A former Carmelite hermit, Fr. Daniel Mary, who founded a monastic community in 2003, has the unusual problem of finding a larger home for the flourishing monastery. The possible solution for the community is one that reminds you that their home is in the Wild West.
The eight Carmelites who live in a four-bedroom home in the mountains are hoping to move to a much larger, 492-acre property once owned by Buffalo Bill, a Catholic who received the Last Rites before he died.
The new grounds would also house the 35 men in various stages of discernment.
The Window reports that while "Buffalo Bill's house is dilapidated, but the newer lodge on the property was meant to be a monastery," said Fr. Daniel Mary of Jesus Crucified, the forty-year old prior of the community.
The community was founded on October 15, 2003, the feast of St. Theresa of Avila when Fr. Daniel, who had been living as a Carmelite hermit in Minnesota, asked permission from his prior to start a monastic community.
He struggled with the loss of vocations of his fellow hermits, “young men simply could not adjust to the solitary life; they needed a community…”
Fr. Daniel was given permission to contact Bishop Ricken in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The bishop had previously stated that he was looking for Carmelites to live in his diocese.
Fr. Daniel told Deal Hudson that, "I think we are the only community of Carmelite Monks in the world that live a cloistered life." The eight brothers live in a "constitutional enclosure," which they can leave only for medical reasons. They do, however, foster relationships with their families, who can stay at the guesthouse.
Even though they do not interact with the public outside of the community, they do sell coffee. Their website www.carmelitemonks.org advertises their heavenly roast, “Mystic Monk Coffee.”
"Out here in Wyoming there's not much you can do. I have a brother, Michael Mary, who worked in coffee shops all his life and really has a lot of knowledge about coffee, so we just went for the gusto and tried it." They started selling coffee in June of this year, and sales are already brisk. "It was just meant to be, I guess," says Fr. Daniel.
The Carmelites aim to transform the world by prayer and penance. Their vision is three-fold. First, to strengthen cloistered monks, hermits and priests in the ministry of preaching, second, to have a retreat center for lay visitors, and finally, to have a Gothic Church nestled in the Rocky Mountains.
To send a donation or books for their monastery library, please write:
P.O. Box 2747
Cody, WY 82414-2747