Renovation of Martin County Convent reaches next phase

The Martin County Convent Foundation has raised $3.5 million to rebuild the entire monastery to its 1880s form.
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 9:01 PM CST
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STANTON, Texas (KOSA) - For decades, the Martin County Convent has attempted to undergo major renovations. Still, it wasn’t until recently that work to fix up the main building, the Carmelite Monastery, gained steam.

Renovations on the monastery picked up steam about five years ago, and for the many people who have worked to restore a piece of West Texas history, the goal is in sight.

“The building was dilapidated,” said Reggie Baker, the Martin County Convent Foundation Board of Directors President.

But now, the building is as good as new—er—old.

“We restored it to its Monastic period of 1884 to 1886,” Baker said.

Baker has played a key role in getting the building to where it is today.

“[The Carmelite monks] just kind of captured my imagination because they so much represented the pioneering spirit,” Baker said.

It took a pioneering spirit to lift the monastery out of a decades-long renovation rut.

The foundations used a specialized Arizona construction company to fix the four-foot thick adobe walls, work the gothic windows back into form, and complete a new pavilion.

Regenia hunt grew up coming to events at the monastery. Now, she’s helping restore and recreate it.

“This is wonderful,” Hunt said. “This is my dream job.”

However, that doesn’t mean she envies the monks who lived in it during the 1880s.

“There’s no way I could’ve been a monk,” she laughed. “I need way too much sleep. I would’ve been the cranky one.”

Hopefully, the ‘Convent Foundation’ is getting enough sleep because there’s still work to be done.

The Foundation has raised $3.5 million to construct two more buildings: Marienfeld Hall and St. Joseph’s Church.

The construction of the two buildings will complete the rebuild of the original monastery grounds, even down to the vineyards.

The goal is not only to provide an experience but an immersion.

“It goes beyond just a mere museum,” Baker said. “You’re living history.”

The Convent Foundation has two major fundraisers, one of which is coming up. The 33rd Annual Great Texas Soup Cook-Off takes place on Feb. 11 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Martin County Community Center. For more information about how to participate, email