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Boston Carmel -- solitude in the city


Merrimack Regional Bishop Robert Hennessey celebrated Mass and blessed the newly refurbished chapel of the Carmelite Nuns on Mount Pleasant Avenue, in the Hub's Roxbury section, in April 2015. Courtesy photo

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Boston Carmel was founded in 1890 from the Carmel of Baltimore, one hundred years after the latter was established as the first foundation of religious women in the United States.

In November 1889, Archbishop John J. Williams of Boston was in Baltimore to preside at the opening Mass of the Catholic Congress celebrating the Centennial of the Catholic Hierarchy.

While in the city, he visited the Baltimore Carmelite Monastery. There, he first learned that the community had reached its full complement of sisters and was unable to accept a number of young women, many from New England, who were applying to enter. The nuns expressed their desire to found a monastery in Boston -- an idea immediately embraced by the Archbishop, who formally invited Baltimore Carmel to begin a foundation in Boston.

Five Carmelite nuns set sail from Baltimore for the new foundation in Boston on Aug. 23, 1890.

-- Mother Beatrix of the Holy Spirit (Camilla Magers) -- Prioress

-- Mother Angela of the Presentation (Josephine Dyer) -- Sub-prioress

-- Sister Gertrude of the Heart of Jesus (Gertrude McMaster)

-- Sister Augustine of the Mother of God (Eulalia Tuckerman)

-- Sister Alphonsus of the Heart of Jesus (Barbara Braun)

The founders stayed in their first location on Cedar Street for four years. On Sept. 25, 1894, they moved to their permanent location on Mount Pleasant Avenue, just a short distance away.

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