Perhaps you’ve heard Reno has a monastery of Carmelite nuns, one with breathtaking views overlooking the city skyline. Maybe you’ve driven down Plumb Lane and seen the “Carmel of Reno” directional signage, wondering what it meant. Or it’s possible this is your first time hearing of a monastery or Carmel of Reno. Regardless of your familiarity with the concept, now is your chance to pay a visit.
For the past 41 years on the first Sunday of November, the Carmelite sisters have hosted an open house to share their sanctuary and their art — in the form of holiday and all-occasion cards, frameable prints and CDs. Everything at the open house, happening this Sunday, Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be original artwork created by the sisters of Carmel of Reno. Immediately after the open house, guests are welcome to stay and join in prayer for their departed loved ones.
“The contemplative life naturally gives itself to artists and their work,” explains Sister Claire Sokol, O.C.D., about the abundance of art created at the monastery. “Out of the contemplative life, artistic expression flows very naturally. This can take many forms, including visual art and music.”
A self-sustaining sanctuary
The sisters began their print shop in 1954 as a way to support themselves. Though the shop is now completely modern and digital, back in the day the sisters had to operate heavy equipment. This is one of the reasons the Carmel of Reno sisters do not wear the habits traditionally associated with nuns – the sleeves would frequently get caught in the machinery.
Sister Claire explains that selling original artwork is just one of the reasons for the open house.
“While the open house does allow us to be self-supportive, we also love to connect with friends,” she says. “This is a great opportunity to meet new friends and connect with those who have been coming to our events for years.
“And it makes it a little less scary for people to know what those ladies on the top of the hill are doing,” she laughs.
A place of peaceful reflection
Even if you’re not in the market for cards, prints or music, you may want to visit the monastery, which many describe as a wonderful place filled with peace. A visit to such a contemplative place can be especially important as we embark on what can be the most stressful time of the year.
“It’s important for us to hold open a space where others can join us in prayer and positive energy,” Sister Claire says. “Some people visit the chapel and pray, while others wander the grounds. It’s not important that they buy anything. All are welcome here.”
In addition to the open house, the sisters host other events throughout the year, including monthly contemplative prayer groups, concerts and philosophical conversations.
“Sometimes we have to come away to the silence so we can be open to God’s presence,” Sister Claire describes. “The presence of love is always available, but sometimes we’re too busy to receive it. We can do that every day of our lives, but sometimes it’s nice to have a special place for it.”
Carmel of Reno, 1950 La Fond Drive, Reno, NV 89509
41st Annual Printshop Open House
Sunday, November 3rd, 10am - 4pm
The day closes at 4:00 pm with a prayer service dedicated to departed loved ones.