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All Carmelite Saints

Fr. Joseph Hung, O.Carm.

Throughout 800 years of tradition, the Carmelites have been blessed with many saints who made up and shaped the charism of the Order today.  Their lives embraced the teachings of the Divine Master and they lived in “allegiance to Jesus Christ” as the Rule had instructed them.[1]  They shaped themselves through the school of spiritual fire like the Prophet Elias,

their spiritual founder. They imitated the example of Mary, their mother and sister and strove to live a perfect life of faith, hope and charity like her. They gave themselves to the service of God in prayer, in evangelical self-denial, and in love for all souls. Some have shed their own blood.[2]

The Saints of Carmel are depicted as a beautiful garden where there are many kinds of flowers and many kinds of colors.  They are hermits of Mount Carmel who “lived in small cells, similar to the cells of a beehive, who lived as God’s bees, gathering the divine honey of spiritual consolation.”[3] They are mendicants of the first medieval communities, who discovered the presence of God in the events of ordinary daily life and especially seeing God in his brothers and sisters. They are teachers and preachers, missionaries and martyrs who searched for the face of God among the people. They are cloistered nuns who have contributed to the growth of God's people by their mystical experience and especially through their fervent prayer and contemplative life. They are religious, who showed us the face of Christ through their apostolate in hospitals or schools, especially in the mission lands. They are laity, who were able to embody the spirit of Carmel and live that spirit in the midst of the people. They are doctors of the Church, mystics, confessors, virgins, and martyrs. They include Simon Stock, Andrew Corsini, Albert of Trapani, Thomas Moore, John of the Cross, Teresa of Ávila, Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Edith Stein, Titus Brandsma, Angelo Paoli and countless other saints and blesseds of Carmel.  Together with Mary and Elijah they contribute to the strong and dynamic charism of the Order.[4]

They can be great saints that the whole Church venerates and invokes in the liturgy, or they are humble saints, who are known and venerated by only a few outside the Order. But all of them, through their lives, have offered us the secret of holiness to become saints. They can teach us how to live the virtues of hope, love and faith and how to make our daily commitment to God. And they show us how to dedicate our whole heart to Christ.[5]

All the Carmelite Saints let themselves be shaped according to the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who lived in intimate communion with her Son.[6] It is from her that the Carmelites learned to live in allegiance to Christ and to live in the love of Christ. From her they were inspired to consecrate their lives for the Church and for souls. In short, the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary was of absolute importance in the experience of all the Carmelite Saints.[7]

 


[1] Cf. Carmelite Rule #2

[2] Cf. Ludovico Saggi, O.Carm., Santi Del Carmelo (Roma, Italy: Institutum Carmelitanum, 1972) 14.

[3] Smet, 4.

[4] Cf. Ludovico, 14.

[5] Ibid, 15.

[6] Cf. Emanuele Boaga, O.Carm., The Lady of the Place, Mary in the History and in the Life of Carmel (Rome, Italy: Edizioni Carmelitane, 2001) 23.

[7] Ibid.

As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven. 

All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister."