Mobile, Alabama ~ Carmel of St. Joseph

First Carmelite Monastery 1943

The plan to have a Carmelite Monastery in Alabama originated with the desire of Father Frank Casey, SSE (Society of Saint Edmund), superior of the Edmundite Fathers in Selma, Alabama. Father Casey wanted a cloistered community to be founded in the area to give prayerful support to their difficult work. Father Casey asked Archbishop Thomas J. Toolen to invite a community of nuns to Selma, AL. Archbishop Toolen, however, insisted that the foundation be made in the See City of Mobile. Archbishop Toolen and Father Casey appealed to Richard Cardinal Cushing of Boston, Massachusetts, for funds to purchase the Holcombe estate, a farmhouse located at 716 Dauphin Island Parkway. Mother Gertrude, Prioress of the Carmelite Monastery in Philadelphia, was contacted by Archbishop Toolen and four nuns volunteered to come to Mobile. The nuns arrived in the “Deep South, the heart of Dixie,” on October 7, 1943, Feast of the Holy Rosary. On November 2, 1943, the nuns moved into their monastery. Archbishop Toolen celebrated the first Mass and established enclosure the following day, November 3.

Foundresses of Mobile Carmel

By 2009 the four remaining nuns and one extern could no longer continue their life in Carmel due to advanced age. They asked Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi if he would find a community of young nuns who would be willing to come to Mobile to carry on the contemplative life of Carmel.

Archbishop Rodi was able to find a monastery of nuns in Nha Trang, Vietnam who were willing to travel to Mobile, AL and to give new life to the struggling community. In 2010 an extensive renovation of the monastery was made and on February 20, 2011 eight nuns arrived in Mobile from Vietnam. They were welcomed by the Religious of the Archdiocese, the Vietnamese community and many benefactors and friends at the airport.

Recently four of the nuns became American citizens in a ceremony in Montgomery, AL. The other nuns also planning to become citizens in the near future.

Because of the heroic sacrifice of the Sisters from Vietnam, the Carmelite Monastery of Mobile, AL joyfully celebrated their 75th Anniversary in 2018.

Contact Mobile Carmel


Carmelite Monastery

716 Dauphin Island Parkway Mobile, AL 36606 USA