Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites

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Marian

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As a result of my question regarding the Divine Office there has been some interest in the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, which I mentioned in my posting. I thought other people may also be interested, so here is some information on the Order, taken from one of their leaflets:

"Secular Carmelites are lay people (and sometimes diocesan priests) who are called to live the Carmelite life of contemplative prayer and apostolic action. Living fully their secular lives, they are also fully members of the Carmelite family, living by the same Rule, sharing its vocation and its spirituality.

The Carmelite Rule is the Rule of St Albert. It provides our basic inspiration and the kernel of our spirituality.

Discalced Carmelites follow especially the spiritual teachings of the great reformers of Carmel, St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross. Both teach us the basic truth of prayer … we commit ourselves to prayerful and regular reading of their writings.

Our daily life as Secular Carmelites involves then, prayerful Bible reading, at least half an hour of silent prayer and the recitation of Morning, Evening and Night Prayer from the Divine Office. Mass should be at the centre of our day, as far as possible.

Becoming a Secular Carmelite takes six years. In the first year, an enquirer gets to know a group and begins to discern his or her vocation. Two years of formation then lead to the First Promise to live in the Spirit of the Evangelical Counsesl and the Beatitudes. Three years later, a Final Promise is made, for life."

As a wife, mother and full-time secretary I have found this way of life has been a real ‘God-send’. Reading and praying in this way has given me a little ‘haven of peace’ to which I can retreat at regular intervals during my busy day - even if it’s just for a few minutes, it really helps me re-focus on God and what’s important in life.

If you use a good search engine you should be able to find further information. Personally, I found www.carmelite.org.uk a great help.
 
Thanks Marian -

I’ve been intrigued with the Carmelite Third Order for some time now. You mention an “enquirer” and a specific discernment process. How did you get started with that? Also, I’m not sure if there is a Carmelite community in my city (St. Louis) . . . how often do you meet during discernment and thereafter?

I’ve been practicing “un-officially” most of the things you cite for about 2 years now. Also, the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, The Little Flower and Brother Lawrence are my favorites, the ones I keep coming back to time and time again.

As a married father of 4, I agree with your sentiments.

Thanks!
 
I could write volumes about the Discalced Carmelites and especially the Secular order. I joined my local group in Hubertus, Wisconsin (Holy Hill). I spent the year meeting with newbies like me under the direction of a more experienced secular member. We focused our discussion on a particular book called “Welcome to Carmel.” This book discusses what it means to be a Secular member of the Discalced Carmelites. I have learned so much about this order and we also touched on the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Therese of Lisieux. On June 19, 2004, I will be receiving my brown scapular and start my year of formation. At the end of that year I will be able to make my first promises. I have met so many deeply devote people in this group. I have also found that “Jesus talk” is OK and they seem to have the same enthusiasm as I do about this and other related topics. In the first year of formation, we will be reading some of the books that St. Teresa wrote and discuss them. We meet once a month, on a Saturday, and we have a variety of activities, meeting, confession, morning prayeer, mass and general member meeting, all in the morning. We then break for lunch. In the afternoon we have our class and this is where we discuss Carmelite spirituality. I am sorry that this is so long, but I am very excited about this!!! Joe
 
Not to worry . . . actually, I appreciate your enthusiasm! The Secular Order is something I’ve thought about for sometime now. Whenever I drift away from it a bit, I find myself gently pulled back.

This forum has been very helpful, especially in motivating me to more actively look into this (Thanks Karl!). The web link arnulf gave me for the St. Louis community directs me to Holy Hill for a copy of “Welcome to Carmel” that you mention. I guess this is the best way for me to start looking into things.

A couple of random questions. How big is your group? Do you have many members who are parents of young children . . . who’ve been able to live the rule in the midst of the daily chaos of raising a family?

Thanks!
 
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joenp:
I could write volumes about the Discalced Carmelites and especially the Secular order. I joined my local group in Hubertus, Wisconsin (Holy Hill). I spent the year meeting with newbies like me under the direction of a more experienced secular member. We focused our discussion on a particular book called “Welcome to Carmel.” This book discusses what it means to be a Secular member of the Discalced Carmelites. I have learned so much about this order and we also touched on the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Therese of Lisieux. On June 19, 2004, I will be receiving my brown scapular and start my year of formation. At the end of that year I will be able to make my first promises. I have met so many deeply devote people in this group. I have also found that “Jesus talk” is OK and they seem to have the same enthusiasm as I do about this and other related topics. In the first year of formation, we will be reading some of the books that St. Teresa wrote and discuss them. We meet once a month, on a Saturday, and we have a variety of activities, meeting, confession, morning prayeer, mass and general member meeting, all in the morning. We then break for lunch. In the afternoon we have our class and this is where we discuss Carmelite spirituality. I am sorry that this is so long, but I am very excited about this!!! Joe
Joe - I totally know what you’re experiencing and how excited you are. On Thursday I went to a local meeting and got so excited about it that I had to apologise for my enthusiasm. In reply I was told that “every group needs a Tigger”, and believe me I was totally bouncy!

I haven’t been attending the meetings for very long so it will be a few months before I can go into formation. However, I’m going on the annual retreat next month and will see my best friend start her year of formation - part of me is really jealous!

I find St Teresa of Avila fantastic to read - am I the only one who thinks she has a great sense of humour? She is so blunt, so down to earth. St John of the Cross is a bit heavy going, but I’m hoping that one day I’ll be just as enthusiastic about him too.

I wish you all the best as you start your journey for real - I will pray for you on 19 June.:gopray:
 
**Thank you for this post. I was once a Secular Carmelite (Institution in 1993), buthave gotten away from it because it is very difficult for me to get to meetings…You have renewed my interest. We’ll see what happens…🙂 **
 
Hi everyone again, I am pleased to see so many Secular Carmelites in the making, like myself. Thanks Marian for praying for me, I am a little nervous because it is a big step for me. I am taking this very seriously and hope to be able to live up to my calling. In response to the member who asked how big my group was: we have about 60-70 active members and some who are not able to come to monthly meetings because of health reasons, but they are still considered part of the group. Our prayers go out to anyone. We do have some married members with smaller children. Before they become active in the Secular order, they must get the approval of their family. This is something that is discussed in the book “Welcome to Carmel.” By the way in case anyone is interested in this book, you can call Holy Hill, in Wisconsin and get in touch with the bookstore at 262-628-1838. They also have a follow up book, that my class will be reviewing called: “Commentary on the Rule of Life.” Holy Hill also has a web site: www.holyhill.com This site may be able to provide you with more information on how to order the book. I find St. Teresa very humorous and I also find her very down to earth, which is what really attracted me to her works. Thanks for your continued sharing about the Seculars. I will include all of the members of the Catholic.com forums in my prayers from now on, and I hope that you can include me in yours. Keep up the good work! And in the words of St. Teresa: “Let nothing disturb you; nothing frighten you. All things are passing. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God. God alone suffices.” (St. Teresa’s bookmark).
 
🙂 In addition to “Welcome to Carmel”, may I suggest two other book: “The Carmelite Way”, by John Welch, O.Carm, and “The Springs of Carmel”, by Peter Slattery. Both are excellent.

St. Teresa of Avila is my favorite saint. She was a woman who was definitely ahead of her time, wasn’t she? I find hope in the fact that she was “old” by the standards of her day when she began her great work. Her writings are phenomenol…Filled with wisdom.

While I am no longer active in the Cincinnati chapter…I am still intrigued by the Carmelites, and their writings…Have you read St. Teresa of Avila’s “The Interior Castle”, or “The Way of Perfection”? What a mind that woman had!

Good luck to you in your endeavor to become a professed secular Carmelite…The journey will undoubtedly be one of joy and struggle. I wish I could have continued after my Istitution, but transportation was a real problem, and I felt that it was important to be a part of the community.
 
I don’t have an OCDS community in my immediate area but there is a Lay Carmelite community fairly close by that I assume is affiliated with O.Carm.

Besides the obvious difference in the actual order they are associated with, on a practical level, what are the differences between the two?

Being a fan of St Teresa and St John of the Cross, I would like to inquire into membership but was curious as to what, if any, differences there might be in terms of rule, spirituality, etc.

Anyone have any insight?
 
Although Teresa and John “belong” to OCD, the O. Carm have great reverence for those saints, and at this point there appears very little practical difference between the two secular orders. I suggest you visit with the nearby O. Carm. secular community, obtain a copy of their rule, and see how it suits you.
 
What I would really like, is to find a group of people who would be open to discussing the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. The need not be an actual Carmelite community, but a group of people who are tuned in to the messages of these great saints…There wasn’t much discussion in the Carmelite Community to which I used to belong…It was run in a very rigid, mind numbing way…
 
What I would really like, is to find a group of people who would be open to discussing the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. The need not be an actual Carmelite community, but a group of people who are tuned in to the messages of these great saints…There wasn’t much discussion in the Carmelite Community to which I used to belong…It was run in a very rigid, mind numbing way…
It would be nice if you can start a discussion. Sometimes it only takes one person to start and it picks up.
 
I could write volumes about the Discalced Carmelites and especially the Secular order. I joined my local group in Hubertus, Wisconsin (Holy Hill). I spent the year meeting with newbies like me under the direction of a more experienced secular member. We focused our discussion on a particular book called “Welcome to Carmel.” This book discusses what it means to be a Secular member of the Discalced Carmelites. I have learned so much about this order and we also touched on the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Therese of Lisieux. On June 19, 2004, I will be receiving my brown scapular and start my year of formation. At the end of that year I will be able to make my first promises. I have met so many deeply devote people in this group. I have also found that “Jesus talk” is OK and they seem to have the same enthusiasm as I do about this and other related topics. In the first year of formation, we will be reading some of the books that St. Teresa wrote and discuss them. We meet once a month, on a Saturday, and we have a variety of activities, meeting, confession, morning prayeer, mass and general member meeting, all in the morning. We then break for lunch. In the afternoon we have our class and this is where we discuss Carmelite spirituality. I am sorry that this is so long, but I am very excited about this!!! Joe
 
Thank you Joenp for your note. I would really like to join the group at Holy Hill. I live just east of Madison. I am very nervous too, and tremble at the thought- this is a huge step, but one I believe whose time is come. I will try to get the book you mention first. There are so many things I don’t know, this first inquiry is full of Hope and unknowing! Please, any thoughts or advice at this stage is most welcome. Thank you! I also would LOVE to converse with others who love Sister Ruth Burrows, ODC and her work on St. John of The Cross, as well as our most beloved St. Teresa of Avilla, and the Little Flower. I am reading her more closely now.🙂
 
Here in Tucson Arizona, we have both the Secular Discalced and the O Carm. I am more in tune with the writings of the Great Reformers of Carmel. Since 2005, I have been maintaining a very low profile in my life, and may look into the OCDS at Santa Cruz Church.
 
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