Early Christianity viewed Elijah as the father of monasticism, and from that time hermits who sought God’s presence in solitude lived on Mount Carmel. Carmelites started as a group of hermits who around 1200 inhabited the Carmel mountain area. They wished to lead a life like that of Elijah, the exemplary solitary one. By physically experiencing his solitude on Mount Carmel they hoped to attain contact with the same God before whose face he stood.
“There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before Yahweh. But Yahweh was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake, but Yahweh was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire. But Yahweh was not in the fire.
And after the fire there came the sound of a gentler breeze.
And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.”
1 Kings 10:11-13
In the prophet Elijah, whom Sacred Scripture presents on the summit of Mount Carmel in profound prayer, burning with zeal for the glory of God and living continually in his presence, (1 Kings 18:36,37). Carmelites recognize the inspiration of their life, dedicated to contemplation in solitude. Elijah accomplishes his work and disappears “leaving behind him a spiritual following”. (2 Kings 2:15,16)
We are Carmelite contemplatives who are a family of nuns living an eremitical style of life in a monastery, in the Teresian Carmelite tradition. Our rule is that of the Primitive Rule of St. Albert who wrote the rule for Carmelites some time between 1206 and 1214 and we follow the original Constitutions instituted by Saint Teresa of Jesus in the 16th Century and lived by many of the Carmelite saints such as St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and others.
We are spiritual daughters of the Bishop of Rome, and follow faithfully the Magesterium of the Roman Catholic Church.
In formation we study Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Devotion to Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience, the writings of the Carmelite saints, especially those of St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross; papal encyclicals and the writings of the early Church Fathers.