Marylake Monastery East End Arkansas

Touring Marylake Carmelite Monastery

The first time Colton took me to his little hometown of East End, Arkansas, he drove me around in his truck to see all the sights. He showed me the Sonic, the East End Cafe, the hardware store where he worked in high school, and the backroads he loved. He finally meandered down a road not too far from his house and looked over at me with a knowing smile. “You’re going to love this,” he said as he pointed out the passenger seat window. I glanced out the window and saw the most gorgeous building I had ever seen. He explained that the building and the small lake surrounding it is Marylake Carmelite Monastery, home of the Discalced Carmelite Friars of the Province of St. Therese. Yes, there are friars in East End, Arkansas. From the moment I saw the monastery, the inner photographer/historian in me was burning to see it up close. So earlier this month, I emailed the Superior Friar, Brother John Michael Payne for the chance to tour the grounds and photograph the exterior of the building. And last week, he said yes.

We arrived on the property and immediately began to explore the immense grounds, a little dog named Basil (as in the herb) leading the way.  The terrace resembles that of a Spanish mansion with ironwork accents along the cobblestone walls.  I could live on that terrace alone.  It was absolutely breathtaking!  The grounds also feature a spillway, which offers a glorious view of the monastery building, as well as a suspension bridge, a cemetery, and various benches next to statues of saints where the friars may sit and mediate in peace.

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17 thoughts on “Touring Marylake Carmelite Monastery

    1. Oh wow, small world! The brothers who live there are very nice and the land is definitely worth seeing. I haven’t been inside, the building, but my fiance’s mom has and it’s also just as beautiful as the grounds!

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  1. Thank you for the photos. I’m a Secular Carmelite (OCDS) and member of the Oklahoma Province. Not sure I’ll ever get to Arkansas so I really enjoyed the photos to see the monastery.

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  2. My uncle was Father Raphael Kitz who lived in that Monestery for over 20 years. He just recently passed away and I flew from Minnesota to Mary Lake to say my good bye’s and I was overly impressed at how beautiful it was down there and how friendly everyone there was. So I am glad to see other people think the same thing.

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  3. Thanks you so much for sharing your pictures of Marylake. My brother-in-law and his wife live not far from the monastery and we have driven by several times just so I can get a look at it. I have taken a few pictures from the road but nothing as beautiful as yours. I would so love to be able to tour the grounds and enjoy the peace they seem to bring to me as we drive by. We will be visiting our family in October and told my husband we just had to drive by so I can have another look at that lovely setting.

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  4. Never knew such a beautiful place existed here in Arkansas took a wrong turn and ran up on this and it was seriously a breathtaking moment. Beautiful and of course I was about to get hit in traffic I had to stop and take a picture 😂….

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