BY JOE RODRIGUEZ

The Wichita Eagle (Kansas, USA)

A group of nuns has received approval to proceed with plans to build a monastery north of Kechi.

The
Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Commission last week
unanimously approved a conditional use permit requested by the
Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the Monastery of Divine Mercy and Our Lady
of Guadalupe. They want to build a monastery on 40 acres near Woodlawn
and 77th North.

The Carmelite nuns live a cloistered life,
a life they choose in order to offer themselves as a form of prayer for
others and to be united as much as possible with God, living as brides
of Christ.

The nuns were welcomed to the Catholic Diocese
of Wichita in 2000 from Gallup, N.M., after the bishop there could not
guarantee a chaplain to celebrate Mass at their remote monastery
because of a shortage of priests.

They currently live in a house in Clearwater.

Monsignor
Robert Hemberger, vicar general of the diocese, said that the diocese
continues to provide priests to say Mass daily for the Carmelites. But
the nuns are not tied to the diocese financially or by assignment, he
said.

"They pride themselves on being autonomous," he said.

A
nun who answered a phone call to the monastery on Thursday said that
she wanted to speak with other nuns and pray before commenting.

Derrick
Slocum, associate planner for the planning department, said that
barring any protests over the next two weeks, the planning commission’s
vote would be final. Should there be a protest, the issue would need
approval from the Sedgwick County Commission, he said.

According
to the staff report, the monastery will be built on a donated tract of
land. The report said that the development will have a maximum of two
group residences, each with a maximum occupancy of 15 people.

Hemberger said that there are nine Carmelites currently at the monastery.

source URL: http://www.kansas.com/topstories/story/787822.html

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