The Discalced Carmelite Fathers are a Religious Order of Friars endowed with its own special charism. Known also as Teresian Carmelites, together with the Nuns and Seculars, they form the Order of Discalced Carmelites (O.C.D.). The Order, in different ways, is called to embrace a life of prayer and thus fulfil its specific role in the Church. As a renewed form of an ancient Order beginning on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land, it entails both fidelity to the spirit and traditions of Carmel and a continual striving after renewal. The Order was founded by St. Teresa of Jesus, from Avila, and St. John of the Cross, both Spanish mystics and doctors of the Church, in 1562.
The aim of Carmel is to provide the Church with a manifold service of prayer and apostolic ministry.
At present time there are about 4,000 Discalced Carmelite friars around the world. About one third of them are in third world countries. Thus they run churches, Retreat Centres, parishes, Houses of Prayer, missions, and other centres according to the needs of the Church. Contemplative prayer for us is apostolic in itself and makes us more aware of the needs of others. Such is the witness of the 30,000 cloistered nuns, the over 60 Relgious Institutes aggregated to the Order, the Secular Institutes and the thousands of lay people who have joined the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites.