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.
The Confraternity of Carmel is a more popular association of wider appeal for people who are devoted to Our Lady and who wear the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and who commit themselves, in particular, in liturgy and in service, of the Christian life.
Today the presence of Carmelite spirituality among committed lay people is developing new forms: Secular Institutes, Youth Organizations, Missionary Groups, Evangelical Fraternities, Prayer Movements, Circles of Spirituality.
One of the most important manifestations of this lay participation in the life of Carmel is the wearing of the Scapular of Carmel and honouring Our Lady, especially under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The picture of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is venerated in every Carmelite monastery and convent and in a large number of churches. Some sanctuaries are also very famous and very popular.