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Statement from Bishop Erik Pohlmeier  Regarding Unapproved Religious Orders and Fundraising Efforts


It has come to our attention that an article has been circulating about the establishment of a new Carmelite monastery in High Springs, Fla., led by Sister Loretta-Maria of the Blessed Trinity and the Rosary. This monastery is described as an autonomous entity, independent of any diocese, and not under the direct oversight or approval of the Vatican.

I wish to clarify that this new religious order and its associated activities are not approved by the Vatican or myself as the bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine. The diocese recognizes and adheres to the guidelines set forth by the Holy See regarding the establishment and operation of religious communities. Any religious community or order operating within a diocese must be in full communion with and receive approval from the Vatican and the local bishop. Furthermore, the article states that Bishop Athanasius Schneider has given “his blessing” to Sister Loretta-Maria’s efforts. Bishop Schneider is the auxiliary bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan and therefore, has no governing authority or jurisdiction in the Diocese of St. Augustine. 

Additionally, it is important to address the fundraising efforts related to this new monastery. The faithful of the Diocese of St. Augustine should be aware that the High Springs Carmelite monastery has no relationship with the Discalced Carmelite Nuns who moved from Buffalo, N.Y., to Jacksonville in January 2024. The Jacksonville Carmelites, who are approved by the Vatican, are a legitimate monastic community under the vigilance of myself as bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine.

We urge the faithful to support only those communities that are in full communion with the Church’s legitimate authorities. The Jacksonville Carmelites of the Monastery of the Little Flower of Jesus have received proper approval and are in good standing with the diocese and the Vatican. Contributions to this approved community can be made through their official website by visiting https://www.carmeljax.org/how-can-i-help.

May we all continue to seek the greater glory of God through unity and obedience to the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

Yours in Christ,
Most Rev. Erik Pohlmeier
Bishop of St. Augustine

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