Carmen Bajo church and convent on Olmedo y Venezuela encloses the modern or Calced Carmelites.
In Quito, mini doors commonly open from the big doors displaying statues for veneration while those doors remain locked. These modern Carmelites present Cristo de la Sentencia, or the Sentenced Christ.
When St. Teresa of Avila in Spain together with St. John of the Cross - under orders from the Pope - reformed her nuns to return to the ancient rule, this group rebelled. As a result, the saint became known as the foundress of the Discalced which comprise the Alto nuns - resulting in two Carmelite groups.
In 1669, this group of Carmelites came together in Latacunga, Ecuador. The June 20, 1698 Latacunga earthquake brought the whole building down. Someone shouted mysteriously, "Out! Out!" Obediently, they stepped outside.
In the cloister, before stepping outside, an unknown child also urgently warned them to go to the garden.
Their archives hold documentation that the Immaculate Virgin warned them of an impending earthquake while in Latacunga.
A fire smoked two statues, but the one of the Virgin of Anguish remained intact. Consequently, the bishop of Quito ordered those Carmelites transferred to Quito.
In 1706 they moved into their new cloister after having rented a place to stay. They stayed briefly with the Discalced Carmelites, but it didn't work out for them... not enough room.
Their home finally reached completion in 1745
Processions from this Carmel don't include the cloistered nuns, of course. The people process carrying the image of their patroness on the weekend closest to July 16, her feast day.
They process through the streets and then back - not to or from El Panecillo as does Carmen Alto.
They sell religious articles from inside the church, as they don't have a separate store, and that only before or after Mass. Sometimes they also sell religious articles from outside the door inside the fenced area.
An Ecce Homo statue and a few more pieces of art salvaged from the fire after the earthquake remain as a reminder from Latacunga to the Carmen Bajo church in Quito.
quito-colonial.com copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved.