The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel 

Discalced Carmelite Fathers

The origin of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites is the biblical Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. This site was sanctified by the life and activity of the prophet Elijah in his prayer and struggle against idolatry. The historical beginnings of the Order date back to the time of the Crusades in the 12th century when St. Albert, Patriarch of Jerusalem authored and designated “the Rule” for the hermetic community. After leaving Mount Carmel and coming to Europe, the Carmelites adapted their lives as hermits to the new reality and became a mendicant order. The central figure in the Order is the Mother of God who, according to tradition, gave to St. Simon Stock (Prior General of the Order) a special gift - the Holy Scapular on July 16, 1251. This sacramental, approved by the Church, is a privileged sign of salvation, a sign of spiritual alliance with Mary, her protection and intercession. 

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The Spanish saints, St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross, reformed the Order in the 16th century, creating this new independent branch – the Discalced Carmelites. The main charism of the Order today is the concern for the promotion of a deep spiritual life through an apostolate of prayer (meditation), spiritual direction, and the conducting of individual and parish retreats.


The entire life and apostolic work of the Carmelite Fathers are so imbued with the Marian spirit and prayer, that the Church in many countries has entrusted them with the care of Marian sanctuaries. However, Carmelite work is also carried out in parishes and in the missions. For example, Polish Carmelite Fathers live and work in Rwanda and Burundi in Africa.

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