Skip to main content

Third Order

Photo: International Lay Carmelite Congress 2012

The Third Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel is an association of lay people who, in response to a call from God promise to live the Gospel in the spirit of the Carmelite Order and under its guidance.

As well as lay people, diocesan priests, who find in the Carmelite charism help for their spiritual lives and their mission in the Church and the world, may be members of the Carmelite Third Order.

The Third Order member is connected to the Carmelite Order by means of the promise which he or she makes. It is possible, following a very ancient custom, to make private vows of chastity and obedience according to one's state in life in order to be consecrated more closely to God.

Lay Carmelites, filled with the spirit of the Order, seek to live their own vocation by silently listening to the Word of God (Lectio Divina). According to the constant tradition of Carmel, they will especially cultivate prayer in all its forms.

The members of the Third Order take their inspiration from the figures of Our Lady and the Prophet Elijah.

In the midst of their normal family lives, in the work place, in their social commitments and relationships with other people, Carmelite Third Order members seek out the hidden image of God. They try to live in the spirit of the Beatitudes, humbly and consistently exercising the virtues of honesty, justice, sincerity, courtesy and fortitude, without which no Christian or human life is possible.

The Carmelite Third Order is divided into communities, fraternities or sodalities which are accompanied by the superiors of the Carmelite Order or their delegates. These groups are instituted by the Prior General of the Carmelite Order according to the law of the Church with the previous approval of the local Bishop.

Those who wish to be members of the Carmelite Third Order must be practicing Catholics. They must not be members of any other Third Order or Secular Institute, except in special cases, and they must be at least 18 years of age. After a period of initial formation, candidates are accepted for profession.

There are very many enthusiastic members of the Carmelite Third Order throughout the world at present. In recent years many new communities of lay Carmelites have been set up in various parts of the world. There has been a marvelous growth in the Third Order especially in the USA, Italy, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Kenya, The Philippines, Indonesia and Timor Leste.

New groups like "Carmelo Domestico" and "La Famiglia of Castellina (Florence)" in Italy, "Carmel Movement" in the Netherlands and the International Missionary Family "Donum Dei". These groups have found in the Carmelite Third Order and its Rule of life a great help to live their own vocation in the Church and the world.

Over the centuries, the Carmelite Third Order has given many models of holiness to the Church. At present there are a number of Third Order members whose causes for beatification are being considered. Among these there are, Liberata Ferrarons (a young Spanish woman who worked in a textile factory), Anita Zelickova (a young Czech woman who offered her life to God in reparation for the sin of abortion) and Carmen de Sojo i Anguera (mother of a large family).

Fr. Kilian Lynch, who was the Prior General of the Carmelite Order from 1947 to 1959, talking to lay Carmelites, said, "The Third Order is an extension of the Order among those who believe. They are members of the Carmelite Order living in the world. In the modern world, the Third Order has greater significance than in past centuries. It is a firm anchor for those working for the transformation of the world."


To whom contact about the Lay Carmelites .....

  • Australia: Anita Renehan, T.O.C. Email: anitaren @
  • Bolivia: Garvin Grech, O.Carm. Email: garvin @
  • Brazil: Vilson Rech, O.Carm. Email: vilsonrech @
    Amanda Rodrigues Jordão, T.O.C. Email: amandajordaor @
  • Canada: Sr. Mary Martin, O.Carm
  • Congo: Désiré Unen Alimange, O.Carm. Email: dunen @
  • Czech Republic: Gorzard Cetkovsky, O.Carm. Email: Gorazd.carm @
  • Germany: Dominikus Lankes, O.Carm. Email: dlankes @
    Matthias Brenken, O.Carm. Email: Matthias.brenken @
  • Great Britain: John Berry T.O.C. Email: delegate @
  • France: Tuveri Gianfranco, O.Carm. Email: gianfranco @
  • Indonesia: Patricia Nancy Lestari Satyawijaya T.O.Carm. Email: patricia-jauw @
  • Italy: Giovanni Grosso, O.Carm. Email: ggrosso @
  • Kenya: Onesmus Muthoka, O.Carm. Email: omuthoka @
  • Malta: Guido Micallef, O.Carm. Email: guidmic @
  • Peru: Alban Quinn, O.Carm. Email: aquinn @
  • Philippines: Roberto Noel Rosas, O.Carm. Email: noelocarm @
    Rosalie Castro, T.O.C. Email: info.tocarm @
    Ruel Santos, T.O.C. Email: info.tocarm @
  • Porto Rico: Luis F. Miranda Rivera, O.Carm. Email: padreluis06 @
  • Spain: Rafael Mª López Melús, O.Carm. Email: amacaronda @
    Manuel Jurado Perea, O.Carm. Email: carmelosuna @
    Matías Tejerina Espeso, O.Carm. Email: mtejerina @
    Gaspar Borda i Bori, O.Carm. Email: gborda @
  • Timor Leste: Irmã Idalia Taveras Taveras. Email: hnaidalia @
  • United States:

           PCM Provincial Coordinator of Lay Carmelites: Cindy A. Perazzo. Email: cperazzo@

           Rose Mary Lancellotti, T.O.C. Email: jsoreth@

  • Zimbabwe: Simplisio Manyika, O.Carm. Email: comprov @



  • General Delegate T.O.C.
    Josef Jancar, O.Carm. Email: jjancar @
  • International Secretary T.O.C.
    Vladimira Polisenska, T.O.C. Email: lay.secretariat @

Curia Generalizia dei Carmelitani
Via Giovanni Lanza, 138, 00184 Roma, Italy.
Tel. (+39) 0664201840 - Fax (+39) 0664201847


  • Famiglia Missionaria Donum Dei
    Via dell'Esquilino, 38, 00185 Roma - Italy.
    Tel. (+39) 064825447 Fax. (+39) 06485513
    Email: mclementine @
  • Istituto Secolare "The Leaven"
    The Secretary: The Leaven
    c/o The Friars, Aylesford, Kent, Great Britain.
    Tel e Fax: (+44) 0883-742488
    Email: leaven @
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."