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The Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS), officially Ordo Carmelitarum Discalceatorum Saecularis, and formerly known as the Third Secular Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and of the Holy Mother Saint Teresa of Jesus, is an association of Roman Catholic laity, commonly known as Secular Carmelites, who are an integral part of the Discalced Carmelite Order and juridically dependent upon the Discalced Carmelite Friars (OCD), and are in "fraternal communion" with them and the cloistered nuns of the Order. They have a "fidelity to contemplative prayer with the spirit of detachment it entails…."

Secular Carmelites are spread throughout the world in various communities, under the direction of leadership in Rome. Their vocation is to live Carmelite spirituality as lay persons; they are not mere imitators of Carmelite monastic life. With the friars and nuns, they assist the Order in drawing the Church into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and Mary, Mother and Queen of Carmel. They are apostles of contemplative prayer, but also live intense lives of charity in their common occupations.

Secular Carmelites make a promise to the Order which is patterned on the monastic vows, and which guides their life in the Order. The promise is to live according to the Rule of Life under the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience, adapted according to their lay state. The Rule of Life (Regula vitæ) requires Secular Carmelites to pray for at least a half an hour each day "in an atmosphere of interior silence and solitude," to recite Morning and Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours (the Divine Office), and to pray at daily Mass when possible.

The Seculars will "gladly mortify themselves in union with the Sacrifice of Christ," and their "interior life must be permeated by an intense devotion to Our Lady." They must wear the small Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (the Habit of the Carmelite Order), and attend monthly meetings of their communities. Spiritually mature members are permitted to make vows to God which mirror the monastic vows and more deeply establish them in the life of the Order.

The Order accepts Catholics in good standing in the Church who are at least 18 years old for entry into formation as Secular Carmelites. Admission into formation is dependent on a clear indication of a Carmelite vocation and maturity in faith, and permission to profess the promise of the Secular Carmelites requires a number of years spent in spiritual formation and study of contemplative prayer. Catholics called to this vocation by God begin by discovering a community of Seculars which they visit for a monthly meeting and may eventually join. Communities can be found by one of the online provincial directories.

Secular Carmelites are not merely members of the Scapular Confraternity, a much newer development that is merely a pious association of Catholics who wear the Scapular and may or may not actually follow certain principles of Carmelite spirituality. Any Catholic can be invested with the Scapular by a Catholic priest, and indeed it is the most popular and well known of Catholic scapulars because of the promises made to its wearers by the Blessed Virgin Mary. But the garment is properly the habit of the Carmelite Order, including the Secular Carmelites. Candidates for admission to the Order are clothed in the Scapular at the beginning of formal formation, usually during a Mass.

Secular Carmelites, after the tradition of the Friars and Nuns, take a religious name or title of devotion. The custom is increasing of retaining the person's surname and/or given name depending on suitability. The name taken is generally only used in Carmelite contexts, and members use the acronym "OCDS" after their legal names if appropriate.

The Secular Carmelites have been noted for tremendous growth in the United States in recent years, but may be decreasing in numbers in Europe. A large number are found in the Philippines.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

There are two Carmelite orders in the Church: the Ancient Observance (O. Carm.) and the Discalced (OCD). The Discalced became a separate order under its foundress, Saint Teresa of Jesus (of Ávila), in order to return to the more austere and contemplative life lived by the first Carmelites. "Discalced", meaning "shoeless", signifies this greater austerity. It should be noted that Secular Carmelites do not consider foregoing shoes an actual necessity for living this internal austerity and poverty.

Principal among the saints of the Discalced Carmelite Order are John of the Cross, Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face (of Lisieux), and Teresia Benedicta of the Cross (commonly known as Edith Stein). Among the beatified is Blessed Élisabeth of the Trinity. The Ancient Observance also has a third order whose members are in contradistinction commonly called Lay Carmelites.

Pope John Paul II was himself a Secular Carmelite, and this has been mentioned in order to explain why the late pontiff occasionally practiced self-flagellation.[1]

Bibliography

  • "The Rule of Life," The Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, 1979.
  • Welcome to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, by the Reverend Father P. Aloysius Deeney, OCD, ICS Publications, 2009. ISBN 978-0-935216-75-2

References

  1. ^ Pope John Paul the Great

External links

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The Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS), officially Ordo Carmelitarum Discalceatorum Saecularis, and formerly known as the Third Secular Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and of the Holy Mother Saint Teresa of Jesus, is an association in the Roman Catholic Church, with lay persons as its primary members but can also accept members of the secular clergy, with promises to strive to live evangelical perfection in the spirit of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience and through the beatitudes [1]. They have a "fidelity to contemplative prayer with the spirit of detachment it entails…."

Commonly known as Carmelite Seculars, it is an integral part of the Discalced Carmelite Order[2], juridically dependent upon the Discalced Carmelite Friars (OCD)[3], and in "fraternal communion" with them and the cloistered nuns of the Order. "As a result, they share the same charism with the religious, each according to their particular state of life. It is one family with the same spiritual possession, calling to holiness and Apostolic mission."[4]

There are two Carmelite orders in the Church: the Ancient Observance (O. Carm.) and the Discalced (OCD). The Discalced became a separate order under its foundress, Saint Teresa of Jesus (of Ávila), in order to return to the more austere and contemplative life lived by the first Carmelites. "Discalced", meaning "shoeless", signifies this greater austerity. Most Secular Carmelites do not consider foregoing shoes, an actual necessity for living this internal austerity and poverty.

Contents

Vocation and Promise

Their vocation is to live the Carmelite Spirituality as Seculars and are not mere imitators of Carmelite monastic life [5]. With the friars and nuns, they assist the Order in drawing the Church into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and His Mother, Mary, Mother and Queen of Carmel.

They are apostles of contemplative prayer, but also live intense lives of charity in their common occupations.

Carmelite Seculars make a promise to the Order patterned on the monastic vows, which guides their life. The promise is to live according to its New Constitution and to live the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience, adapted according to their lay state.

Spiritually mature members, with the recommendation of the local council and approval of the Provincial Superior, are permitted to make vows of Chastity and Obedience to the community, which are strictly personal and does not create a separate category of membership.[6]

Way of Life

The old Rule of Life (Regula vitæ) of 1979, requires Secular Carmelites to pray for at least a half an hour each day "in an atmosphere of interior silence and solitude," to recite Morning and Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours (the Divine Office), and to attend daily Mass whenever possible (Although the Rule of Life was replaced by the New OCDS Constitution of 2003, their way of life remains the same).[7]

The Seculars will "gladly mortify themselves in union with the Sacrifice of Christ," and their "interior life must be permeated by an intense devotion to Our Lady." They must wear the small Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (the Habit of the Carmelite Secular Order[8]), and attend monthly meetings of their communities.

Membership

Depending on the existing OCDS Provincial Statutes of each Provinces and with the approval of the Local Community Council, the OCDS, accepts Catholics in good standing in the Church, who are at least 18 years old for entry into formation.[9][10] Admission into formation is dependent on a clear indication of a Carmelite vocation and maturity in faith, and permission to profess the promise of the Secular Carmelites requires a number of years spent in spiritual formation and study of contemplative prayer. Catholics called to this vocation by God begin by discovering a community of Seculars which they visit for a monthly meeting and may eventually join. Communities can be found by one of the on-line provincial directories.

Carmelite Seculars are not members of the Scapular Confraternity[11], a much newer development that is merely a pious association of Catholics who wear the Scapular and may or may not actually follow certain principles of Carmelite spirituality. Any Catholic can be invested with the Scapular by a Catholic priest, and indeed it is the most popular and well known of Catholic scapulars because of the promises made to its wearers by the Blessed Virgin Mary. But the garment is properly the habit of the Carmelite Order, including the Secular Carmelites. Candidates for admission to the Order are clothed in the Scapular at the beginning of formal formation, usually during a Mass.

Carmelite Seculars, after the tradition of the Friars and Nuns, take a religious name or title of devotion. The custom is increasing of retaining the person's surname and/or given name depending on suitability. The name taken is generally only used in Carmelite contexts, and members use the acronym "OCDS" after their legal names if appropriate.

The OCDS Around the World

Carmelite Seculars are spread throughout the world in various communities, with each community canonically erected[12], and under the direction of each Provincial Superiors of each Province and leadership of the General Superior of the Order in Rome [13].

There has been tremendous growth in the United States in recent years, but may be decreasing in numbers in Europe.

A large number are found in the Philippines.[14]

File:V.Carmen de
Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Famous Saints

Principal among the saints of the Discalced Carmelite Order are John of the Cross, Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face (of Lisieux), and Teresia Benedicta of the Cross (commonly known as Edith Stein). Among the beatified is Blessed Élisabeth of the Trinity. The Ancient Observance also has a third order whose members are in contradistinction commonly called Lay Carmelites.

Pope John Paul II was himself a Secular Carmelite, and this has been mentioned in order to explain why the late pontiff occasionally practiced self-flagellation.[15]

Bibliography

  • The Rule of St. Albert and the Constitution of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS), 2003
  • "The Rule of Life," The Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, 1979.
  • Welcome to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, by the Reverend Father P. Aloysius Deeney, OCD, ICS Publications, 2009. ISBN 978-0-935216-75-2

References

  1. ^ OCDS Constitution #11
  2. ^ OCDS Constitution #1
  3. ^ OCDS Constitution #41
  4. ^ OCDS Constitution #1
  5. ^ Carmelite Seculars and the Apostolate of the Order by P. Aloysius Deeney, OCD
  6. ^ OCDS Constitution #39
  7. ^ OCDS Constitution Section 2
  8. ^ OCDS Constitution #36b
  9. ^ OCDS Provincial Statutes-Washington Province
  10. ^ OCDS Philippines Provincial Statutes
  11. ^ A Catechesis on the Brown Scapular
  12. ^ OCDS Constitution #49
  13. ^ OCDS Constitution #48
  14. ^ OCDS Philippines
  15. ^ Pope John Paul the Great

External links


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