1. Lay Carmelite Rule and Statutes
Every Lay Carmelite should be joyous that the Lay Carmelite Statutes were approved in
May and September, 1990, by the Carmelite Provinces of the Most Pure Heart of Mary and of
St. Elias, respectively. They were promulgated on January 1, 1991, and are now in force.
It is a fine document to lead the Lay Carmelite Order into the 21st century.
The Statutes were formulated by representatives of Lay Carmelite communities in North
America who gave many days in meetings held at Aylesford in Darien, Illinois. Chapters all
across the land were then asked to evaluate the second draft and present recommendations
for further consideration. Another revision was formulated and again communities were
given copies to evaluate. After compiling all this data, a final draft was given to the
Provincial Councils of both Provinces for approval. This approval was given with two minor
This lengthy process met the procedural style which the Magisterium of our Church
mandated in the Vatican II documents, namely, that a collegial form of decision-making be
used, enabling people to be involved in sharing their experience in faith matters for the
common good. We are proud that Lay Carmelites met this important challenge and extended
their talents, meeting the needs of our growing numbers of communities. Surely, this
beautiful evidence of emerging lay participation captures the spirit of renewal which
Church leaders signaled as important for modern times.
These new Statutes reflect the Lay Carmelite spirit that is emerging across the land.
We hope that as we become more familiar with them and live them out well in our daily
lives, we will see an increased dedication and love in the family of Carmel for the Order,
for the Church and for all who make the journey in our world with us.
The Lay Carmelite Rule is presented first. It is the document that guides Lay
Carmelites of all Provinces of the Order. The Provincial Statutes adapt this Rule for each
Province. This Rule is presented just as it was in the ninth edition of Carmel's Call. It
was approved for the Lay Carmelites by the Holy See in November, 1977, after being
presented to the General Curia of the Order. This approval was given for twelve years. In
1989, the approval was extended for another two years.