70th anniversary of our monastery
After World War II, for various reasons, a few Carmelite monks from the Polish province found themselves in western Europe. In 1948 three of them arrived in the United States and started work in American monasteries. In the following year they decided to establish a Polish monastery in the USA to work among a new wave of the Polish post war immigrants. In Autumn 1949 they opened a house in Hammond near Chicago, in 1952 they moved to Munster. On 17 June 1950 the Jurisdiction of Order Affairs carried out a canonical erection of a monastic house under the jurisdiction of the general of the order.
The year 2020 was a very special one for our Carmelite community, marking the Jubilee of the 70th anniversary of the founding of our monastery, which we solemnly celebrated beginning on January 17th with a Holy Mass of Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the majority of celebrations and other events connected with the Jubilee were cancelled because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, which paralyzed the entire world for many months. Nevertheless, at the beginning of February, we were able to successfully organize a Jubilee dinner-dance in our Banquet Hall to mark the occasion.
The most significant celebration of the Jubilee took place for the Solemnity of Our Lady of Ludźmierz, on August 16th. Despite many limitations resulting from the pandemic, the celebration brought together a numerous representation of Chicago’s Polonia as well as the English-speaking faithful from our local parishes. A special distinction for us was a congratulatory letter from Andrzej Duda, the President of the Republic Poland, which was publicly read during the ceremony by Piotr Semeniuk, the Polish Consul to Chicago.
As a special votive gift of thanksgiving to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of our monastery, funds were collected for a Jubilee Cross in our church, which was completed by the artist Leszek Maćkowiak with the cooperation of Andrzej Jędrzejczak (see further information posted on our website) and blessed on the Solemnity of Christ the King on November 22, 2020.
The thorough remodeling of the chapel’s interior was a further votive gift of thanksgiving for the grace of the Jubilee. Thanks to the great generosity and support on the part of the faithful and our benefactors, the main repairs carried out were the following: a new floor, a new altar of sacrifice and lectern sculpted in white marble, and a renovation of the pews. Apart from this, a new Tabernacle altar was built behind the main one, above which we placed the renovated image of the Blessed Mother, along with new statues, sculpted in Spain, of St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross, at each side, as well as new images (painted by Nadyia Savka) representing the Divine Mercy (a copy of the image in Vilnius) and St. Raphael Kalinowski. The remodeling-constructionwork, under the supervision of the designer Leszek Maćkowiak, was carried out by the Polish firm of Jan Król from Chicago.