DUBUQUE — Mount Carmel in Dubuque, the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs), was designated as a “PokeStop” recently by the location-based Nintendo game “Pokemon Go.”
This video game is a phenomenon sweeping the globe in which players try to find Pokemon cartoon characters in the real world at specific sites. Some of the BVM sisters at Mt. Carmel noticed children and young adults stopping near the Mount buildings, which overlook the Mississippi River, to find characters after the game was released in the United States July 6, according to the congregation’s communications director Angie Connolly.
Other locations important to Catholics in the Archdiocese of Dubuque have also been designated as PokeStops. The game, for example, is literally leading people to Jesus — in this case, the Jesus statue in front of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Dubuque. In addition to this site, there are many area churches in the archdiocese that are designated by the game as PokeStops. The game, which can be downloaded as an “app” on smart phones, operates much like a traditional scavenger hunt mixed with virtual reality.
When the players show up at designated locations, they find various characters that appear on their phones when the devices are pointed at specific locations. The technology uses GPS tracking connected to the phones to make this possible.
The sisters were surprised, but have been welcoming of the visitors. The BVMs in Dubuque were founded by Mary Frances Clarke in Ireland, and came to the United States over 175 years ago to serve immigrants. They currently engage in many different ministries in the United States. Mt. Carmel is the spiritual home for over 380 women who are BVM sisters. It is also the physical home of over 170 retired sisters and the administrative center for the congregation, connecting the 200 sisters who are in ministry beyond “the hill,” according to the BVM sisters’ website. For more information on the BVMs, visit http://www.bvmcong.org.
For more information on the BVMs, visit http://www.bvmcong.org//
PHOTO: A photographer captured images of some visitors to Mount Carmel in Dubuque who came as part of the Pokemon Go video game. The Mount is the motherhouse for the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Contributed photo)