“Secular Carmelites are called to strive to make prayer penetrate their whole existence, in order to walk in the presence of the Living God.” Constitutions, Discalced Carmelite Secular Order

A secular Carmelite is a lay member of the Order of Carmel. We are called to live the charism of Carmel in the world, according to the Rule of St. Albert, which is to “live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ . . . pondering the Lord’s law day and night and keeping watch in prayer.” The secular fulfills this call in either the married or single state. The Carmel charism (which is a gift or power given by the Holy Spirit) is prayer, particularly contemplative prayer, as taught by Saint Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross, who makes a commitment to seek the face of God by living out this spirituality for the sake of the Church and the world.

Carmel is one of only four canonical orders that permit the admission of lay people. (The Dominicans, Benedictines, and Franciscans also admit seculars.) A secular is also referred to as “Third Order” which references its status in the Church hierarchy. For example, the first order are priests; the second order are nuns; and the third order are lay people.

How do you know if you’ve been called to Carmel?

The person who is called to Carmel is one who is not only drawn to the writings of the Carmelite saints and mystics such as St. Teresa of Jesus, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and to a life of prayer, but also desires to live out this vocation in a community for the good of the Church.

The call to enter a religious order is a serious decision and takes years of discernment by both an individual and the community which they seek to enter.  In total, once a lay person has been admitted to formation in the Order, it will take six years before they will make their final or definitive promise.

If you feel as if you may be called to enter Carmel and bring this spirituality into the world, please visit the following Discalced Carmelite Secular Provinces to find the location of a community near you.

Washington Province 

Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites California-Arizona Province 

February 8, 2020

Mindful Like a Catholic Workshop
Fatima House, Bedminister PA 
Click here to register

April 23, 2020

Authentic Femininity in a #MeToo Age
TASTE Conference
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April 25, 2020

Archdiocese of Philadelphia Deaconate Wives
Topic TBD
St. Agnes Church,  Sellersville, PA

May 2, 2020

Cathlo“Get Spirit Savvy” Young Women of Grace Teen Retreat
Discernment: Abounding in Excellence
Catholic Charistmatic Center, Albuquerque, NM

September 26, 2020

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Millville, PA

October 15, 2019

Authentic Femininity: Women’s Mission in the World
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October 26, 2019

Hearing God’s Voice: Discerning God’s Will for Your Life
Archdiocese of Philadelphia Women’s Conference
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December 7, 2019

In Mary’s Footsteps: Mothers & Daughters Discover the Feminine Genius
Our Lady of the Angels Church
Cape May Courthouse, NJ


    PO Box 1173, Pottstown, PA 19464

    [email protected]




    PO Box 1173, Pottstown, PA 19464

    [email protected]


    PO Box 1173, Pottstown, PA 19464

    [email protected]



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