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Saturday, 31 March 2012

Order, Order: Carmelites

Founder: The actual founder of the Carmelite order has been in debate for centuries. They trace their history back to the prophets Elias and Eliseus though some credit Saint Bertold as being the founder of the order. 

Date: 12th century

Charism: Generally contemplative/monastic, but there are apostolic/active Carmelite Missionaries too.

History: The debate about their founder aside, the Carmelites as we know them today began in the 12th century from a community of hermits near the supposed site of Elijah's cave. The Carmelites thus began as an eremitic order (hermits) but later evolved and became more mendicant although many communities still retain aspects of their eremitic origins. Carmelite life is often seen as a merger of eremitic and community life. Their rule was written by Saint Albert Avogadro to resolve disputes about how they should live as a community. The rule is known for being the shortest of the rules of consecrated life and is in part taken directly from the Rule of Saint Augustine. In the 13th century the Carmelites had migrated to Europe and were approved as a new order in 1274. The Carmelites have not been exempt from the troubles that have plagued religious communities but renewed interest in Carmelite spirituality (no doubt influenced by popular Carmelite saints) has led to a revival in the order and a return to their original spirit. Carmelites today are separated into Discalced Carmelites (OCD) and Carmelites of the Ancient Observance (O. Carm).

Notable Saints:
St. John of the Cross
St. Teresa of Avila
St Therese of Lisieux 
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
St Simon Stock
Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity
St Nuño of Saint Mary

Catholic Encyclopaedia - The Carmelite Order
The Official Website of the Carmelite Order
Cenacle Catholic Books - Carmelite Literature


  1. Welcome to St. Blogs Directory. I'd like to invite you to join other Catholic bloggers in a weekly feature: Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival, in which Catholic bloggers share their best weekly posts with each other. This week's host post is at

    1. Thanks for adding us in the listings, Rann.
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