First Convent of Nuns in America
- Time Period
In 1790, 36 years after she left Maryland to become a Carmelite nun in Europe, Mother Bernardina Teresa Xavier of St. Joseph (1732-1800) returned to start the first Roman Catholic convent in America. She was accompanied by two nieces who also had left Maryland to become Carmelite nuns and a fourth nun born in England.Mother Bernardina had been coaxed to return by another relative -- a brother who was a priest in Maryland. "Now is the time to found in this country, for peace is declared and religion is free," he wrote in a letter. They came from Hoogstraet Carmel in Belgium and established a contemplative Discalced Carmelite monastery on three acres in Port Tobacco, Md.Their farm did not do well. In 1831, the nuns moved to Baltimore, where they started a female academy to help support their monastery.Today, there are approximately 60 Carmelite monasteries in the U.S.
- Interactive Timeline(s)
Catholic Religious Events and People in American History
- Religious Groups
Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other Timeline Event Entries
Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other Timeline Biography Entries
Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other ARDA Links
Mount Carmel monastery, Camden County, MD- Hathi Trust
Mother Clare Joseph Dickenson, one of the original four nuns- Hathi Trust
Carmelite convent, Baltimore, Maryland- Hathi Trust
- Web Source(s)
"Carmel of St. Therese of Lisieux (Loretto, Penn.) website, "History of the Carmelite Order"
Patheos website, "America’s First Monastery: The Carmelites in Maryland (1790)," by Pat McNamara
Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia, "Mathews, Ann Teresa"
- Web Page Contributor
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune