Carmelite Shield

The Chapel of the Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel

A Sacred Place of Prayer

We invite you to join us, the Carmelite Hermits of Lake Elmo, Minnesota, in creating a special place of prayer for the Church and for the world: the Chapel of the Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. Our chapel will be a sacred space for the worship of God and a reflection of the beauty of the Virgin Mary whom we call “Beauty of Carmel.” Presently our Hermitage is seriously hampered by a lack of space. We wish to build a public chapel capable of serving our growing community as well as our guests. The beauty of our liturgical services, the secluded atmosphere of the Hermitage, and the sense of the spiritual world made perceptible are important aspects of the life of the hermitage. We have prepared a short video about our life and have posted a set of preliminary drawings of our new chapel. We invite you to view them and to make a donation to our chapel.

Campaign Goal: $4,500,000
47% - Funded $2,112,653 - Raised through the generous contributions of 270 donors. 53% - Remain

Architectural Plans

We are pleased to share the preliminary plans of our new chapel prepared by our architect, Duncan Stroik of the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Stroik is one of the leading architects in the design of new Catholic Churches. His past projects include the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin, the chapel at Saint Thomas Aquinas Collage in California, and the new organ case and renovation of the choir loft at the Cathedral of Saint Paul.

Exterior Perspective

The architectural design of our new chapel is inspired by the early Christian basilicas of Rome and Ravenna, and in particular, old Saint Peter's and the church of Saint Mary Major in Rome, and the two churches dedicated to Saint Apollinaris in Ravenna. The exterior of the chapel will be built of brick and limestone to match the existing buildings of the Hermitage.

The façade is modeled on that of Sant’ Apollinare in Classe (below right), while the transept and apse (not visible) is reminiscent of Saint Mary Major. Like Sant' Apollinare the entrance to our chapel is preceded by a loggia that is a covered walkway which allows visitors to enter the chapel under a protective roof. Above the loggia the trinity window allows the light of the setting sun to illuminate the sanctuary. Surmounting the trinity window will be a statue of the Virgin Mary, patroness of the chapel.

Front Elevation
Saint' Apollinare in Classe
Site Plan

The Carmelite Rule prescribes that the chapel "should be built as conveniently as possible in the midst of the cells," which are the individual dwellings of the members of the community. Consequently we built our community building, cloister, and eight cells (hermitages) to the east (right) of the future chapel highlighted in red. The cloister walkways will be extended providing access to the chapel. Additional hermitages may be added to the north and south of the chapel.

The floor plan show the chapel divided into three sections: the sanctuary, the monastic choir, and the section for the public. The sanctuary contains the altar, tabernacle, crucifix, and apse mosaic. It is flanked by two small chapels dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. Our community gathers in the monastic choir several times per day to chant the services of the Divine Office and Holy Mass. Because we are a cloistered community, a simple partition separates the monastic choir from the section available to guests and visitors who wish to pray with us. Our new chapel will provide seating for eighty guests.

Floor Plan

This interior view of the Chapel shows the sanctuary and monastic choir. The columns and arches in the nave are reminiscent of the church Sant' Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna. Above all it is the mosaics above the arches that

Interior Perspective

show the similarities between our chapel and that of Sant' Apollinare (pictured right). The spectacular sixth century mosaics in the church of Sant' Apollinare depict the saints bringing up their gifts in the offertory procession. The mosaics in our chapel will likewise depict the procession of the saints, but in our case they will be saints of the Carmelite Order. The mosaic in the apse depicts Our Lady of Mount Carmel surrounded by the Prophets Elijah and Elisha and other Carmelite saints.

Sant' Apollinare Nuovo Sant' Apollinare Nuovo

We prayerfully ask your consideration of a gift to help us build this house of God, a sacred place of prayer for the people of God. We invite you to contact us with your questions at: