The call to Carmel is a call to serve the Church through prayer and sacrifice. Our apostolate is contemplative prayer for the Church within enclosure.
The Order of Carmel dates to its spiritual founder, the prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel, 900 years before Christ. We are cloistered Carmelite nuns, following strict papal enclosure.
The essence of the Carmelite contemplative life is: living in the presence of God, in imitation of their most pure Mother Mary and the prophet Elijah. We pray especially for priests, religious and for all missionaries, and we pray and do penance for the whole world.
Carmelite tradition takes the Order of Carmel back nine centuries before Christ
to the time of the Prophet Elias who is considered its Founder.
St. Elias lived as a hermit on Mount Carmel in Palestine, which also
became a place of solitude for his disciples.
a long drought, he climbed to the summit of Carmel in order to beg
God’s help for his people. At his prayer, a little cloud was seen
rising up from the sea. It grew until it covered the sky and poured
forth a saving rainfall upon the earth.
Mother Church has always viewed this cloud as the prophetic
announcement of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was to bring forth the
The charism, or spiritual focus, of the Carmelite Order is contemplative prayer. The Order is under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary and thus has a strong Marian devotion.
As in most of the orders dating to medieval times, the First Order is the friars (who are active/contemplative), the Second Order is the nuns (who are cloistered), and the Third Order consists of laypeople who continue to live in the world, and can be married, but participate in the charism of the order by liturgical prayers, apostolates (ministries), and contemplative prayer.
There are also offshoots such as active Carmelite Sisters.
It is especially the Blessed Virgin Mary who is found across all the pages of the history of Carmel. The Order claims to have been founded in order to honor the Mother of God. Every Carmelite heart burns with a filial love for her and wills to imitate the hidden, silent life of the adoration of the Virgin of Nazareth.
A Carmelite’s day is centered on its summit, which is Mount Calvary – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There, we offer ourselves with Christ to fulfill the Divine Will in all that we will do during the day. At the foot of the Cross, and while reciting the Divine Office, we draw the graces and the strength we need for our own sanctification and for all souls.
Mental prayer is the cornerstone of Carmelite spirituality. Solitude, silence, detachment and mortification are the conditions of prayer and the negative aspect of the Carmelite spirituality, while prayer and union with God are its positive aspects. To be solid, prayer must be built on profound humility.