|Who are the Discalced Carmelites|
The Discalced Carmelites are men and women, in religious consecration and lay people, who dedicate themselves to a life of prayer. The Carmelite nuns live in cloistered (enclosed) monasteries and follow a completely contemplative life. The Carmelite friars while following a contemplative life also engage in the promotion of spirituality through their retreat centres, parishes and churches. Lay people, known as the Secular Order, follow their contemplative call in their everyday activities. Devotion to Our Lady is a characteristic of our life and is symbolised by wearing the Brown Scapular.
The Carmelites began on Mount Carmel in Israel in the 12th century as a group of hermits - hence the name Carmelites. In the early 1200's they asked St Albert of Jerusalem to give them rule of life. They were also inspired by the prophet Elijah who had been associated with Mount Carmel. That influence can be seen by the words of Elijah, "I have been very zealous for the Lord, God of armies" (IKg 19:10) on the Carmelite crest. Within fifty years of receiving their rule the Carmelite hermits were forced to leave Mount Carmel and settled in Europe. The Carmelites needed reform in the 16th century and this was led by Sts Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. The new Order was known as the Discalced Carmelites.
For more on the early history of the Carmelites ...