This red brick Discalced (barefoot) Carmelite monastery, loosely based on a convent in Lisieux, France, sits on fourteen acres in the Allegheny Mountains. The front of the two-and-one-half-story building is a shallow U shape; at the rear is an enclosed courtyard. Eighteen cells face this interior cloister for the nuns who withdraw from the world to focus intensely on God's work. The steeply sloping roof, diaper-patterned brickwork in the gable end above the chapel, and bell tower evoke the forms of the French monastery. The Discalced Carmelites came to the United States in the 1790s, but when this monastic group was exiled from France in the 1920s, they were invited to the Diocese of Altoona. Charles Schwab's sister, Mary Jane, who took the name Mary Cecelia of the Blessed Sacrament, joined the “barefoot nuns,” and area industrialist Schwab financed this convent in Loretto. Pittsburgh architect Lucian Caste made alterations to the chapel in 1967.
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Carmelite Monastery of St. Therese of Lisieux
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