Manual Labor




“Carmel reproduces the simple life of Nazareth, and the daily household tasks, as well as those designed to support and maintain the nuns, lend the spirit of family-living to these ‘dovecotes of Our Lady.’”






The ancient rule of Carmel and the early commentaries emphasize the primordial role of work in Carmel. This is a form of abnegation as well as discipline, and great stress is laid on the value of avoiding all laziness and inaction, of using the contemplative life as an excuse for inertia and idleness.




The strong, hard asceticism of the desert finds no place for those who make a pretense of devotion to cover their inactivity.

St. Teresa, who had experienced the abuses that arise in a large convent without the balance and discipline of work, made this a part of her Constitutions. She laid emphasis on all working for the support of the Monastery, and on keeping everything in great order and cleanliness.






Aside from the practical necessity of those who are poor earning their bread, St. Teresa recognized the balancing and liberating effects of manual work, and she desired this for her nuns. She was the first to give the example of working with spirit and energy.






Manual work has an affinity with simplicity and humility, so dear to the heart of St. Teresa, and those who work with their hands have a balance and stability that is healthy for mind and body as well as spirit.




“There is a joy in work, a satisfaction in the accomplishing of those tasks that make for order and beauty within the cloister.” (from Strong Friends of God)