“Prayer and contemplation: this is what we were founded for."
– St Teresa of Avila –
This website is an outreach of the Teresian (Discalced) Carmelites of the Australia-Oceania region. The Carmelites originate from a group of Christians who, seeking a deeper way of life, settled on Mount Carmel in Israel 800 years ago. In the 1560s, in Spain, St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross began founding new communities of Carmelite women and men that sought to return to the simplicity and passion of their forebears on Mount Carmel; these women and men wore sandals to signify their radical commitment to Jesus and so were known as Discalced (barefoot) Carmelites.
The spirit of Teresa and John lives on today in us, and in men and women all over the world. Let this short clip, based on the words of a prayer of St Teresa and composed in honour of her 500th birthday, give you a taste of that spirit!
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone is enough.
The first Carmelites came as pilgrims to Mount Carmel to live a life of prayer and penance. They may have been Crusaders who wanted to live out their lives in Palestine. They adopted a solitary life-style on Mount Carmel near a spring called Elijah’s Fountain.
Carmelite life is Christian life. Hence, it is a life of constant conversion as we strive to live in allegiance to and discipleship of Jesus Christ. In this endeavour, the Blessed Virgin Mary is our model and companion. Like her, our call is to a ‘hidden union with God’ for the sake of the Church and the world.
Discalced Carmelites are called to contemplative union with God, to live in safe, joyful communities of friends who are good friends of Christ and of one another and to share the Gospel with others as co-creators of the communion that is God’s plan for all people.