2020 Carmelite Fair canceled, online fundraising under way to help the nuns
Friday, Jul. 03, 2020
Intermountain Catholic file photo
Traditionally, dancers provide much of the entertainment at the annual Carmelite fair.
HOLLADAY — For decades, the Carmelite monastery in Holladay has hosted a fair in late summer that raises funds to help the nuns continue their ministry of prayer for the world.
This year, however, the fair has been cancelled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Now the Carmelite nuns and their supporters are trying to find creative ways to make up for the loss.
The fair is the only fundraiser for the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; it is their main financial support to pay for maintenance of the monastery, the nuns’ medical expenses, housing expenses, chaplaincy and other costs.
“Their vocation to pray for the world; solitude and peace is a model to us all, especially now when we are all required to accept more solitude,” said Shari Seiner, who helps organize the Carmelite Fair. “It would be great if we could all do that with the peace and grace they do. And in these trying times, the world could use more prayer.”
Seiner’s commitment to the Carmelites goes back many years.
“My late husband, Jerry Seiner, and I have been long-time supporters of the Carmelite sisters,” she said. “This started when he began providing a car as the grand prize for the Carmelite Fair raffle many years ago, and we also supported them through personal donations.”
Shari Seiner became very close to Mother Therese Bui, the monastery’s superior, three years ago when the nun prayed for her husband during his last days.
“It brought him so much comfort and peace, and I vowed to continue to support them however I could,” said Seiner, and she has.
When it became clear that this year’s fair might have to be canceled, Mother Therese contacted Seiner.
“The car had already been donated by my husband’s son-in-law, Chris Hemmersmeier, who now owns the dealership,” said Seiner, adding that the Carmelites were concerned about what to do with the car.
Seiner suggested that the monastery create an account through GoFundMe, which is an online fundraising platform.
“The Carmelite Fair Board also met and discussed setting up a GoFundMe, so, luckily, everyone involved was thinking in the same direction,” Seiner said. “We’ve actually set up two GoFundMe pages, one on the regular platform, www.gofundme.com, and one on the charity platform.”
Taking in consideration that more than 3,000 people attend the fair every year, “without the Fair revenue, [the Carmelites] would need some way to solicit donations and, being the humble women they are, that would be very difficult for them,” Seiner said. “They were reluctant to set up a GoFundMe campaign for fear of asking too much of the community.”
For information about how to donate, see the box, above.
“The sisters are planning to hold the fair again in 2021, and are looking forward to being able to provide that for the community again,” Seiner said. “They were heartbroken to have to cancel, but know it’s for the best.”
Ways to help the Carmelite nuns
The Carmelite Fair will not be held this year, depriving the nuns at the monastery in Holladay of their only fundraiser. However, the nuns are accepting donations. Donations may be made online at charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/carmelite-nuns-fundraiser or mailed to the Carmelites Monastery at 5714 S. Holladay Blvd, Salt Lake City, 84121.