to be a
his pastoral work,
Father Abed-necco Wambua
Peters, O.C.D. of
Kenya catches a
ride back to the
monastery on a
Carmelite spirituality enables God-seekers to discover new heights and
depths in their own hearts and in the God who calls and loves them.
RoBABLy the most recognizable
member of the Carmelite order is
saint Thérèse of Lisieux, popu-
larly known as the Little Flower. statues
and pictures of this young nun in her
brown habit and white mantle, usually
shown holding a crucifix and an armful
of roses, are found all over the world.
More than a century after her death at age
24, Thérèse remains immensely popular.
What many of her admirers don’t
know is that when 15-year-old Thérèse
Martin entered the Carmelite convent in
her home town in France in 1888, she
was embracing a tradition and a spiri-
tuality that had already produced and
nourished God-seekers for more than
half a millennium.
Who are the Carmelites?
Pat Morrison, a regular contributor to VISION, is editorial director
of ICS Publications, the publishing house of the Washington,
D.C.-based Discalced Carmelite
Friars/Institute of Carmelite Studies. She is a vowed laywoman
in the Carmelite tradition and a member of the
Association of Contemplative Sisters.
Carmelites originated in the Holy Land
as a group of lay hermits some time after
the Third Crusade. Jacques de Vitry,
bishop of Acre in Palestine from 1216 to
1228, said that “after the example of the
holy prophet Elijah [they] live on Mount
Carmel—on that part of the mountain
that is near Haifa, by the wadi [“spring”]
of Elijah. They live as hermits” in a
cluster of cells built around a church they