As Discalced Carmelites we are a family of men and women, both religious and lay, situated in many countries of the world. A deep friendship with Jesus Christ is the foundation and inspiration of our lives. Our vocation is truly Marian: like her we are called daily to ponder Jesus in our hearts. We the daughters and sons of St Teresa of Jesus, strive to live in the presence of God and to serve the Church.
Within the broader family of Carmel, the Discalced Carmelite Nuns stand in a tradition of women called to live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ, following the example of Saint Teresa.
While for most of us the development of our spiritual life is of a more mundane and simple form, Teresa’s spiritual journey was marked by numerous mystical experiences that gradually led her to the reform of the Carmelite way of life as it was lived in her day. At the heart of her efforts at renewal was her insistence that her Carmels be places where a small number of sisters would be gathered together, their lives centred on Christ. Because she understood prayer as friendship with Christ, Teresa wanted her daughters to let this friendship flow over into their everyday lives with each other. The community model she held up to her daughters was that of the apostles gathered around Christ, listening to him, pondering his words and devoting themselves to the spread of the Kingdom he had come to establish. Following this apostolic example, Teresa wanted to ensure that the prayer and sacrifice of the sisters who would follow her pattern of life was directed to the good of the Church. In order to carry out this task more faithfully, Saint Teresa chose an enclosed way of life that was meant to facilitate the full gift of self to God in the contemplative life.
Those of us who live this vocation in the Church today are called to ‘a hidden union with God’ in friendship with Christ. We take Mary our Mother as a special companion and guide. She exemplifies the contemplative way of life as she pondered the Word of God in her heart and lived in obedience to that Word. Like her we are called to contemplation as a way of prayer and a way of life. We live in small communities and our life is a rhythm of liturgical and personal prayer, work and recreation, of times when we are alone and times when we are together. We have a sense of being part of a wonderful array of women who have followed this way of life in great holiness. They remain an inspiration for us and for many others who feel attracted to Carmelite spirituality.
There are various Monasteries of sisters living the Carmelite way of life in this region, and if you select any one of the links for the individual Monasteries you will find information about how each community lives out our vocation. Because a sister enters a Monastery for life (at least this is the usual thing), it means that the different Monasteries take on a characteristically Carmelite aspect that is shaped by the individual sisters that make up the community in question. While we all follow the same Constitutions, each of the Monasteries interprets them in slightly different ways and this means that the various facets of the Carmelite charism are emphasised in a diversity of ways. What we aim for is unity in diversity rather than uniformity. Allow yourself to be surprised by the beauty of Carmel!