Carmelite Monastery
Cader Road
Dolgellau, Gwynedd
LL40 1SH, N. Wales

Webpage: Carmelite Nuns

Email: Carmelite Nuns




FOUNDATION: The Carmelite Monastery of the Holy Spirit and Our Lady of Peace is the only Carmel in Wales. It was founded in 1929 from the Carmel in Notting Hill, London.
SETTING: Our Carmelite Monastery is situated on the road ascending the Cader Idris mountain range in Dolgellau, in breathtaking surroundings. It is said to be one of the most beautiful and rugged spots on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales.
Behind the unassuming brown gates into the Monastery stands the converted and extended farm house looking out towards the Snowdonia Mountain Range.
THE COMMUNITY: We are a cloistered Community of 15 cloistered Roman Catholic nuns who follow the Rule of Saint Albert. We hope that as you read on this web site will help you to find out more about us and the life of the enclosed Sisters in Dolgellau Carmel.

VISITORS: The Parlour is where families, friends and visitors can meet with the Sisters.

OUR LIFE AND WORK: Within the context of cloistered community life and prayer we undertake a variety of work, from the usual domestic side such as cooking, cleaning and laundry, to gardening from which we are partly self-sufficient in fruit from our small orchard and the various vegetables grown. Our diet is vegetarian. Other sides to our work include the distribution of altar breads, card making, printing, writing, and various aspects of computer technology. Other Sisters are equally good at D.I.Y.! Various items, including icons and rosary beads made by the Sisters, are sold in our small Repository. By these means we aim to be partly self-supporting.

Another aspect of our work concerns the apostolic side. Some of the Sisters write to those who ask for prayer. Other charitable work is undertaken for people in Lithuania, Rumania and Russia. We are also twinned with a contemplative Anglican order of Sisters, The Society of the Precious Blood, in Lesotho, Southern Africa.

The life-style of a Carmelite is influenced by the Sisters' vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. It is a simple life, enhanced by the Welsh mountain air and awe-inspiring scenery.


A TYPICAL DAY IN CARMEL: People often ask us "What do you do all day?" The fact that contemplative nuns can be very busy never occurs to them! Here is what a typical day can look like at Dolgellau. Each individual Carmel will have its own variations.
05.30 Rise with time for a quick cup of tea
06.00-07.00 Prayer-time
07.00 Lauds
Interval Breakfast when the bell is rung, then work
08.40 Terce
09.30 Holy Mass and Thanksgiving (17.00 hrs on Sunday)
10.15-11.40 Work-time
11.40 Sext, Examen, Angelus
12.00 Dinner, washing-up, free time
13.15 Recreation
13.45 None
14.00-15.00 Spiritual Reading
15.00 Tea
15.15-16.30 Work-time
16.30 Vespers
17.00-18.00 Prayer-time
18.15 Supper, washing-up, free time
19.15 Recreation
20.00 Office of Readings
21.00 Compline
  Free time
22.30 Lights out
16.30-18.00 on Fridays: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament


A Carmelite's day is lived for God whether she is at prayer, cooking the dinner, washing the pots and pans, doing household chores such as cleaning, laundry, working in the garden or relaxing with her Sisters at recreation time. Everything is a movement towards God. The fruit of a Carmelite's prayer life needs to be tested in all the everyday activities of working and relating to one another in Community. St. Teresa of Avila wrote: "Here, my daughters, is where love will be seen; not hidden in corners but in the midst of occasions of falling". The times of prayer also take in the happenings in the world, the good or bad news that is brought to our attention, together with personal requests for prayer, and so on ……

The Sisters meet in the Choir of the Chapel seven times a day to join in the Church's official communal praise. There are also the periods for private prayer and spiritual reading.


The call to prayer and responding to that call……………

Nearly all work is done in silence and solitude to encourage and enable personal encounter with God. Saint Teresa says: "We must, then, disengage ourselves from everything so as to approach God interiorly and even in the midst of occupations withdraw within ourselves. Although it may be only for a moment that I remember that I have that Company within myself, doing so is very beneficial."


All guests and visitors are welcome to join us in the Chapel for daily Mass, and to participate in the singing of the Divine Office (in English).
SILENCE: After Night Prayer a bell is rung at 21.30 hours for the GREAT SILENCE, which ends the following morning after Lauds when the bell is rung once more.


By our separation from the many distractions of the outside world, the problems of rush, noise, pressures of finance and the need to achieve success, we choose to devote our whole life to the service of God in prayer. We live a life of solitude and silence in allegiance to Jesus Christ. Our origins go back as far as the 12th century to hermits on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. To foster the eremitical life we have hermitages where each Sister can choose to spend one day a month in solitary.

Saint Teresa of Avila tells us to "imagine the Lord as close to you. You should remain with so good a Friend as long as you can. We can speak with Him, ask for our needs, and complain of our troubles. If you grow used to having Him present beside you, you will not be able to get away from Him; you will find Him everywhere. Do you think it is a small matter to have a friend like this at your side?"


THE CHAPEL: Our Small Chapel welcomes locals and holiday-makers for Mass and other services.

HOLY MASS: This is sometimes said or sung partly in Welsh. Holy Mass is the high-point and source of life for each monastic day. This is particularly so when the Community meet in the Chapel seven times daily for the various parts of the Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office as it is sometimes called and sets the rhythm for every day of the week. "Everyone whatever his/her state in life … should live in allegiance to Jesus Christ and serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a good conscience." (Carmelite Rule)
SPIRITUAL READING: Time is given for daily spiritual reading and the study of the scripture in order to nourish the soul.
RECREATION: Normally recreation is twice a day, after dinner and after supper. This time is for relaxation, sharing and mutual support. On Feast Days and other festive times suitable "in-house" entertainment enlivens these occasions. It may take the form of a play, puppet show, musical event, a film etc. Recreation may be indoors or outdoors. Outdoor activities such as badminton, croquet, and fruit picking rather depend on the Welsh weather!
COMMUNITY LIFE: St. Teresa of Avila tells us "live in community and share all things in common, pray together, eat together, recreate together". On another occasion she said "there is no need to go to heaven in order to speak with our Eternal Father, nor is there any need to shout. However softly we speak, He is near enough to hear us. The Lord is within us, and we must be there with Him. If I had understood as I do now, that in this little palace of my soul dwelt so great a King, I would not have left Him alone so often."
The Refectory

OUR CARMELITE SAINTS: The Carmelite Order is rich in Saints, and an account of them can be found on the website: www.carmelite.org.uk


BECOMING A CARMELITE NUN: To become a nun takes 5 to 6 years of training or "Formation" before one can make Final or lifelong vows as a nun. The aspirant must firstly be an active member of the Roman Catholic Church, and be free of marriage ties and dependent children. Secondly, after an initial enquiry, the enquirer is invited to the Monastery. Following on from this the enquirer may be invited to stay as a guest for a few days, and then return for further visits. If the candidate asks to be admitted she is usually encouraged to "test the waters" by having a short monastic live-in experience of up to three months. This gives her time to learn how to (a) detach herself from her normal way of living;
(b) To get to know the community and see how we live. Good health is essential. Throughout the whole period both the candidate and the community work together to try to discern what God is asking.

Once accepted as a Postulant, the Prioress and Novice Mistress guide her slowly into the way of contemplative living through a programme of formation. Each of the different stages lead to a deeper appreciation of the enclosed monastic life, its demands, and whether the individual is called to it or not. This gives both the Postulant and the Prioress a period of discernment.

Usually after six months the Postulant asks to be clothed in the habit of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, for which there is a private ceremony with the Community.

After an intense 2-year (minimum) course of formation, the Novice can ask to make her First Profession, and 3 years later she would normally make Final or Solemn Profession publicly. Up to Final Profession the Novice is free to leave at any time if she wishes to do so.

"I have called you by your name, you are mine" Isaiah 43:1



Tender-hearted God,
through Saint Albert of Jerusalem
you assembled the holy hermits of Mount of Carmel
as a family of pilgrim people,
seeking to live in allegiance to Jesus Christ.
Like them, inspire us to imitate the first Christians of Jerusalem,
that we may build your kingdom, the heavenly Jerusalem.
Like them, turn our hearts from conflict with others
to the spiritual fight against all that distracts us from you.
Like them, help us to draw water from the spring of Elijah,
and to live deeply our baptismal calling.
With Mary, we commit to standing alongside those who are suffering.
Help us to find you alone in the cell of our hearts,
And lead us through solitude into community.
Let our prayer inspire our service of others,
and our service show us our need for prayer.
May our silent contemplation bear fruit,
and proclaim that God lives in whose presence we stand.
Use our poverty, chastity, and obedience to be Good News for others.
We thank you for sustaining,
reforming and transforming us over centuries,
for the benefit of the Church and the world.
We thank you for the saints, those living and those one before,
who have shown us an ancient path to the Mountain that is Christ.
May all we do be done in your Word.
This we ask, in Jesus' name. Amen.

Diolch am ymweld ein safle we.
Bendith yr Arglwydd I chwi!

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May God bless you!


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