Who are we?

Discalced Carmelite Seculars come from all walks of life, from every level of education and from every type of work. We are Catholic laypersons over the age of 18 (married or unmarried) or ordained diocesan priests or deacons.

There are more than 45,000 Discalced Carmelite Seculars worldwide and more than 6,000 in the United States. We gather in canonically erected communities or recognized study groups under the guidance and leadership of the order.

Discalced Carmelite Seculars are practicing members of the Catholic Church who, under the protection of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and inspired by St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross, make the commitment to the Discalced Carmelite Order to seek the face of God for the sake of the church and the world.

What is the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order?

Discalced Carmelites Seculars are members of the Carmelite family of the 16th –century reform of St. Teresa of Jesus. Discalced means unshod.

St. Teresa’s followers wore sandals rather than shoes, a practice which distinguished them from Carmelites of the Ancient Observance. These followers are present in the modern world as friars, enclosed nuns, and seculars. The Discalced Carmelite Order is “nourished by the long tradition of Carmel, expressed in the Rule of Saint Albert and the doctrine of the Carmelite doctors of the church and the order’s other saints.”

(Constitutions of the Secular Order of the Teresian Carmel,” 2003)

What is required of Discalced Carmelite Seculars?

The following principles of the Rule of Saint Albert, written for the hermits on Mount Carmel in the 13th century, guide Carmelite Secular life today:

* Living in allegiance to Jesus Christ

* Being diligent in meditating on the law of the Lord

* Giving time to spiritual reading

* Participating in the liturgy of the Church, both the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours

* Arming ourselves with the practice of the virtues

* Seeking interior silence and solitude

* Using prudent discretion in all that we do.

(from the “Constitutions of the Secular Order of the Teresian Carmel,” 2003)

What is the timetable for becoming a Discalced Carmelite Secular?

The entire period of formation commonly requires about six years.


Attendance at 12 monthly meetings of the community is required, so the Aspirant may be supported by its members as he or she learns more about secular life and discerns whether he or she has a vocation to the order.

First period of formation

A minimum of two years is required for study and growth in prayer, the apostolate and community life. At the end of this time, the council of the community may invite the candidate to make Temporary Promises of poverty, chastity and obedience to the order.

Second Period of formation

At least three years precedes Definitive Promises. Either period of formation may be extended if the council and the individual in formation agree that doing so is in the best interest of the candidate.

Where do Discalced Carmelite Seculars meet in this area?

The St. Teresa of Jesus OCDS Community has met in this area since 1993. The group currently meets monthly in a local Catholic parish in the Cedar Rapids area. Its apostolate is to pray for priests and for vocations to the priesthood.

For more information, contact:

Cindy McElliott, OCDS: raeofsun2(at)aol(dot)com