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Lay People

The Rule for the Third Order of Carmel

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The Rule for the Third Order of Carmel is printed in English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French. For orders and further information please contact: Edizioni Carmelitane.

Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher: Edizioni Carmelitane, Via Sforza Pallavicini, 10, 00193 Rome, Italy.

Contact Lay Carmelite Office

To contact the office of Lay Carmelites and question regarding Lay Carmelites, please write to:

General Delegate T.O.C.

Very Rev. Raúl Maraví, O.Carm.

International Secretary T.O.C.

Ms. María José Garcia de la Barrera, JuCar

Curia Generalizia dei Carmelitani

Via Giovanni Lanza, 138, 00184 Roma, Italy.
Tel. (+39) 0664201840 - Fax (+39) 0664201847


Lay Carmelite

From the beginning, the Carmelites assisted groups of lay people who disired to live a better Christian life through their devotion to Our Lady, their prayer, their charity. In time, the groups which were better organized gathered together into a well-structured institution with specific obligations: this became known as the Carmelite Third Order, true school of holiness and of ecclesial commitment, with a Rule of its own.

Third Order

Lay Carmelite Congress 2012

Photo: International Lay Carmelite Congress 2012

The Third Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel is an association of lay people who, in response to a call from God promise to live the Gospel in the spirit of the Carmelite Order and under its guidance.

As well as lay people, diocesan priests, who find in the Carmelite charism help for their spiritual lives and their mission in the Church and the world, may be members of the Carmelite Third Order.



The Scapular Confraternity of Carmel is an association of the faithful who strive for the perfection of charity in the world in the spirit of the Carmelite Order. Through their free commitment, they participate in the life of the Order and its spiritual benefits in an intimate communion of thought, ideals and works, together with Mary.


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The following of Christ and of Mary, as understood and lived according to the charism of the Order, is the ideal of the faithful in the Carmelite Family. They can rely on the help and support of all the brothers and sisters who share in the same ideal. The members of the Carmelite Family live their commitment in various ways: in solitude, in community, in the apostolic life, on the streets of the world, working with Mary for the Kingdom of Christ.

Lay Carmelites with the Scapular


Fr. Joseph Hung Tran, O.Carm.

The maternal love that the Blessed Virgin Mary has for the Carmelites is evidenced in the Brown Scapular. It is the sign of protection that Mary offered to the Order of Carmelites during a difficult time of the Order. The legend recorded is that Mary appeared to St. Simon Stock and promised to protect the Order

The Carmelite Laity in the Middle Ages


James Pilkington, O. Carm.

«The age in which. we live demands that we try by every possible means to turn. the attention of the People once more to the Third Order and promote it everywhere from day to day.»

Most Reverend HILARY M. DOSWALD, O.Carm. (Elian letters, 1940)

The foundation of the Mendicant Orders in the Middle Ages had a profound influence on the faithful — at that time the old monastic spirit flourished in the very midst of the people.

Lay Carmel and the wider Carmelite Family

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from the website of The British Province of Carmelites

'Lay Carmel' is the largest branch of the Carmelite Family. The following additional information is offered to help place Lay Carmel within the broader picture of the Carmelite Family.

Carmel's roots in the Laity

Frequently Asked Questions about Third Order

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1. What are the basic steps to become a Lay Carmelite?

It is best to become a member of a “local” community (or chapter). You will then begin two periods of formal formation – one leading to Reception, and then another that leads to the Profession Promises. Some time later, one may renew that profession with the pronouncing of the two “private” vows of obedience and chastity,

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