Lay Carmel in Britain
Lay Carmelite Communities
Since the earliest days of the Order, lay people have been integral members of the Carmelite Family. You can access information about each of the Third Order Chapters and Carmelite Spirituality Groups in Britain by visiting the Communities section of this website (via the menu on the left) and clicking on the relevant map pins and ensuing bubbles for further information.
What today is the Carmelite Order began not as a religious order but with a small number of mostly lay people who came together and formed community on the slopes of Mount Carmel at the beginning of the thirteenth century. It would be some years before they were given an official status by the Church authorities. Over the centuries many people have felt called to Carmel: some as friars, nuns or sisters; others within the context of married family life and others as single people either living alone or in small informal communities.
Carmel is bigger than any individual expression it may have and is not the private preserve of any particular group. In Britain there are many different people who seek to allow God to touch their lives with the Carmelite charism. Many of these are members of the Carmelite Third Order but there are many others.
Lay Carmelites celebrating at an international meeting of the Order in Rome in 2006
The small mountain range known as Carmel has become a symbol of the Carmelite way of life: grounded, solid, deep, yet reaching high. It was here in the Land made holy by the presence of the Saviour that Carmelite spirituality was given birth to at the beginning of the 13th century in the hearts of a small band of mostly lay people who desired to respond to an extraordinary love. Carmelites are united in a contemplative spirit of prayer, community and the desire to serve God and the people with whom we share the world.
Lay Carmelites are just what the name implies: lay men and women who form an integral part of the Carmelite family and who try to live the Carmelite way of life in the ordinary circumstances of our lives.
- We are ordinary people responding to an extraordinary Love
- We seek and serve Christ in the daily circumstances of our lives
- We embrace Mary - Our Lady - and the prophet Elijah as models
- We find support in an international spiritual family
- We follow an ancient path for today's pilgrim
Lay Carmelites from around the world at their International Congress in 2006
Could God be calling you to Lay Carmel? If you seek personal growth and spiritual formation in the spirit of Carmel... If you desire an opportunity to share your spiritual journey with others... if you would like to belong to the world-wide Carmelite family... you can make enquiries to: