This year, the Order of Discalced Carmelite Friars in Washington D.C.  and Groundswell will continue to follow Jesus’ call to love our neighbors through the benefits created by the recently energized solar project at the Monastery of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

In March, our community solar project at the Monastery of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was interconnected to the grid, and community solar subscriptions for 50 DC households were energized. Those subscriptions to this 151 kW solar project located in Ward 5 include 12 Empowered, or income-qualified, households. Empowered households receive a subscription at no cost to help them cut their electricity bills nearly in half, saving them approximately $500 per year on their electricity bills. That is more than $120,000 in aggregate savings for families over the 20-year life of the project. 

With this energization, we wanted to share a letter from Father Salvatore Sciurba:

While the first Carmelites were hermits on Mt. Carmel, the Discalced Carmelites owe their existence to St. Teresa of Jesus of Avila, in sixteenth-century Spain. She was inspired to found one house where the community would be few in number, and all would be equal. She wanted the lifestyle to be simple and prayerful.

Her vision caught on. In her lifetime, she founded 17 monasteries of women and was instrumental, with the collaboration of St. John of the Cross, in the founding of the first two monasteries of friars. This is quite remarkable when you consider that women in her day were not taken seriously.   She composed a number of works, now considered Classics of Spirituality, that were submitted to the Inquisition. She was deeply contemplative yet eminently practical as well. 

Today we friars, her sons, live a monastic life of prayer together in community. We are engaged in various ministries. Here in D.C., we are involved mostly in publications and retreat work. One of our friars directs a program at Catholic University. When Groundswell offered us the opportunity to install solar panels, we gladly accepted. We wanted to protect the environment, and we were especially pleased that the electricity to be generated would benefit our neighbors. 

We are grateful that this project will have a positive effect on our neighborhood. What a fine way of observing the commandment of Jesus: “Love your neighbor.”

Fr Salvatore, OCD

Prior

Discalced Carmelite Friars