Faith and Religion

After 103 years, a New York nun group moves to Florida for 'silence'

The Carmelite Nuns are a cloistered community who need a peaceful environment for contemplative prayer.

After 103 years, a New York nun group moves to Florida for 'silence'
SMS

The Carmelite Nuns have called upstate New York their home for their entire lives — but now after 103 years in North Buffalo, the cloistered community has moved to Florida to find "silence and solitude."

They say the area where their long-time home at the Monastery of the Little Flower of Jesus is situated has changed too much for their liking over the years. 

The community said in a statement late last year, "When this monastery was built, this was a quiet area on the outskirts of the city. Now, however, we no longer have silence and solitude which are requisite for a cloistered community."

The Carmelite Nuns said friends offered to help them find a "spacious property" located in Florida in the territory of the Diocese of Saint Augustine that they hope will be their next "ideal location for" a "life of contemplative prayer." The cloistered community said they are "confident that this is a blessing coming to us from the hand of Divine Providence."

Pamela Jacobs, an upstate New York resident who grew up just blocks away from the Monastery of the Little Flower of Jesus, told Scripps News Buffalo, "Anytime anything of stress or even happiness happened, we'd come to the Carmelites and get a prayer card, and we had faith it would change the course of things."

Another New York resident, Ann Brighton, said she'll miss them after living in the same neighborhood for nearly 50 years. 

"I feel sad they’re leaving, but I understand everything is shifting nowadays," said Brighton. 

The Carmelites were relieved about the move, though, showing gratitude to their new community in a statement writing, "Thanks to the hard work of many kind and generous friends who prepared for our arrival — our new monastery felt like home from the very first moment, already embellished with many of our beautiful statues and holy images."

Scripps News Buffalo

The group of nuns has a reputation for being a breath of positivity, light and peace in their community. 

Pope recognizes resistance to same-sex blessings but doesn't back down
Pope recognizes resistance to same-sex blessings but doesn't back down

Pope recognizes resistance to same-sex blessings but doesn't back down

Bishops across the world have refused to implement the Vatican's declaration.

LEARN MORE

Brighton said she has loved having them in her community. "They're busy praying all the time when I don't pray all the time," she said. 

Many expressed surprise at their departure, saying they never expected them to leave. 

As Scripps News Buffalo reported, City Councilman Joel Feroleto grew up just a few blocks from the monastery and shared that he is also sad to see the nuns move to Florida.

Authorities in North Buffalo are still not certain what will become of the two-story brick structure the nuns have called home since the 1920s.

"I think it's important that whoever does purchase the property, has robust community engagement and talks to the neighbors," Feroleto said. "Everybody is used to it being the church."

According to reports, Erie County property records show the New York property at 94 Shoshone St. is owned — in large part — by the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Buffalo, and was assessed as having a value of around $1.2 million.

The Diocese of Buffalo wished the nuns well, but did not issue a comment on their departure saying they are an "independent order from the diocese."

The Diocese of Saint Augustine also declined to comment when called by Scripps News Buffalo, saying there were "more details to work out."

The monastery said in a letter, "Words cannot express the profound gratitude we have in our hearts for all the love and generosity which the people of Buffalo have shown to our community for these many years!"

This story was originally published by Derek Heid at Scripps News Buffalo with additional reporting from Scripps News.