A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Carmel in Iceland

In June 1939, three Carmelite nuns from Holland arrived in Iceland, where they established themselves in Hafnarfjordhur, near Reykjavik, the capital. The Hitler War started soon afterwards, during which no other Sisters were able to join them. In 1943, then, they accepted the hospitality of Carmelite nuns in the United States, where they remained until 1945, when, with the end of hostilities, they returned to Iceland. Later, with more nuns from Holland joining them, they were able to enlarge their convent. Their last postulant, a Dutch girl, arrived in 1962, and made her final profession in 1967. The community now numbers fifteen, all of them, at present, Dutch.

The chapel is big enough for about forty, though, rarely is there more than a handful in the congregation. Christmas is a notable exception. Last year at Midnight Mass there were fifty people present -- and only three of them Catholics! Moreover, non-Catholics often call at the convent, or telephone, to ask for the prayers of the Sisters.   

August 1970

The Iceland Carmelites’ web address:


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