“All of us who wear this holy Carmelite habit are called to prayer and contemplation. This is what we were founded for. We are descended from those holy fathers of ours on Mount Carmel, those who went in search of that treasure – the priceless pearl we are talking about – in such solitude and with such contempt for the world” – St. Teresa of Jesus
By God’s grace we bear the name ‘Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel’ and belong to a religious family dedicated to her love and service. This special bond with our Lady influences our whole approach to the pursuit of perfect charity. It pervades our communities and stamps our life of prayer and contemplation, our apostolic zeal and activity and even the kind of self-denial we practice, with a distinctly Marian character.
The Prophet Elijah
The prophet Elijah appears in Scripture as a man of God who lived always in His presence and fought zealously for the worship of the one, true God. He defended God’s law in a solemn contest on Mount Carmel, and afterwards was given on Mount Horeb an intimate experience of the living God. The inspiration that was found in him from the very beginnings of the Order so pervades its whole history that the prophet may deservedly be called the founder of the Carmelite ideal.
Our Holy Mother St. Teresa of Jesus, OCD (1515-1582)
Teresa de Ahumada was born in Ávila in 1515. She entered the Carmelites and made great progress in the way of perfection and was granted mystical revelations. Wishing to share in the spiritual renewal of the Church of her time, she began to live her religious life more ardently and soon attracted many companions, to whom she was a mother. She also helped in the reform of the friars, and in this had to endure great trials. She wrote several spiritual classics like The Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle, which are renowned for their depth of doctrine and which showed her own spiritual depth and experience. She died at Alba de Tormes in 1582. St. Teresa was made the first woman doctor of the Church in 1970.
Our Holy Father St. John of the Cross, OCD (1542-1591)
Born in Fontiveros, Spain, Juan de Yepes entered the Carmelites and, with the permission of his superiors, began to live a stricter observance. Afterwards he was persuaded by St. Teresa to begin, together with some others, the Discalced reform of the Order; this cost him much hard work and many trials. He is the author of the spiritual classics: The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night, The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love. He died in Ubeda in 1591, outstanding in holiness and wisdom. St. John is a poet, mystic and doctor of the Church.
“Contemplation is nothing else than a secret and peaceful and loving inflow of God, which, if not hampered, fires the soul in the spirit of love.”
St. John of the Cross
St. Therese of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face, OCD (1873-1897)
Thérèse Martin was born in Alençon, France. While still young she entered the Carmel of Lisieux, where she lived in the greatest humility, evangelical simplicity and confidence in God. By her words and example she taught the novices these same virtues, offering her life for the salvation of souls and the spread of the Church. Her autobiography is the popular Story of a Soul and is well known for its relating of her Little Way. St. Thérèse was made a Doctor of the Church in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, OCD – Edith Stein (1891-1942)
Edith Stein was born to a Jewish family in Breslau, Germany. Through her passionate study of philosophy she searched for truth and found it in reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Jesus. In 1922 she was baptized a Catholic and in 1933 she entered the Carmel of Cologne where she took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was gassed and cremated at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942 during the Nazi persecution and died a martyr for the Christian faith after having offered her holocaust for the people of Israel. A woman of singular intelligence and learning, she left behind a body of writing notable for its doctrinal richness and profound spirituality. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II at Rome on October 11th, 1998 and subsequently named co-patroness of Europe together with St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Catherine of Siena.
“Mental prayer, in my opinion, is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.”
St. Teresa of Jesus
St. Rafael of St. Joseph, OCD (1835-1907)
Raphael Kalinowski was born to Polish parents in the city of Vilnius in 1835. Following military service, he was condemned in 1864 to ten years of forced labor in Siberia. In 1877 he became a Carmelite and was ordained a priest in 1882. He contributed greatly to the restoration of the Discalced Carmelites in Poland. His life was distinguished by zeal for Church unity and by his unflagging devotion to his ministry as confessor and spiritual director. He died in Wadowice in 1907.
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, OCD (1880-1906)
Elizabeth Catez was born in 1880 in the diocese of Bourges in France. In 1901 she entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery of Dijon. There she made her profession of vows in 1903 and from there she was called “to light, to love and to life” by the Divine Spouse in 1906. A faithful adorer in spirit and in truth, her life was a “praise of glory” of the Most Blessed Trinity present in her soul and loved amidst interior darkness and excruciating illness. In the mystery of divine inhabitation, she found her “heaven on earth,” her special charism and her mission for the Church.
St. Mariam of Jesus Crucified, OCD (1847-1848)
Saint Mariam Baouardy (also spelled Mariam Bawardy) is known in religion as St. Mariam of Jesus Crucified, was born in Ibillin, located in the hill country of upper Galilee, Palestine. Her family originated in Damascus, Syria. They were Catholics of the Melkite Greek-Catholic Rite, descendants of the Archeparchy of Antioch, the place where the followers of Jesus were first called Christians.
“For me prayer is a surge of the heart: it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”
St. Therese of the Child Jesus
St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes OCD (1900 – 1920)
Juanita Fernández Solar was born at Santiago, Chile, on July 13, 1900. From her adolescence she was devoted to Christ. She entered the monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns at Los Andes on May 7, 1919, where she was given the name of Teresa of Jesus. She dies on April 12 of the following year after having made her religious profession. She was beatified by John Paul II on April 3, 1987, at Santiago, Chile, and proposed her as a model for young people. She is the first Chilean and the first member of the Discalced Carmelites in Latin America to be canonized.