Therese Duchesne

Founder of Mahapajapati Monastery

Our founder, Therese Duchesne, envisioned a place where female monastics in the Theravada Buddhist tradition could live, study, and practice. Therese was seeking a Dhamma community and support for her Parami in 2007. Finally, Ayya Gunasari became the first abbess and spiritual director of the community that Therese wanted to create Sangha.

Before Therese donated the 80 acres of beautiful high desert property that would eventually become the monastery’s land, she wanted to ensure that it would be suitable. She had a well drilled, and it was when there was water that she knew her dream to see a monastery on the property could become a reality.

Therese’s friend David Bricker stepped in administratively to help create Mahapajapati Foundation, the non-profit stewardship organization that would own the property and support the monastic community. Therese then built the first kuti and an outhouse, and eventually, the main monastery building.

With the organization and structures now in place, Therese donated the entire property to Mahapajapati Foundation. Over the years, her generous support has helped provide for additional structures as the monastery has grown.

David Bricker, Ayya Gunasari, & Therese Duchesne