Almost 20 years ago, a Carmelite convent was founded just outside of Florida, a city in southern Uruguay. Twelve Carmelite sisters live there today, practicing perpetual prayer in accordance with the rule of their foundress, St. Teresa of Avila. The community continues to attract young women, who are interested in its atmosphere of holiness and the life of prayer.
Latin America is generally considered Catholic, but Uruguay, its second smallest country, has a long secular history. In the 19th century, public expression of religion was banned, and the government made numerous provocations against the Catholic Church. For example, on Good Friday, a day of fasting and abstinence for Catholics, the government would arrange free barbecues.