Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

of Mount Carmel  

 

As the Lord of hosts lives, whom I serve..."        1 Kings 18:15

 

Our History

 

Between the years of 1206 and 1214, there existed a group of hermits living in Mt. Carmel in Palestine that had formed themselves into a group under the leadership of a man named Brocard.

This group proceeded to ask Albert, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, to provide them with a "formula vitae" or rule of life which became the Carmelite rule.

Because of the association of Mt. Carmel with the Prophet Elijah, these first Carmelite hermits took him as their "Dux et Pater", or leader and father.

They also had a particular devotion to Our Lady, building an oratory dedicated to her, and by doing so pledged themselves to her service and placed their community under her patronage and protection. Hence they later became known as "the Brothers of St Mary of Mount Carmel."

Hermits, belonging to ancient Orders or New Institutes, or being directly dependent on the Bishop, bear witness to the passing nature of the present age by the inward and outward separation, from the world. By fasting and Penance, they show that man does not live by bread alone but by the work of God. Such a life "In the Desert" is an invitation to their contemporaries and to the ecclesial community itself, never to lose sight of the supreme vocation, which is to be always with the Lord.  

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The Institution of the 

First Monks  

 

This prophet of God, Elijah, was the chief of the monks, from whom the holy and ancient Order of Carmel took its origin. For it was he who, desirous of greater progress in the pursuit of divine contemplation, withdrew far from the cities and, despoiling himself of all earthly and mundane things, was the first to adopt the holy and solitary life of a prophet which he had established, at the inspiration and command of the Spirit.  

In a vision God had ordered him to depart from the ordinary dwelling of men and to hide himself in the crowd, and thus live alone in solitude in the manner described according to him. This proved from clear testimony of holy Scripture. As was written in the book of Kings:  

And the word of the Lord came to him (Elijah) saying: 'Get you hence, and go towards the east and hide thyself by the torrent Carith that is over against the Jordan, and there you shall drink of the torrent: and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there."

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"People are reminded by Carmel, though they are busy with so many concerns, that they must give absolute priority to seeking 'the kingdom of God and His justice' (Mt. 6, 33).  Looking to Carmel, where prayer becomes life and life flourishes with prayer, the Christian community can more easily understand, as I wrote in my apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, how they can become 'genuine schools of prayer.'"  

Message of Pope John Paul II to the Carmelite Prior General

October 2002

 

 

 

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