Order of Carmelites
Order of Carmelites
Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary
Legally incorporated as 'Society of Mount Carmel'
Provincial Office
1317 Frontage Road
Darien, IL 60561
Phone: 630.971.0050
Our Story
From 12th century crusaders who became hermits on a mountain in the deserts of northern Palestine to the founding of communities in the great cities of Europe and eventually in the Americas and around the world, the history of our Carmelite brotherhood is intimately connected to the lives and stories of individual souls who sought out prayerful solitude together in the world.

At the time of the Crusades to the Holy Land, hermits settled in various places throughout Palestine. Some of these, “following the example of Elijah, a holy man of the Bible and a lover of solitude, adopted a solitary life-style on Mount Carmel, near a spring called Elijah's Fountain. In small cells, similar to the cells of a beehive, they lived as God's bees, gathering the divine honey of spiritual consolation.”

Unlike most religious orders, the Carmelites have no founder. Instead, we trace our beginning to some hermits who settled on Mount Carmel in Palestine more than 800 years ago. Historians are not sure what led these men to give up everything they had to live in bare cells, but we can surmise that they faced personal disappointments or tragedies that led to a desire for a radical change of life. Some may have been unhappy with the violence and excess they saw around them. Others may simply have felt a call to be closer to God.

Moved by “their love of the Holy Land,” these hermits consecrated themselves in this Land to the One who had paid for it by the shedding of his blood, in order that they might serve him, clothed in the habit of religious poverty,” persevering “in holy penance” and forming a fraternal community.

While we call these early Carmelites hermits, they actually lived with others in shared solitude. These first brothers took responsibility for one another. When sometime after 1206 they asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Albert, to draw up their way of life in a Rule, the relationships among themselves and with their leader were critical. This way of life (formula vitae), which Albert presented to them in 1214, directs the hermits to celebrate Eucharist together each day in an oratory built in the midst of thier cells and to gather weekly to encourage and correct each another. This formula became the rule for living that Carmelites still follow today.
Order of Carmelites





Order of Carmelites
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At its centenary, the Province had spread throughout the United States with some 300 members
The mark of our Province signifes Mt. Carmel, Elijah, Elisha and Mary.
The founding document of our structure.
Recognize God in all we meet and serve.
The organizational structure of our Order.