The Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Prague have called their monastery home for more than two centuries. When they decided to move from central Prague to a new village east of the city, they were met with a few challenges.
The Carmelite Nuns chose a former farm in the village of Drasty, which has a history dating back to 1305. When they moved in 2018, they found a plethora of dilapidated structures and landscaping. The nuns have since transformed the farm into a new convent complex that will serve the people of the community. They chose to take on the work themselves, rolling up their sleeves and turning to the help of a Bobcat® 773 skid-steer loader.
Putting 25-year-old equipment to the test
The nuns found that the job at hand was much easier to accomplish with a Bobcat 773 skid-steer loader, which was built in 1997. The equipment, which was borrowed from a local family, is used with a bucket and pallet forks to transport materials around the jobsite. The nuns have been impressed with the condition and power of the loader, they say, in thanks to the robust construction and regular servicing of the equipment.
“When we bought the area in Drasty, it was full of landfills and overgrown with mature trees,” says Sister Milada. “Knowing that we wouldn’t have enough money to repair the whole yard, we decided to do some of the work on our own or with the help of volunteers. We soon found out that we needed machines and equipment for those difficult initial jobs, so some of us learned how to use a chainsaw, drive a tractor, and operate the Bobcat loader. The loader helped us early-on when we needed to move around heavy materials, especially large tree stumps for burning. Later, we used it to transport pallets with bricks, soil and stone for landscaping the meadow and to add gravel to the roads.”
The nuns started by hiring out the work, but after realizing they could accomplish it on their own, they began renting equipment.
“I like the simple, intuitive operation of the Bobcat loader, and the fact that it can be used for many different tasks,” says Sister Terezka. “It is excellent for transporting any heavy materials that we don’t have to carry by hand or with wheelbarrows. We use it to reach less accessible places, and it has come in handy for landscaping and level tasks. The loader has saved us a lot of time and energy.”
A gradual transformation
Reconstruction of the convent complex has been ongoing since they moved in several years ago. In March 2020, the nuns opened the Manor House, which provides them with temporary housing and will later become a welcome center for visitors. In October 2021, a local construction company started work on building a new convent and church.
The new location provides more room than the original building on Hradčany Square near Prague Castle. They now have access to a bigger garden, which brings them closer to nature and the community.