Carmelite History

The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel was officially recognized by the church in 1222 by Pope Honorius III who approved the rule given by Saint Albert, Patriarch of Jerusalem, to hermits living on Mount Carmel.

The feminine branch of the Carmelites was begun in 1492 by Blessed John Soreth, General of the Order. Saint Teresa of Jesus, impelled both by mystical graces and by the spiritual needs of her time, founded in 1562 a first monastery in Avila, Spain, from which she initiated the Reform of the Carmelite Order. Aided by the mystical Doctor of the Church, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa succeeded in introducing the Reform among the Carmelite Fathers. From Spain, the monasteries of nuns spread to France, then to Belgium and finally to America in Maryland in 1790. Subsequently this reform, known as the Discalced Carmelites, has monasteries in every part of the world, including Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

This poster of Saint Therese, well known as "The Little Flower", commemorates the centennial year (1997) of her death. Her canonization took place remarkably soon after her short life of twenty four years, but the graces she obtained for the church began immediately after she died. She said "I will spend my heaven doing good on earth" and this is what happened. So many vocations to priesthood and religious life have been due to the influence of Saint Therese through the reading of her autobiography, "The Story of a Soul." Many of the Sisters in the Carmelite Monastery of Salt Lake testify to the fact that they were drawn to the life of Carmel through the example of Saint Therese. What is so inspiring about her writings is the simple down to earth way she can lead young people to desire to serve God as she did. A vocation to the life of Carmel is a call from God but in order to perceive this call many factors are involved. Saint Therese is an instrument used by God to draw young people to Carmel to live a life of intimate prayer for the glory of God, for the good of the church, for priests, and for all people.