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But at the start of the next academic year in August, the archdiocesan college seminary and its seminarians will have a new home just a mile away.
The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has agreed to purchase the facilities and the 17 acres belonging to the Carmel of the Resurrection, a community of Carmelite nuns who have lived in their monastery at 2500 Cold Spring Road in Indianapolis since 1932.
In recent years, the community, currently numbering 10 nuns, has found it increasingly difficult to manage the upkeep of their monastery and decided to move to the motherhouse of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Oldenburg, where they will have their own building.
Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel, vicar general, sees the upcoming transition in the use of the facilities as fitting into its long history.
“Those sisters have been a powerhouse of prayer for the local Church in the archdiocese,” he said. “Every day, they have been praying for the archdiocese. And I know good and well every day they pray for priests.
“And so this kind of fits right in that this space will continue to be part of the life of the archdiocese. It will continue to be a place of prayer and study and formation for future ministers—in this case, for priests.”
In a letter sent to supporters of her community, Carmelite Sister Jean Alice McGoff, prioress of the Carmel of the Resurrection, said that “this use of the property fulfills our dream that the monastery be used for a religious purpose and the building kept intact.”
Terms of the sale are pending, but they are expected to be finalized in the next two months.
The seminarians will continue to take classes at Marian College.
Msgr. Schaedel sees the emergence of the opportunity to purchase the monastery in a providential light.
Last October, Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein met with the seminary’s administrators, a board of priests who help draw up its policies, and other archdiocesan leaders to discuss the seminary’s future.
All agreed that the college seminary had been successful in its first three years in forming future priests, but archdiocesan leaders felt that the seminary needs to have a facility of its own, which would be a priority in the years to come.
Currently, 18 seminarians from the archdiocese and three other dioceses reside and receive formation within a larger dormitory on Marian’s campus, where other students also live.
At the same time that discussions were happening about how this separate facility could become a reality, Sister Jean Alice met with Msgr. Schaedel to talk with him about her community’s desire to move.
An agreement between the archdiocese and the Carmelites regarding the sale was made in the months that followed.
“I think Providence was definitely at work in it,” Msgr. Schaedel said. “It just came at the perfect time.”
Msgr. Schaedel said that other options to establish a separate facility for Bishop Bruté College Seminary would have involved a greater financial investment by the archdiocese than purchasing and renovating the Carmelite monastery.
“Whatever we need to do to bring this building up to snuff for a seminary is certainly going to be less than we would have spent otherwise,” he said.
Father Robert Robeson, rector of the Bishop Bruté College Seminary, said that having a place that is truly home will foster a greater sense of community among the seminarians.
“Community life is going to be much more vibrant within the seminary,” Father Robeson said. “[The seminarians] are going to have more responsibility for their property and their home.
“They’re not going to be living in a rented space owned by somebody else. They’re going to be living in their own home.”
The additional space in the new facilities will also allow formation conferences to be given in a manner that is geared more for individual classes rather than for the community as a whole, which has been happening, in part, because of space constraints.
Father Robeson also said that the separate facilities for the seminary will help increase the role that it has served in the life of the archdiocese.
“The Church of central and southern Indiana will be much more instrumental in playing a part in the formation of our seminarians,” he said. “And they have already. People know the seminarians.”
Father Robeson respects the tradition of prayer that has been carried on at the monastery for more than 75 years.
“We’re inheriting an environment that’s steeped in the Carmelite tradition,” he said. “And that’s something that I certainly want to honor. [I’ll] do my best to make sure that we appreciate and continue to advance the Carmelite charism.”
Father Robeson said that relocating the seminary from Marian’s campus to a place designed to foster prayer will aid the spiritual formation and vocational discernment of the seminarians.
“When you’re in the middle of a campus, there’s always something going on,” he said. “There will be benefits from being away from the center of activity.
“There will be times when we can maintain an environment of contemplative prayer in the seminary that you can’t really do while you’re on the college campus.”
Msgr. Schaedel recalled how, in past decades, hundreds of archdiocesan Catholics would gather on the grounds of the Carmelite monastery to pray a novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the days leading up to her feast day on July 16.
“We were invoking her guidance and protection on the archdiocese,” he said. “And this is one more example that she is still at it.”