Cloistered nuns from Buffalo, New York, announced they have officially left the state for Florida in an effort to find “silence and solitude.”
“Prayerful greetings from sunny Florida! We are happy to report that, sustained by the fervent prayers of so many, we departed from Buffalo the morning of January 14 despite the blizzard, and safely arrived in Jacksonville the following day,” the Discalced Carmelite nuns wrote in a message on their website this month.
The Discalced Carmelite Monastery of the Little Flower of Jesus was established in Buffalo more than a century ago, when “this was a quiet area on the outskirts of the city,” the nuns wrote in a letter on their website in October. Cloistered nuns remain within their convent, separating themselves from the external world in order to dedicate their lives to contemplation and prayer.
Discalced Carmelites were established in 1562 by St. Teresa of Avila, with current nuns taking their example from the Spanish saint.
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“Now, however, we no longer have the silence and solitude which are requisite for a cloistered Community,” the nuns continued. Local media reported the monastery in Buffalo was located near a busy intersection and park.
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In a bid to find peace and quiet, the religious community sought permission from Rome to move to Florida to an “ideal location for our life of contemplative prayer.” Rome granted the request last year, with the 14 cloistered nuns officially settling into their new home within the Diocese of St. Augustine.
Moving from Buffalo came with “great sorrow and disappointment,” the nuns said in October, with local Bishop Michael Fisher also expressing sadness over the move and thanking them “for their century of service to Western New York.”
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“It was with a heavy heart that I learned of the Carmelite Nuns of the Monastery of the Little Flower of Jesus wish to relocate outside of the diocese to an area that provided the necessary solitude to continue their ministry,” Fisher said in a statement last year.
“The Carmelite Sisters have been an important part of the religious fabric of the Diocese of Buffalo for more than 100 years, when Mother Mary Elias of the Blessed Sacrament, OCD, founded the Discalced Carmelite Monastery in 1920, first on Cottage Street, and then on Carmel Road in North Buffalo,” he wrote.
The nuns detailed in their letter on their website this month that they have comfortably moved into their new home, especially after the Holy Eucharist was brought to their chapel and a priest celebrated Mass.
“It truly became ‘home’ when Jesus Himself came to dwell among us in His Eucharistic Presence after the first Mass in our lovely little chapel. We were moved to tears and well understood the sentiments of Our Holy Mother St. Teresa, who considered that a new foundation was truly established when the Blessed Sacrament was permanently reserved in the tabernacle,” they wrote.
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Millions of other Americans across the country have moved to Florida in recent years, most notably from blue states such as California and New York amid and following the coronavirus pandemic and its government-mandated lockdown orders. More than 1 million people moved to Florida in 2022 alone, with the majority of transplants coming from New York, California and New Jersey, reports show.