Carmelite Core Values

We Witness –

  • Through both personal and communal prayer, which is the deep engagement with the presence of God, and which unites us with Christ and transforms us in the Holy Spirit.
  • Through praying, living, and proclaiming the Word of God, the light that penetrates our minds and hearts, and fills us with a prophetic zeal for the building of the kingdom of God.
  • Through the inspiration of Mary and Elijah as bearers of God in our lives and in a world in need of healing and hope.
  • Through fraternity, which is our call to a common life in Carmel, and in which we find strength and unity in our diversity as brothers, while striving to respect and love one another as companions on the journey of transformation.
  • Through the vows, which bring clarity to our lives and free us to live in allegiance to Jesus Christ.
  • Through service, which fosters God’s presence and the fullness of life the Lord promises, by accompanying God’s people through our varied ministries.
  • Through the celebration of the Eucharist, which nourishes us and sustains us on the journey.

Human Dignity & Social Responsibility Statement

The Carmelites of the Most Pure Heart of Mary stand in solidarity with Catholic Social Teaching, which highlights building a more just society and living in holiness.

Br Brent Alexis, O.Carm., visits with a homeless man in Washington, DC.

We live in allegiance to and walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ as we commit ourselves to the dignity of the human person by respecting people of every gender, race, ethnic heritage, creed, sexual orientation and financial resource.  The principles of family, community, participation, dignity of work, option for the poor, and care for God’s creation inspire our communities and ministries to always teach the truth of our history and work for justice and peace.

As a result, we do not support unjust systems of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, human trafficking and slavery of any kind, and any unjust system that does not promote the dignity of the human person that is a true gift from God.

May our God, through the intercession of Elijah the prophet and Mary the mother of Jesus Christ, continue to transform us as we are called to conversion of heart, mind, body, and soul.


Year Event
1206-14 St. Albert of Jerusalem gives a Rule of Life to the hermits on Mount Carmel.
1230s Carmelites begin returning to Europe.
1247 General Chapter in Aylesford, England.  Pope Innocent IV mitigates the Carmelite Rule, as the Order adapts to its European reality, now a community of friars.
1251 Traditional date of St. Simon Stock’s Scapular Vision of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Aylesford, England on July 16.
1291 Muslim forces extinguish Carmelite community on Mount Carmel.
1300 Carmelite Order now has 150 houses in Cyprus, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, England, Scotland & Ireland, and are present in universities in Paris, London, Cologne, Florence, & Bologna.
1348-51 Black Death extinguishes 30-50% of European population, devastating the Carmelite Order.
1452 Under Prior General Blessed John Soreth, Pope Nicholas V’s Papal Bull, Cum nulla, establishes Carmelite nuns and Lay Carmelites.
1517 Martin Luther initiates Protestant Reformation.  Carmelites diminished throughout Northern Europe.
1515-1582 St. Teresa of Avila inspires Discalced Reform of Carmelite nuns.
1542-1591 St. John of the Cross inspires Discalced Reform of Carmelite friars.
1611 Reform of Touraine brings stricter observance to Carmel.
1789 French Revolution & its aftermath destroys Religious Life in most of Europe.
1790 Discalced American & English Carmelite nuns found first American cloister in Port Tobacco, Maryland.
1864 Two German Carmelites from Straubing, Bavaria establish first American foundation in Leavenworth, Kansas.
1873-1897 Life of St. Therese of Lisieux inspires future Carmelites.
1875 Carmelites come to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
1890 American Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary (“Purisima Cordis Maria”–PCM), established.
1942 Carmelites, St. Edith Stein & Blessed Titus Brandsma, martyred by Nazis.
1949 PCM Carmelites establish presence in Peru.
1995 PCM Carmelites establish presence in Mexico.
2007 PCM Carmelites establish presence in El Salvador.
2022 PCM Carmelites establish presence in Honduras.


What is the Carmelite family? 

A group of hermits gathered together in the early 1200s on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land to search for God, to form community, and to help pilgrims and crusaders.  From these simple beginnings the Carmelite Order has spread throughout the world and has grown many branches.  We call all these branches ‘the Carmelite family.’

The Friars

When Europeans lost control of the Holy Land, those first hermits left Mount Carmel for Europe.  There they soon adapted their Rule to the new Mendicant (itinerant preachers) Movement and became friars (brothers) like the newly-founded Franciscan friars, Dominican friars, and Augustinian friars.  All the members of the male branch of the Carmelite Order are friars and they are active in many public ministries. Please note that both the ordained men (priests) and the non-ordained men are called friars.

The Nuns

In the mid-1400s, Blessed John Soreth, Prior General of the Order, opened the Order to women.  Some of these women gathered into cloistered (enclosed) communities focused on prayer.  These enclosed communities are called monasteries or ‘Carmels’ and these cloistered women are called ‘nuns.’

For more information about the nuns contact us.

The Sisters

At the same time some of these women gathered into active communities with public ministries like teaching, healthcare, and working with the poor.  These active women professed the same vows but are called ‘sisters’ rather than ‘nuns.’

For more information about the sisters, visit

Lay Carmelites

Simultaneously lay members of the Church, whether single or married, began to follow the Carmelite pattern of prayer and ministry in their daily lives while living in their own homes.  This branch of the Order is called the ‘Lay Carmelites.’

For more information about the Lay Carmelites, visit