Sunday, July 09, 2006

Photos of the Discalced Carmelite Monastery, in Ladue, Missouri

Yesterday was the first night of the Discalced Carmelite Monastery's annual outdoor Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The Carmel of Saint Joseph, after Mass.

Patrick M. O'Meara and James B. Hills, who started practicing in Saint Louis in 1923, were the architects of the monastery, as well as the nearby Villa Duchesne School (1929), in Frontenac, Missouri; Saint George's Church (1928), in Affton, Missouri; Saint James the Greater Church (1927), in Saint Louis; and the White House Retreat of the Society of Jesus, on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, in south Saint Louis County. They designed other churches and buildings in Saint Louis and elsewhere in the Midwest. They were authors of the book "Catholic Churches and Institutions", dating from 1928. The firm was later called Hills, Gilbertson, and Fisher, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Chapel of the Precious Blood.

This was taken after Benediction and the outdoor Mass. Normally, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed here, and the chapel is never without worshippers either here or beyond the enclosure of the cloister: the Sisters' grille can be seen on the back and sides of the sanctuary.

Altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary, holding the Christ Child.

Statue of the Spanish mystic, Saint John of the Cross, who famously worked with Saint Teresa of Avila ("big Teresa") to found the Discalced Carmelite order. During a time of extreme spiritual dryness, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux ("little Teresa") would only read the Gospel and the works of Saint John of the Cross; several years ago, her relics were venerated on this altar.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, showering down roses from heaven.

Saint Joseph, holding lilies and a carpenter's square. The lilies figure in an ancient legend that tells how the priests of the Jewish Temple selected Joseph to take care of Mary, in spite of the fact that she insisted on remaining a virgin consecrated to God. The carpenter's square relates to his profession, tekton in Greek, or skilled construction worker; tradition says he was primarily a carpenter. A chief tekton is called an architect.

Simon helps Jesus carry the Cross.

Many thanks to the extern Sister who let me take photos here and who unlocked the chapel, letting me out.


  1. Thank you very much, but I'm not at all happy with the first picture, the one of the outside of the monastery. It's way too grainy and it was difficult getting the color of the building right without messing up the sky color. I'm terrible with using Photoshop. The color of the photo of the nave of the chapel is wrong too, especially on the high walls over the sanctuary: it isn't green, but off-white. Some of the other photos are pretty fuzzy, which I can't understand at all. I went back to the chapel this evening, and was looking at how wrong my photos were, particularly when it comes to color and contrast; I also missed some really nice mosaics and side-altars.

  2. Thank you for these lovely photos. Is there a Dominican house in St Louis? And is this the city which the (in)famous St Louis Jesuits hail from?

  3. Dear Brother Lawrence,

    You are quite welcome.

    There is at least one men's Dominican priory here, located in Jesuit Hall at Saint Louis University. The Studentate for the Province (which covers the north-central U.S). is here also. They are associated with the Aquinas Institute of Theology, which is located at SLU.

    The web site is:

    There are also several women's congregations of the O.P. in town.

    Yes, the St. Louis Jesuits were here! With the fortcoming changes to the Missal, their music may not be with us for much longer, though.


  4. Thank you so much for posting these photos. I grew up near here and went there almost nightly for rosary and benediction. I'm now an adult and live in New York City and while I do not profess to be a Christian today, I remember the years at the Carmelite chapel with great fondness. The basic spirituality and virtue I learned there has carried me through and effects my outlook on the world today.
    I remember Sr Paula, the extern, she was a firecracker! I really loved her. And Fr Horrigan too, all of his famous quotes, such as:
    "A priest should be lion in the pulpit and a lamb in the confessional."
    "I've got one foot in the grave and another foot on a banana peel."
    "Keep your feet planted on God's green earth! Tell the devil to go to hell and keep walkin' toward heaven!"

    ps-The arch above the exposition was always a rose-pink color, the blue is new.

  5. This is a wonderful place to attend Mass and to spend time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. To get a real good view of the church windows sneak up into the choir loft and you can see them straight on. They are very intricate and colorful. It is a very contempletive place and well worth a visit.