In XVI-XVII centuries, religious life for women developed forms which set them apart from the traditional framework of canonical reference, and undertook ventures and structures which were suited to the apostolate in accordance with local needs. At first tolerated, these forms of religious life for women gradually received canonical recognition.
This phenomenon also took place among the Third Order of Carmel: at first they lived as tertiaries living in common and taking vows, as, for instance, the group of S. Maria della Speranza in Venice towards the end of XVI century, and the tertiaries of S. Martino in Bologna in 1654. The most typical example of this evolution of religious life for women in Carmel is that of the Suore delle Grazie in Bologna, founded in 1724, affiliated to the Order of Carmel and confirmed as a group by the Prior General, Ludovico Benzoni in 1735. Then in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries there followed other Institutes and Congregations of Carmelite women.
Such institutions of women have their own way of living out Carmelite spirituality in their service of charity, in the midst of the poor, the young, the sick and the marginalised.