A first look at Dolgellau Carmel
A visitor’s impression…
The Carmelite monastery of Dolgellau, the only Carmel in Wales, was founded in 1929 from the Carmel of Notting Hill, London. It is situated on the road ascending the Cader Idris mountain range in Dolgellau, in breathtakingly beautiful surroundings.
The unassuming brown gates can easily be missed; behind them stands a large house in peaceful grounds.
Most passers-by go little further than this, although the small chapel welcomes locals and holiday-makers for Mass and other services, and family or friends can meet Sisters in the parlour.
But that is as much of their life as the Sisters share with outsiders, because they are an enclosed Order.
Their separation from the world outside addresses the problems of rush and noise that so easily distract us from God. These Carmelites have devoted their whole lives to the service of God in prayer.
They live a life of solitude and silence in allegiance to Jesus Christ, and can trace their origins back to the hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land in the twelfth century.
They meet in the chapel-choir seven times a day to offer communal praise, but contemplation does not stop there. There are periods of private prayer and spiritual reading, and most work is done in silence and solitude to encourage and enable a oneness with God, yet the house is also permeated with a warmth and friendliness akin to that found in a loving family environment.
The community consists of around twelve members. Everyone is involved in the domestic duties of housework, cooking, laundry etc. The world’s preoccupation with rank is non-existent and Mother Prioress can be seen washing dishes alongside the novice, although her main role is spiritual leadership of the community. At least once a day the Sisters meet together for relaxation, sharing and mutual support.
The community tries to be as self-sufficient as possible, which means they can be seen using heavy equipment in the vegetable gardens and orchard, or wielding hammers and carpentry tools in house maintenance. They are determined and effective in such matters but still radiate the feminine virtues of gentleness, caring and humility.
The life-style is influenced by the Sisters’ vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. It is a simple life, in some areas quite hard without many modern-day luxuries easily taken for granted, yet attractive because very natural and healthy, and in this particular Carmel, enhanced by the fresh mountain air and awe-inspiring scenery.
To help finance running costs, the Sisters pack altar-breads for distribution and print cards and make other items for sale in their shop.
If you would like to know more about Carmelite life, please contact the Prioress at the address at top of this page.
Diolch am ymweld ein safle we. Bendith yr Arglwydd i chwi!
Thank you for visiting our website.
For more information and images of Dolgellau Carmel, visit us at
May God bless you!