foot cot- tage will pro­vide its oc­cu­pant the op­por­tu­nity for that alone time.

“We can be with God in deeper si­lence and soli­tude,” Bar­bara said. “You take the world with you in your si­lence. No TV, no phones, all the trap­pings of the world. You meet with God and lift up the cries of the world.”

The plain block build­ing will be sim­ply fur­nished with a bed, ef­fi­ciency kitchen and a prayer al­cove with a small ta­ble and a chair. A screened in porch will face the woods,

away from the main house.

Sis­ter Bar­bara said the her­mitage is like a “tiny house,” re­fer­ring to the new trend in min­i­mal­ist hous­ing. Ac­cord­ing to Sis­ter Teresa, the her­mitage links the order with its founders.

“The orig­i­nal Carmelites were in the caves in Mount Carmel,” she said of the roots of the monas­tic or­ga­ni­za­tion. “We felt it was nec­es­sary for our spir­i­tual

well-be­ing for us to have this space.”

The house on Lit­tle New York Road be­came the Epis­co­pal Carmel of St. Teresa in 2006 with the bless­ing of the Catholic Carmelites.

With help from lo­cal pro­fes­sional ser­vices in­clud­ing Cox Ma­sonry, Michael Cullen, Cedar Hill Quarry, Mary­land Ma­te­ri­als and Meadows Con­struc­tion, the sis­ters have been able to keep the project costs down.

Now the hunt is on for low­cost fur­nish­ings in­clud­ing floor­ing, cab­i­nets, bed­ding

and light­ing. Do­na­tions are a big help, Irene said.

“We even got a check from a very nice el­derly lady. It’s been amaz­ing to me how gen­er­ous peo­ple have been,” she said.

Do­na­tions, which are tax de­ductible, are still be­ing sought, the sis­ters noted. The es­ti­mated cost of the project was $70,000. Com­ple­tion is ex­pected in Septem­ber, at which time the her­mitage will be blessed and placed into ser­vice. Irene said this will al­low them to take turns hav­ing that alone time while the main house can con­tinue to

op­er­ate, in­clud­ing a daily eucharist ser­vice, teach­ing and other min­istries.

But it’s not just for the sis­ters. The si­lent re­treat cen­ter will be open to any­one

in need of the spirit-filled es­cape.

“We are invit­ing any­one in the com­mu­nity to come as they wish to share in our spirit of si­lence,” Bar-

bara said.

For more in­for­ma­tion on do­na­tions, as­sis­tance with con­struc­tion or to book a si­lent re­treat, call the con­vent at 410658-6736.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

Sis­ter Bar­bara, a nun at the Epis­co­pal Carmel of St. Teresa near Rising Sun, ex­plains the floor plan of the her­mitage be­ing built on the prop­erty. The small cot­tage, away from the main con­vent and the guest house, will al­low for one per­son to have a si­lent re­treat.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JA­COB OWENS

Gov. Larry Ho­gan and his wife, Yumi, talk with Kilby Cream co-own­ers Phyl­lis Kilby and Me­gan Cole­man on Thurs­day dur­ing a three-day tour of the county.

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