Carmel of St. Joseph (Carmelite Monastery)
In the fall of 1863, a small group of Carmelite nuns from Baltimore, Maryland, arrived in Saint Louis at the request of Bishop Peter Richard Kenrick. Their mission was to pray for priests.
At this time Saint Louis had four orders of religious sisters dedicated to active apostolates. When Archbishop Kenrick was asked why he wanted an Order that did nothing but pray, he responded, “I have a number of orders for the works of charity and education, but I want an order that will pray forever for my priests.”
For fifteen years the sisters lived at Calvary Farms, north of the City of St. Louis. In 1878 the Carmelites moved to a monastery which had been built at Eighteenth and Victor Streets in the City of Saint Louis. The monastery comprised one city block surrounded by a fence.
In November 1926 the nuns purchased a more suitable property in what is now a suburb of Ladue. Fourteen acres became available when Samuel and Lily Haas sold their home in what was then known as Deer Creek Village. The area was primarily farm land and the location was idyllic for the sisters. In the following two years the main residence was razed and a new monastery and chapel constructed, the same which stand today.
The monastery has been a stop on the Joseph Challenge Pilgrimage since the pilgrimage's inception in 2016. However, it was a stop along the first Joseph Challenge quite by accident. As those first weary pilgrims made their way to St. Joseph in Clayton, their route took them to the corner of Clayton Road & Price Road where they stopped for a rest. Their chaplain, Fr. Michael Houser, suggested they step into the monastery for a few moments, and it just so happened they arrived in time for evening prayer with the sisters. With that, the monastery became a regular stop along the pilgrimage route.
**Abridged from stlouiscarmel.com