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About the Lay Carmelites

The Carmelite Ideal

Since our beginnings in the 13th century, Carmelites have sought to follow Christ in a fraternal community united in a spirit of contemplative prayer and our desire to be of service to God and to the people among whom we live.

Who are the Lay Carmelites?

Well, we are just what the name implies: lay men and women who form an integral part of the Carmelite family and try to live out the Carmelite way of life in the ordinary circumstances of our family and social life.

Lay Carmelite Life

Our way of life is in a spirit of true communion with the entire family of Carmel into which we are fully accepted and incorporated.

The purpose of our commitment is the cultivation of a deeper interior life and a constant conversion that seeks God.

  • in openness of heart and mind to the realities of life and history
  • in contemplative and prayerful reflection on Christ as he is revealed to us in the Scriptures (Luke 2:19 & 5)
  • by a sincere sense of fraternity that extends to all, but especially to the poor and marginalised, and implies an active concern for issues of justice and peace in our world.
  • by faithful fulfilment of the will of God as it is manifested by the commitments arising from each member's individual state in life.

We Carmelites draw their inspiration from the lives of the prophet Elijah and the Blessed Virgin Mary

  • Elijah, "because he is the prophet constantly ready to hear the voice of
    God and sensitive to the most profound needs of the people" (Carmelite General Chapter)
  • Mary, "because of her living presence in the history of salvation" (Carmelite General Chapter)
  • After their example, the Carmelite seeks, experiences and witnesses to "the presence of God in life through openness to reality and to the signs of the times" (Falco Thuis OCarm)

Lay Carmelite Communities

Lay Carmelites are found in most states of Australia. Communities meet at least once a month for prayer and formation in Carmelite Spirituality. Such meetings are a time when we grow together in friendship and a deeper commitment to the values of Carmelite life. Each community arranges days or weekends of prayer throughout the year.

For those, who because of distance or some other reason, are unable to attend a community meeting, a correspondence formation program is available under the guidance of the National Council.

  • pdf Click here  to read the Lay Carmelite Rule - click on an item in the Contents to view that section
  • pdf Click here  to read the Statutes for Lay Carmelites in Australia & New Zealand - click on an item in the Contents to view that section
  • pdf Download a brochure about the Lay Carmelites

An Invitation to you

Any Catholic at least eighteen years old may become a Lay Carmelite. After sharing in the life of the community for about two years and becoming familiar with the spirit of Carmel, and if there is evidence of vocation, the candidate may make an initial commitment for three years. At the end of this period the Lay Carmelite may make commitment for life.

  • If you seek personal growth and spiritual formation in the spirit of Carmel
  • If you wish for an opportunity to share with others in your spiritual journey
  • If you would like to belong to the world-wide Carmelite family, you can contact:

Gabrielle Fogarty
TOC Moderator, Lay Carmelites of Australia & New Zealand
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
mobile: 0409 327 563

Spirituality Groups

Some Lay Carmelite communities also conduct spirituality groups for anyone interested in sharing in prayer and discussion on aspects of spirituality. Anyone seeking a nourishing spiritual life is welcome in these groups. You do not have to be a Catholic. 

If there is no group near you it may be possible to start a spirituality group under the direction of a Carmelite.  Your enquiry to the Carmelite Province Centre is welcome.


More in this category: Carmelite Laity in the Middle Ages »