Czech republic

Help to repair convent roof and church of the Discalced Carmelite Sisters in Prague

The Czech Republic is one of the most secularised countries in Europe, with atheism being widespread. Yet, following political changes the life of the religious orders has quickly revived. One example of this is the Discalced Carmelite Sisters in Prague, whose convent here can look back on a long history that was only brutally interrupted by communism.

It was barely a hundred years after Saint Teresa of Avila had founded the first Carmel in 1562, when the first Carmelite convent was built in Prague, close to the castle, in what is now the Czech Republic. From then until 1950 the Carmelite nuns prayed and worked here until they were forcibly ejected by the communists and made to work in factories instead.

Only five of these nuns survived to see the political upheavals in 1989 but by the grace of God – and doubtless also thanks to their own courageous witness of life and faith – a number of young women have since joined them.

The sisters live a strict life of prayer and contemplation, supporting themselves by making religious works of art which they sell from their convent shop. The male branch of their order in Prague, the Carmelite Fathers, live nearby and minister in the world-famous shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague whose image is revered by many Catholic faithful from all over the world. Even Pope Benedict XVI visited the shrine of the Infant Jesus, to whose image many miracles are attributed, during his visit to Prague in September 2009.

But even today, 25 years after the changes, these ancient religious houses in the Czech Republic still face many challenges. There is in fact far more needing to be done in teh convent than would appear from the outside. That is why the Carmelite Sisters have turned to ACN for help to repair the roof of their convent and its convent church. We have promised a contribution of 15,000 Euros.