The Carmelite Secular Order
History and Report
Spiritual perfection is not only the task or duty of religious priests and nuns but is also offered to the Christian faithful: “You must be perfect just as your Father in Heaven is perfect” (Mt 5: 48). Vatican II in its document “Light of the Nations” teaches that all the Christian believers according to their vocation and their state of life have the duty to tend to the perfection of love for God and neighbour and to make their contribution in the respective fields of their profession to the advancement of Humanity.
For many centuries the great religious Orders-Franciscans, Augustinians, Dominicans, and Carmelites- offered opportunities to the Christian families and associations in the neighborhood of their convent and monasteries of partaking and sharing in the spirituality and charism of their own respective Order. These lay persons who while remaining seculars and following secular professions share in the charism of religious Orders were known as Tertiaries.
The Foundation of the Carmelite Tertiaries, which was also called “Third Order,” is attributed to Blessed John Soreth, the Superior General of the Carmelites in 1455. Today the Third or “Secular” Order of Carmel has spread in many countries all over the world. The Secular Carmel has nearly 12,000 members worldwide and 800 being Indians.
Conditions for Membership
Aspirants for membership in the Third Secular Order of Carmel are expected who know and practice their catholic faith as far as possible. Their families should be models of Christian Family living. They should regularly frequent the sacraments and fulfill their religious duties.
Since devotion to Mary, Mother of God has always been a special feature of Carmelites Spirituality, Carmelite Tertiaries are expected to cultivate filial devotion to Mary, wearing Her scapular trustfully and invoking Her through the recitation of Rosary.
the Carmelite Saints, Teresa of Jesus, John of the Cross and Therese of Lisieux popularly known as the Little Flower are three great guides in the spiritual life. They have all been declared Doctors of the Church. Reading their writing sand imbibing their spirituality, Carmelite Tertiaries will enable themselves by God’s grace to grow in faith and love. Thus they will be able to overcome the materialism that is invading all sectors of society.
In this way the members of the Third Carmelite Secular Order will be able to keep faithfully the vows they take after completing the novitiate.
Formation in Carmel Family
Aspirants above 18 years of age are expected to undergo a period of formation before definitive enrolment as members. This period is known as aspirancy. There is another 2 years period of formation known as novitiate. On successful completion of this novitiate candidates may be admitted to the profession of the three Evangelical Counsels in according with their state of life.