Tuesday, September 19, 2006

SAINT ALBERT, lawgiver of the Carmelite order

The First Carmelites

This group of hermits living on Mount Carmel were given a Rule of Life by Saint Albert of Jerusalem between 1206 and 1214. The Rule of Saint Albert is perhaps the least known of the existing monastic Rules. It is a Rule noted for its shortness, simplicity and its rootedness in the Bible. It sketches out a way of life based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, stressing continual prayer, in silence and solitude, self-giving and life in community.

After the Saracen conquest of the Holy Land the Order moved westward to Europe, reaching Britain as early as 1242. Certain modifications were introduced to adapt the Rule to the changed conditions in which the Carmelites found themselves. For the most part they ceased to live as hermits and became friars, giving themselves to preaching and pastoral work, though prayer and the eremitical spirit remained the basis of their lives.

Until the 15th century the Order consisted only of friars, priests and lay brothers, although there were several groups of pious women living according to the Carmelite spirit. The Second Order, of nuns, was founded in 1452 by Blessed John Soreth, Prior General of the Order who also founded the Secular Order of Carmel for lay people.

To read St Albert's rule please follow the link LINK