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Chapter 1
Nature of the Order

  1. The Lay Carmelite Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (historically known as the Third Order) is an association of mainly laypersons. Its members, responding to a special call of God, freely and deliberately commit themselves "to live in the following of Jesus Christ" [1] according to the traditions and spirit of Carmel under the authority of the Prior General of the Carmelite Order. The members, though not in Religious Life, choose to live out their baptismal commitment according to the spirit of the Carmelite Order. Carmelite spirituality stresses purity of heart and "vacare Deo," the emptying of self so that God can be our all. The call to Carmel, a call to seek God's will in the ordinary circumstances of everyday life, roots Lay Carmelites in a love of those with whom they live and work, in the search for God's face, and in solidarity with God's people everywhere.

  2. Lay Carmelites through their promises or vows become associated with the Carmelite Order and share in the spiritual benefits of the Order. Endowed as they are by the Holy Spirit with their own unique gifts, they share these gifts individually and collectively in a spirit of true communion with the entire family of Carmel, of which they form an integral part. Their mission is the mission of the Church and the Order itself, to live the Gospel message and to bring Christ to others through their lives.

  3. Diocesan clergy may be admitted to the Lay Carmelite Order, adapting its goals and spirit to their state of life as ordained priests. A diocesan priest is given the designation "Third Order Carmelite."

  4. Members of the Lay Carmelite Order shall be called "Lay Carmelites." Their chapter will be known as a Lay Carmelite Community. They may sign T.O.Carm. if they wish, after their name to indicate their affiliation.


    [1] Prologue, Carmelite Rule, given by Albert, Patriarch of Jerusalem, between 1206 and 1214 to the hermits living on Mount Carmel.


Created August 2, 1996 by Bro. Charles, O.Carm.

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