The Carmelite Order took its origin in the slopes of Mount Carmel where the Prophet Elijah and his followers were living in the presence of God. They were zealous for His glory and were going out to bring the erring people of God to the true path. The prophet was fed by food from heaven and had foreknowledge about the Virgin Mother of God. When the Carmelites see the prophet Elijah, they see their life reflected in the prophet as if in a mirror – the contemplative ideal, the fraternal communion and veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this sense Elijah the Prophet was called the founder of the Carmelite Order. But a historical note about the Carmelites dates only from the 11th century when St. Albert, the Patriarch of Jerusalem gave them a rule of life approved by Pope Eugene IV. The Order underwent different changes and mitigations all throughout the centuries.
The great St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross who reformed the Carmelite Order, did not break the past nor introduced anything new but they introduced the former Spirit of the Order prayer, contemplation, divine office, celebration of the Eucharist, practice of the presence of God, devotion to Blessed Virgin Mary. The missionary dimension was so dear to St. Teresa of Avila. read more