Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing frighten you.
For all things pass save God
Who does not change.
Be patient, and at the last
You will find
Hold God, and nothing
Will fail you.
For he alone is all.
St. Teresa of Avila
Discalced Carmelite Seculars are an integral part of the Carmelite Order. We strive to reflect a gospel oriented contemplative presence in a fast paced, commercial world. We bear witness to the prayer of Christ by daily refective prayer, participation in the Liturgy of the Church and living the beatitudes. As Carmelite lay persons and diocesan clergy, we are called to intimacy with God through prayer. We are guided in this quest by the Rule of St. Albert and the charisms of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. Prayer is our gift of love and service to the Church and to the world.
As a wife and a mother, Mary is our companion and guide as we journey on the Carmelite way. She helps us find holiness in the ordinary activities of our daily lives. Like her, we live in the mystery of faith. She shows us how to say yes to God regardless of what happens. Mary’s example keeps us moving forward in holiness, which is our most important goal. Holiness does not allow any illusions, it is not for the faint of heart and it is the challenge of a lifetime. By nourishment from our Carmelite prayer, we joyfully respond with loving service to our family, workplace, church, community and social activities. We are also aware of our gifts and limits and give accordingly. The depth and mystery of God captivates us. We ponder his truth, beauty, goodness, wisdom and love and seek to infuse these attributes into our immediate environment. The sacred transforms the secular in ways we least expect.
As we grow in Carmel, we grow in our friendship with God and in solidarity with all creation. Each decision we make deepens or diminishes our friendship with God and interaction with others. As pilgrims in Carmel, we live with the restraint and nobility that characterizes an intimate friendship with Jesus. The closer we move towards him, the more authentic we become. Our fidelity to reflective prayer opens us up and transforms us in God. As we strive to reflect his love wherever we are and in whatever we do, we become fully present to the world but are not of it. Our life in Carmel does not take us away from our daily duties and responsibilities. It refines them with the love of God. Participation in the mystery of prayer makes holy that which is around us.
The life of Carmel weaves the prayer of Christ into the fabric of our days and years. Carmel’s guidelines teach us how to slow down, live simply, center our focus, be still and grow in the knowledge of who we are and who God is. The outcome of our prayer is loving service expressed in unobtrusive ways. We try to live the words of St. Therese: “In the heart of the Church...I shall be love.” Love serves in little ways that go unnoticed in our homes, work, or other situations. We serve God in the commonplace. To live as a Discalced Carmelite Secular is to experience the sacredness of each moment and a reverence for all life. We assiduously search for God and the transcendent meaning of life in whatever the present moment brings our way. Each day we live the paschal mystery of death and life. Because Jesus is the center of our hearts and the basis for our hope, life is a mysterious, prayerful and wondrous odyssey.
The Secular branch of the Discalced Carmelite family is worldwide. In the United States there are over 150 O.C.D.S. Communities. We meet monthly for ongoing formation and mutual support in living our Carmelite ideals. In our modern day, the most notable Discalced Carmelite Seculars are John Paul II, our Holy Father, and Rosa Stein, the sister of St. Edith Stein.