History of the Carmelite Order
At the time of the Crusades in the Holy Land, men desired to follow Christ in his homeland by living lives of prayerful solitude and service. One such group settled on Mount Carmel, a place filled with the spirit of the Old Testament prophet Elijah. Sometime between 1206 and 1214, St. Albert, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, set down a way of life for these hermits in the form of a rule for following Christ and serving him faithfully with a pure heart and good conscience. This rule of St. Albert still guides Carmelites today.
Whenever there was a spiritual need, the Carmelites reached out in a unique fashion as contemplatives in action. They engaged in preaching, teaching, and spiritual direction. Others served as missionaries, as university teachers, or in pastoral care. Some became famous for their holiness and service: St. Albert of Sicily was a noted preacher; Blessed Nuno Alvares was a great leader and is honored as the George Washington of Portugal; St. Andrew Corsini was a renowned peacemaker between warring city-states; St. Peter thomas founded a great university; Blessed Baptist of Mantua was a brilliant humanist write; St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila were great mystical doctors and masters of the spiritual life; St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, became Patroness of the Missions. Today, Blessed Titus Brandsma, a Dutch Carmelite martyred in Dachau for defending the freedom of the press against the Nazis, is an example to us.
The life and work of Carmel continues to flourish after almost eight centuries. Like his medieval counterparts, the Carmelite today is a contemplative in action, caring for and serving his fellow Christians. Carmelites seek to walk in the light of Christ and to help those whom God sends into their lives to see that same light.
To follow Jesus Christ as Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, called together by the Holy Spirit; to live as Elijah in the presence of God; to serve the needs of the Church and each other in love: this is the life purpose of the Carmelites who minister today throughout the world.
The Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary is a religious community of men in the Catholic Church, whose members, responding to the hunger for God in themselves and in the world, answer an interior call to prayer, community, and ministry.
The call to Carmel is a unique, magnificent marriage of contemplation and action. This site provides a place where you can anonymously explore the process of joining the Carmelites and the various stages of formation.
Carmelite Spiritual Center
The rich tradition of Carmelite spirituality and hospitality at the Carmelite Spiritual Center in Darien, IL provides a setting for a variety of programs for men and women seeking a deeper experience of God and of themselves.
The Carmelites of the PCM Province are involved in many different ministries throughout the United States and in several locations in Canada, Mexico, and Peru. The ministries listed below are just a sampling of them.
Carmelite High Schools
Joliet Catholic High School (Joliet, IL)
Carmel of Mundelein (Mundelein, IL)
Salpointe High School (Tucson, AZ)