Czech nuns learn to drive skid steer loader
By Catrin Jones16 February 2022
The order of Discalced Carmelite Nuns in the Czech Republic have been working hard to turn a former farming property into their new home. The nuns have employed a variety of techniques to achieve their goal, including the use of a 1997 Bobcat 773 skid-steer loader, which they have learnt to operate themselves.
The nuns were lent the machine by the owners and have been using it in a basic configuration – with a bucket and fitted with pallet forks to transport materials about the site.
Sister Milada, a member of the order, said, “When we bought the area in Drasty, it was clogged up with a number of landfills and overgrown with mature trees. We soon found out that we needed machines and equipment for these difficult initial jobs, so some of us learned to drive a tractor, use a chainsaw or brushcutter and to operate the Bobcat loader.
“The latter helped us a lot right from the beginning when we needed to move around any heavy materials, especially large tree stumps for burning. Later, we used it to transport pallets with bricks, soil, stone, for landscaping in the meadow and to add gravel to the roads in the forest park.”
Reconstruction of the convent complex has been gradual. In March 2020, the nuns opened the Manor House, which provides them with temporary accommodation and will later be a welcome point for visitors.
In October last year, a construction company started work on a new convent and church in a contract signed with the sisters. This followed on from three years of work by the sisters and volunteers to prepare the land and forest on the estate for the construction work.