NEW YORK (May. 24)
After years of international diplomatic wrangling, four of the nuns from the Carmelite convent at Auschwitz have moved into a new convent, built across the road and off the grounds of the former death camp.
The four Carmelite nuns moved into their new cloister on Monday and consecrated the new convent, participating in the first mass there.
According to Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy, who conducted the mass at the new convent and oversees the archdiocese which includes Auschwitz, the remaining nuns will leave the old convent by the end of the June.
There are believed to be 10 more nuns in the old convent, all of whom plan to go to other convents.
The news of the four nuns’ move was made public by Kalman Sultanik, vice president of the World Jewish Congress, who received a letter from Rakoczy on Monday stating that the move to the new convent had taken place.
“This marks a new positive chapter in Catholic-Jewish relations,” Sultanik said.
Plans for the move had been discussed since 1986, when negotiations first took place between representatives of the Jewish community and the Catholic Church over the controversial and sensitive issue of the convent.