The Community of Teresian Carmelites is an internationally known Carmelite community (Carmel House) of lay men, women and consecrated members of varying ages, who discovered a place where their“love finds a home”. Nonjudgmental compassion and understanding—accompanied by accountability and responsibility—provide a Gospel community and environment of candor, honesty, sincerity and integrity. Similar to the “Desert Fathers and Mothers” (the earliest Christian community of 2nd and 3rd century Egypt), we come together sharing our struggles and blessings. Profound is the realization we are not alone, while sharing a common journey of imperfection and grace.
Each Order (a category of Catholic Religious Institutes) within the Church imitates a facet of Jesus’ way of life as written in the New Testament. Jesuits fundamentally imitate the “Teaching Christ”, Franciscans the “Poor Christ”— Carmelites imitate the “Praying Christ”. Widely known Carmelite saints are Teresa of Avila (1550–1582), John of the Cross (1542–1591), Thérèse of Lisieux (1873–1897) and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein – 1891–1942). Common to Teresa, John, Thérèse and Teresa was their profound love for God expressed through love for those who came into their life. Each unique personality expressed non-judgmental compassion, understanding, accountability and responsibility—the hallmark of a practicing Christian.
Distinct to the Carmelite Charism is our “Way of Life”. Fundamental characteristics are humility (transparent honesty with self, others and God); a desire to be in relationship with one’s self, others and God; and a willingness to be appropriately vulnerable in order to develop friendship.
Carmelite Spirituality invites us “within” ourselves—waking our slumbering hearts wounded by pain, sorrow and fear—into the recesses of Gospel love. (1Corinthians 13:4–13) Mystic, theologian and poet, John of the Cross illustrates the inward journey to God in his book: Accent of Mount Carmel. The way of divine love is a gift from God available for everyone. Embracing the journey of progress and not perfection, provides the framework to “be love, to love and be loved”. (Matthew 22:36–40; Mark 12:30–31) Without a doubt,we grow in intimacy with the Indwelling Presence of God, our relationships with others, while becoming fearless “to be” the love within us.
Choosing the Carmelite “Way of Life” provides a time-tested guide to deeper awareness of ourselves in loving relationship with God, others and community—compelling us to reach out in service.