Mount Carmel, the first residence for the Carmelites in Niagara Falls was originally a simple rectory for those priests serving the parish community, Our Lady of Peace. The monastery was then constructed in 1894 as a training center for young Carmelites, as well as a hospice to welcome pilgrims to the majestic beauty of falls to encounter God’s creative presence.
In 1925, the chapel and another section of building were added to accommodate an increasing number of Carmelite students. The chapel, in its elegant simplicity, contains many symbols of the Carmelite tradition. Most striking are the priceless stained glass windows, imported from England and stained in Toronto by McCausland Limited. The upper series of the windows depict the life of Mary while the lower series portrays the life of the prophet Elijah. The tile floor was imported from Belgium; the colors in the tiles represent the Marian and Elian traditions of the Order. The Carmelites use the three tiers of choir stalls, lining each side of the chapel, during the monastery’s liturgical celebrations.
The main altar, the most prominent and central feature in the chapel, displays a carved statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelite Order. Mary stands on a cloud bearing the Christ Child in her left arm, while with her right hand she extends the Brown Scapular, a traditional devotion of the Carmelite Order. To the left of Mary's statue is a smaller image of the prophet Elijah, a key inspiration for the Carmelites as they strive to seek God in our world. The small statue on the right portrays St. Albert of Jerusalem holding the “formula vitae” or Rule he authored, the foundational document of the Carmelites to this day. The right side of the chapel has a side altar dedicated to St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, a very well known French Carmelite saint who is patroness of vocations and missions. The altar on the left of the chapel is dedicated to St. Joseph, husband of Mary and the protector of the Carmelite Order.
Mount Carmel Monastery and its Spiritual Centre continue to this day to welcome pilgrims seeking rest and renewal.