All are called to share, in charity, the
holiness which belongs to God alone: You must therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly
Father is perfect (Mt 5:48).
Following Christ is the way to attain
perfection, open to all by baptism. Through Baptism we take part in the triple mission of
Jesus: kingly, priestly and prophetic. The first is a commitment to transforming the world
according to Gods design. By the priestly mission, the baptized person offers self
and the whole of creation to the Father with Christ, guided by the Holy Spirit. And as
prophet, the baptized person announces Gods plan for human kind and denounces all
that is contrary to it.
The great Teresian Carmelite family is present
in the world in many forms. The nucleus of this family is the Order of Discalced
Carmelites B the friars, the enclosed nuns, the seculars. It is the one Order with the
same charism. The Order is nourished by the long tradition of Carmel, expressed in the
Rule of Saint Albert and the doctrine of the Carmelite Doctors of the Church and the
Orders other saints.
The present OCDS Constitutions are the
fundamental law for its members, present in different regions of the world. For this
reason they are characterized by simplicity of structures and moderation in rules
concerning the way of life. In this way, within a fundamental unity established by this
legislation, there is preserved openness to pluralism in expression demanded by the
various social, cultural and ecclesial contexts. To achieve this, particular Statutes may
be drawn up to complete and adapt the general laws where permitted in these Constitutions.
OUR IDENTITY, VALUES AND COMMITMENT
1. Carmelite Seculars, together with the Friars
and Nuns, are sons and daughters of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Teresa of
Jesus. As a result, they share the same charism with the religious, each according to
their particular state of life. It is one family with the same spiritual possessions, the
same call to holiness (cf. Ep 1:4; 1 P 1:15) and the same apostolic mission. Secular
members contribute to the Order the benefits proper to their secular state of life.
2. Our membership of the Order goes back to the
relationship established between laity and members of religious Orders born in the Middle
Ages. Gradually these relationships took on an official character, forming part of the
religious Institute and taking part in its charism and spirituality. In light of the
Churchs new theology of the laity, Seculars live this membership with a clear
3. The members of the Secular Order of
Discalced Carmelites are faithful members of the Church,
called to live in allegiance to Jesus Chris, through
friendship with the One we know loves us" and
in service to the Church. Under the protection of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in the
biblical tradition of the prophet Elijah and inspired by the teachings of St Teresa of
Jesus and St John of the Cross, they seek to deepen their Christian commitment received in
4. The Virgin Mary is present in a special way,
most of all as a model of faithfulness in listening to the Lord and in service to Him and
to others. Mary is the one who preserved in her heart the life and actions of her Son and
meditated on them, providing for us an example of contemplation. At Cana she
counseled to do what the Lord commanded. Mary is an example of apostolic service. On
another occasion, she waited, persevering in prayer with the apostles, for
the coming of the Holy Spirit, thus giving witness to intercessory prayer. She is Mother
of the Order. Secular Carmel enjoys her special protection and cultivates a sincere Marian
5. Elijah represents the prophetical tradition
of Carmel and is an inspiration to live in the presence of God, seeking Him in solitude
and silence with zeal for Gods glory. The Secular Carmelites live the prophetic
dimension of Christian life and Carmelite spirituality by promoting Gods law of
charity and truth in the world, above all by making themselves the voice for those who
cannot, on their own, express this love and this truth.
6. The Rule of Saint Albert is the original
expression of the spirituality of Carmel. It was written for the lay people who gathered
on Mount Carmel to live a life dedicated to meditation on the Word of God, under the
protection of Our Lady. The following principles of that Rule guide Carmelite life:
a) Living in allegiance to Jesus Christ;
b) Being diligent in meditating on the law of the Lord;
c) Giving time to spiritual reading;
d) Participating in the Churchs Liturgy, both the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the
e) Being concerned for the needs and the good of others in the community;
f) Arming ourselves with the practice of the virtues, as we live an intense life of faith,
hope and charity;
g) Seeking interior silence and solitude in our life of prayer;
h) Using prudent discretion in all that we do.
7. The origin of the Discalced Carmel is to be
found in St Teresa of Jesus. She lived with profound faith in Gods mercy
which strengthened her to persevere in prayer, humility, love for her
brothers and sisters, and love for the Church, leading her to the grace of spiritual
matrimony. Her evangelical self-denial, disposition to service and perseverance in the
practice of the virtues are a daily guide to living the spiritual life. Her
teachings on prayer and the spiritual life are essential to the formation and life of the
8. Saint John of the Cross was the companion of
Saint Teresa in the formation of the Discalced Carmelite Order. He inspires the Secular
Carmelite to be vigilant in the practice of faith, hope and charity. He guides the Secular
Carmelite through the dark night to union with God. In this union with God, the Secular
Carmelite finds the true freedom of the children of God.
9. Taking into account the origins of Carmel
and the Teresian charism, the fundamental elements of the vocation of Teresian Secular
Carmelites can be summarized as follows:
a) to live in allegiance to Jesus Christ,
supported by the imitation and patronage of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, whose way of
life is, for Carmel, a model of being conformed to Christ.
b) to seek a mysterious union with God, by way
of contemplation and apostolic activity, indissolubly joined together, for service to the
c) to give particular importance to prayer
which, nourished by listening to the Word of God and by the liturgy, is conducive to
relating with God as a friend, not just in prayer but in daily living. To be committed to
this life of prayer demands being nourished by faith, hope and, above all, charity in
order to live in the presence and the mystery of the living God;
d) to infuse prayer and life with apostolic
zeal in a climate of human and Christian community;
e) to live evangelical self-denial from a
f) to give importance to the commitment to
evangelization: in the ministry of spirituality as the particular collaboration of the
Secular Order, faithful to its Teresian Carmelite identity.
FOLLOWING JESUS IN THE TERESIAN
10. Christ is the center of our lives and
of Christian experience. Members of the Secular Order are called to live the demands of
following Christ in union with Him, by accepting His teachings and devoting themselves to
Him. To follow Jesus is to take part in His saving mission of proclaiming the Good News
and the establishment of Gods Kingdom (Mt 4:18-19). There are various ways of
following Jesus: all Christians must follow Him, must make Him the law for their lives and
be disposed to fulfil three fundamental demands: to place family ties beneath the
interests of the Kingdom and Jesus himself (Mt 10:37-39; Lk 14: 25-26); to live in
detachment from wealth in order to show that the arrival of the Kingdom does not depend on
human means but rather on Gods strength and the willingness of the human person
before Him (Lk 14:33); to carry the cross of accepting Gods will revealed in the
mission that He has confided to each person (Lk 14:33; 9:23).
11. Following Jesus as members of the Secular
Order is expressed by the promise to strive for evangelical perfection in the spirit of
the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience and through the beatitudes. By
means of this promise the members baptismal commitment is strengthened for the
service of Gods plan in the world. This promise is a pledge to pursue personal
holiness, which necessarily carries with it a commitment to serving the Church in
faithfulness to the Teresian Carmelite charism. The promise is taken before the members of
the community, representing the whole Church and in the presence of the Delegate of the
Superior of the Order.
12. By the promise made to the community in the
presence of the Superior of the Order or his Delegate, the person becomes a full member of
the Secular Order. By this commitment members strive to acquire the necessary training to
know the reasons, the content and purpose of the evangelical lifestyle they are
undertaking. The promise heightens and enriches the baptismal commitment in Secular
Carmelites. This includes those called to married life, both as spouses and as parents.
This promise in renewed once a year at Easter time.
The commitment to the promise to live the
spirit of the evangelical counsel of chastity
13. The promise of chastity reinforces the
commitment to love God above all else, and to love others with the love God has for them.
In this promise the Secular Carmelite seeks the freedom to love God and neighbor
unselfishly giving witness to the divine intimacy promised by the beatitude
blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God (Mt 5:8). The promise of chastity is
a commitment to Christian love in its personal and social dimensions in order to create
authentic community in the world. By this promise the Secular Carmelite also expresses the
conscious desire to respect each person as required by Gods law and ones state
of life, as a single person or married or widowed. This promise does not prevent a change
in state of life.
The commitment to the promise of living the
spirit of the evangelical counsel of poverty
14. By the promise of poverty the Secular
Carmelite expresses the desire to live in accordance with the Gospel and its values. In
evangelical poverty there is a wealth of generosity, self-denial, and interior liberty and
a dependence on Him who though rich, yet for our sake, became poor (2 Co 8:9), and who
emptied Himself (Ph 2:7), to be at the service of His brothers and sisters. The promise of
poverty seeks an evangelical use of the goods of this world and of personal talents, as
well as the exercise of personal responsibilities in society, in family, and work,
confidently placing all in the hands of God. It also implies a commitment to the cause of
justice so that the world itself responds to Gods plan. In combination with these,
evangelical poverty recognizes personal limitations and surrenders them to God with
confidence in His goodness and fidelity.
The commitment to the promise to live the
spirit of the evangelical counsel of obedience
15. The promise of obedience is a pledge to
live open to the will of God, in whom we live and move and have our being (Ac 17:28)
imitating Christ who accepted the Fathers will and was obedient unto death, death on
a cross (Ph 2:8). The promise of obedience is an exercise of faith leading to the search
for Gods will in the events and challenges in society and our own personal life. For
this reason the Secular Carmelite freely cooperates with those who have responsibility for
guiding the community and the Order in discerning and accepting Gods ways: the
Communitys Council, the Provincial and the General.
The commitment to the promise to live the
spirit of the beatitudes
16. The beatitudes are a plan of action for
life and a way to enter into relationship with the world, neighbors and co-workers,
families and friends. By promising to live the beatitudes in daily life, Secular
Carmelites seek to give evangelical witness as members of the Church and the Order, and by
this witness invite the world to follow Christ: the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6).
WITNESSES TO THE EXPERIENCE OF GOD
17. The vocation to the Teresian Carmel is
a commitment to live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ, pondering the Lords law
day and night and keeping watch in prayer.
Faithful to this principle of the Rule, St Teresa placed prayer as the foundation and
basic exercise of her religious family. For this reason, Secular Carmelites are called to
strive to make prayer penetrate their whole existence, in order to walk in the presence of
the living God (cf. 1 K 18:14), through the constant exercise of faith, hope and love, in
such a way that the whole of their life is a prayer, a search for union with God. The goal
will be to achieve the integration of experience of God with the experience of life: to be
contemplatives. in prayer and the fulfillment of their own mission.
18. Prayer, a dialogue of friendship with God,
ought to be nourished by His Word so that this dialogue becomes that, Awe speak to him
when we pray; we hear him when we read the divine word. Gods Word
will nourish the contemplative experience of Carmelite Seculars and their mission in the
world. Besides personal contemplation, listening to the Word ought to encourage a
contemplation that leads to sharing the experience of God in the Secular Order community.
By this means, the Community together seeks to discern Gods ways, maintain a
permanent energy of conversion, and live with a renewed hope. The Carmelite Secular will
be able to see through events and discover God in everything.
19. Occupying a privileged place in nourishing
the prayer life of Carmelite Seculars will be the study and spiritual reading of Scripture
and the writings of our Saints, particularly those who are Doctors of the Church: St
Teresa, St John of the Cross and St Therese of the Child Jesus. The Churchs
documents are also food and inspiration for a commitment to follow Jesus.
20. The Carmelite Secular will make sure to
have special times set apart for prayer, as times of greater awareness of the Lords
presence and an interior space for a personal and intimate meeting with Him. This will
lead to prayer as an attitude of life, that will always and everywhere recognize God
...... seek his will in every event, see Christ in all people whether they be a relative
or a stranger, and make correct judgments about the true meaning and value of temporal
things both in themselves and in their relation to humankind's final goal.
Thus they will achieve a union of contemplation and action in history, integrating faith
and life, prayer and action, contemplation and Christian commitment.
21. Carmelite Seculars will commit themselves
daily to spending a time in the practice of mental prayer. This is the time to be with God
and to strengthen their relationship with Him so that they can be true witnesses to His
presence in the world.
22. The way of Christian prayer demands a life
of evangelical self-denial (Lk 9:23) in fulfilling ones own vocation and mission,
since prayer and comfortable living are incompatible. Carmelite Seculars
accept from the viewpoint of faith, hope and love, the work and suffering of each day,
family worries, the uncertainty and limitations of human life, sickness, lack of
understanding and all that makes up the fabric of our earthly existence. They will strive
to make all this, material for their dialogue with God, in order to grow in an attitude of
praise and gratitude to the Lord. In order to live truly, simply, freely, humbly and
completely confident in the Lord, the Secular Carmelite observes the practices of
evangelical self-denial recommended by the Church. Of particular importance are those days
and periods in the liturgical calendar that have a penitential character.
23. The personal prayer life of the Carmelite
Secular, understood as friendship with God, is also nourished and expressed in the
liturgy, an inexhaustible font for the spiritual life. Liturgical prayer enriches personal
prayer and this, in its turn, gives a lively expression to liturgical participation. In
the Secular Order a special place is given to the liturgy, understood as Gods Word
celebrated in active hope, after having received it by faith and the commitment to live it
in effective love. The Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation, need to be
lived as signs and instruments of the freeing action of God and as an encounter with the
Paschal Christ, present in the ecclesial community. They are grace-giving structures in
opposition to the structures for sin in society. Carmelite Seculars strives to discover in
liturgical prayer the presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit, living and demanding
something of us in everyday life. In the liturgical year, they will experience the
mysteries of redemption which inspire collaboration in bringing about Gods plan. The
Liturgy of the Hours, for its part, brings the Secular Carmelite into communion with the
prayer of Jesus and the Church.
24. The value of the sacramental and liturgical
life in the Secular Order leads its members to take part in the celebration of the
Eucharist, in as far as possible. They will try to recite Morning Prayer and Evening
Prayer of the Hours in union with the Church spread throughout the world. When it is
possible they will also recite Night Prayer. Their participation in the sacrament of
Reconciliation and the other sacraments of the Church will assist the process of their
SERVING GODS PLAN
25. The lay faithful, precisely because
they are members of the Church, have the vocation and mission of proclaiming the Gospel:
they are prepared for this work by the sacraments of Christian Initiation and by the gifts
of the Holy Spirit. The spirituality of Carmel will awaken in Secular
Carmelites a desire for greater apostolic commitment, in becoming aware of all that their
call to Carmel implies. Aware of the need the world has of witnesses to God=s presence,
they will respond to the invitation the Church directs to all Associations of the faithful
followers of Christ, committing them to human society by means of active participation in
the apostolic goal of the Church=s mission, within the framework of their own charism. As
a fruit of this participation in evangelization, Carmelite Seculars will share a renewed
taste for prayer, contemplation and the liturgical and sacramental life.
26. The vocation to the Secular Order is truly
ecclesial. Prayer and apostolate, when they are true, are inseparable. The observation of
St Teresa that the purpose of prayer is the birth of good works reminds the
Secular Order that graces received ought to have an effect on those who receive them.
Individually or as a community and, above all as members of the Church, apostolic activity
is the fruit of prayer. Where possible, in collaboration with religious superiors and with
the necessary permissions of those in charge, the communities of the Secular Order
participate in the apostolate of the Order
27. The Carmelite Secular is called to live and
witness the charism of the Teresian Carmel in the local Church, that portion of the People
of God in which the Church of Christ is truly present and acts. All will
try to be living witnesses of Gods presence and accept responsibility for the need
the Church has of concrete help within the pastoral concerns in its evangelizing mission
under the direction of the bishop. For this reason, each one will have an apostolate
either collaborating with others in the community or individually.
28. To their apostolic commitment they will
bring the wealth of their spirituality in the various forms it takes in evangelization:
missions, parishes, houses of prayer, Spirituality Institutes, prayer groups, the ministry
of spirituality. With their particular contribution as Secular Carmelites they can offer
the Teresian Carmel fresh inspiration for a renewed spiritual and apostolic dynamism
with creative fidelity to their mission in the Church. The different apostolic activities
of the Secular Order will be specified and evaluated in the Particular Statutes for the
various geographical areas.
WITH MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS
29. In the interior dynamism of following
Jesus, Carmel contemplates Mary as Mother and Sister, as the perfect model of the disciple
of the Lord and, as such, a model for the life of the members of the Order.
The Virgin of the Magnificat proclaims the break with the old order and announces the
beginning of a new order in which God casts the mighty down from their thrones and exalts
the poor. Mary places herself on the side of the poor and proclaims how God acts in
history. For Secular Carmelites, Mary is a model of total commitment to Gods
Kingdom. She teaches us to listen to Gods Word in Scripture and in life, to believe
in it in every circumstance in order to live its demands. All this she did, without
understanding many things; pondering all in her heart (Lk 2:19, 50-51) until light dawned
through contemplative prayer.
30. Mary is also an ideal and inspiration for
the Secular Carmelite. She lived close to people and their needs, being concerned about
them (Lk 1:39-45; Jn 2:1-12; Ac 1:14). She, the most perfect image of freedom and of the
liberation of humanity and of the universe, helps us understand the meaning
of mission. She, Mother and Sister, who goes before us in a pilgrimage of faith and in
following the Lord Jesus, keeps us company so that we may imitate her life hidden in
Christ and committed to the service of others.
31. While giving life to Teresian Carmelite
spirituality, Marys presence also shapes its apostolate. As a result, the Secular
Carmelite is committed to knowing Mary better, daily, through the Gospel to communicate to
others an authentic Marian devotion leading to imitating her virtues. Guided by the
outlook of faith, members of the Secular Order will celebrate and promote the liturgical
devotion to the Mother of God in light of the mystery of Christ and the Church. They will
practice, in faith and love, the devotional exercises in her honor.
FORMATION IN THE SCHOOL OF CARMEL
32. The central object of the process of
formation in the Secular Order is to prepare the person to live the charism and
spirituality of Carmel in its following of Christ, and in service to its mission.
33. With sincere interest in the teachings of
the Church and the spirituality of our Carmelite Saints, Carmelite Seculars seek to be men
and women who are mature in the practice of faith, hope and love, and in their devotion to
the Virgin Mary. They commit themselves to deepening their Christian, ecclesial and
Carmelite life. Christian formation is the solid basis of Carmelite and spiritual
formation. Through the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Church documents, Secular
Carmelites receive the necessary theological foundation.
34. Both initial and ongoing formation in the
teachings of Teresa and John of the Cross, help to develop in the Carmelite Secular a
human, Christian and spiritual maturity for service to the Church. Human formation
develops the ability for interpersonal dialogue, mutual respect and tolerance, the
possibility of being corrected and correcting with serenity, and the capacity to persevere
35. Carmelite identity is confirmed by
formation in the Scriptures and lectio divina, in the importance of the liturgy of
Church, especially the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours, and in the spirituality of
Carmel, its history, the works of the Orders saints, and formation in prayer and
Formation for the apostolate is based on the
theology of the Church concerning the responsibility of the laity and on
understanding the role of Seculars in the apostolate of the Order. These help to know the
place of the Secular Order in the Church and in Carmel and give a practical way to share
the graces received through the vocation to Carmel.
36. The gradual introduction to the life of the
Secular Order is structured in the following manner:
a) A sufficient period of contact with the
community for no less that 6 months. The purpose of this stage is that the applicant might
become more familiar with the community, the style of life and service to the Church
proper to the Secular Order of the Teresian Carmel. This period also give the community
the opportunity to make an adequate discernment. The Provincial Statutes will specify this
b) After the initial period of contact, the
council of the community may admit the applicant to a more serious period of formation
that usually lasts for two years leading up to the first promises. At the beginning of
this period of formation, the scapular is given to the applicant. This is an outward
symbol of membership in the Order, and the sign that Mary is both Mother and Model on this
c) At the end of this stage, with the approval
of the Council of the Community, the applicant may be invited to make the first promises
to follow the evangelical counsels and to live in the spirit of the beatitudes for a
period of three years.
d) In the last three years of initial formation
there is a deeper study of prayer, the Scriptures, the Documents of the Church, the Saints
of the Order and formation in the apostolate of the Order. At the end of these three years
the applicant may be invited by the Council to make the Definitive Promises to live the
evangelical counsels and the spirit of the Beatitudes for life.
ORGANIZATION AND GOVERNMENT
37. The Secular Order of Our Lady of Mount
Carmel and Saint Teresa of Jesus is an association of the faithful and an integral part of
the Discalced Carmelite Order. It is essentially lay in character, with the welcome
participation of diocesan clergy.
38. The friars and nuns of the Teresian Carmel
consider the lay community of Secular Carmel an enrichment to their consecrated life.
Through mutual interaction the friars and nuns wish to learn from the Secular Carmelites
to recognize the signs of the times together with them. For this reason, it will be
arranged that representatives of the Secular Order are present when the apostolic service
of the Order is planned in a geographical area, at a local or provincial level, or when
serious study is made on the situation in the Church or in society.
39. All of Christs faithful have the
right to make vows. With the consent of the Council of the community and
the permission of the Provincial, a member of the Secular Order may make vows of obedience
and chastity in the presence of the community. These vows are strictly personal and do not
create a separate category of membership. They suppose a greater commitment of fidelity to
the evangelical life but do not transform those who make them into juridically recognized
consecrated people as in Institutes of consecrated life. Those who make vows in the
Secular Order continue to be lay persons in all juridical effects.
40. The Secular Order is basically structured
on the local community as a visible sign of the Church. At the Provincial level and in the
local communities, the Secular Order enjoys juridical personality.
41. The Secular Order is juridically dependent
on the Discalced Carmelite Friars. The Superior General establishes the
local communities and makes pastoral visitations. He may dispense, in particular cases
from the Constitutions and local statutes and can grant juridical exceptions. He has the
authority to resolve cases which are not foreseen by this legislation and which cannot be
resolved by local authorities. A general Delegate assists the Superior General. His
responsibility is to further relations between the Religious and the Seculars and to
maintain contact with the Provincial Delegates and Assistants to each community to insure
the purpose and well-being of the Secular Order.
42. The General Definitory of the Order
approves the regional and provincial statutes of the Secular Order.
43. The Provincial Superior, usually aided by
the Provincial Delegate, is the Superior of the Secular Order within his territory.
He is responsible for the well-being of the Secular Order within the territory of his
jurisdiction. He is to make visitations of the communities in his jurisdiction and, after
consultation with the Council, appoint a Spiritual Assistant for communities.
In case of disputes, appeal will be made in the first instance to the Provincial.
44. The Spiritual Assistant to each community
is usually a friar of the Order. His duty is to give spiritual aid to the community so
that its members may be guided in their vocation and may correspond with it as perfectly
as possible. He will also endeavor to promote solidarity between the secular community and
the friars and nuns of the Order. At the invitation of the Council he may attend meetings
of the Council, without a right to vote. At the different stages of formation of the
candidates, he will be available to interview them. The Council may consult him about the
suitability of the candidate to assume the responsibility of the vocation to the Secular
Order. He will support the formation of the community by his availability to the director
of formation. However, he may not be the director of formation. The Spiritual Assistant
must be well-versed in Carmelite spirituality and well-informed in the Churchs
teaching concerning the role of lay people in the Church.
45. Only the General of the Order for those
territories where there are no friars, or the Provincial within his territory, may appoint
as Assistant one who is not a friar of the Order, always with the consent of the
candidates own superior. The General Delegate or the Provincial Delegate will assist
in this appointment by interviewing the candidate. They will look for the same qualities
as mentioned in number 44 of these norms.
46. The Council, composed of the President and
three Councilors and the Director of Formation, constitutes the immediate authority of the
community. The primary responsibility of the Council is the formation and Christian and
Carmelite maturing of the members of the community.
47. The Council has the authority:
a) to admit candidates to formation, the
Promises, and the Vows;
b) to reduce, for adequate reasons, the period of formation before temporary Promises,
with the permission of the Provincial;
c) to convene the community for the triennial elections;
d) to replace, for a serious reason, a member of the Council itself;
e) to dismiss a member of the community, should this be necessary, after consulting the
f) to receive a member transferring from another community;
g) if a matter should arise that is outside the competence of the Council, it is the
obligation of the President to bring it to the attention of the Provincial.
The Council meets frequently and always when
necessary in reference to taking care of formation programs and the growth of their own
48. The General Superior, the Provincial
Superior and the Council of the community are the legitimate superiors of the Secular
49. For the establishment of a new community it
is necessary to present to the General Secretary of the Secular Order the following
a) a list of the current members, at least 10
members are required to form a community, two of whom must have made definitive promises;
b) a letter from the Provincial Delegate requesting the establishment of the community;
c) the permission of the Ordinary of the Diocese in writing;
d) the title of the community;
e) the place of the community meeting.
50. Every three years, each local community of
the Secular Order elects its President and three Councilors. These four
officers, after consulting the Assistant, elect the Director of Formation from among those
who have made definitive promises. The Council then names a Secretary and a Treasurer. The
procedure for the elections is to be determined by the Provincial Statutes, respecting the
complete liberty of the electors, the preferences of the majority of the members. For the
President to be re-elected to a third term as President, the permission of the Provincial
Superior is required.
51. The President, elected from among those who
have made final promises, has the duty to convoke and preside over the meetings of the
community. He should show fraternal service to all the members of the community; foster a
spirit of Christian and Carmelite affability, being careful to avoid any demonstration of
preference for some members over others; coordinate contacts with those members of the
community who because of age, illness, distance or other reasons, are not able to attend
meetings; aid the Director of Formation and Spiritual Assistant in carrying out their
responsibilities; in their absence, but only temporarily, he may take their place or
designate another to do so from among those who have made definitive promises.
52. The responsibility of the three Councilors
is to form, with the President, the government of the community and to support the
director of formation. Generally they are community members with definitive promises. In
particular circumstances, members with first promises can serve as councilors.
53. The Director of Formation, elected by the
Council from among those who have made definitive promises, has the responsibility of
preparing the candidates for first and definitive promises. The Director works in
collaboration with the Assistant and with the support of the President. In the absence of
the President, the Director of Formation is his substitute for any function.
54. The Secretary of the Council has the
responsibility of keeping up-to-date the register of the community, recording the
elections, admissions, Promises and dismissals. The Secretary is to present the register
to the Council when it meets and to the community at the time of the elections. The
Secretary attends the Council meetings and records the minutes of the meeting, without the
right to vote.
55. The duty of the Treasurer is to take charge
of the administration of the funds of the community. The Treasurer is to present a report
of the funds to the Council every six months, to the community and the Provincial, or
Superior of the Circumscription, once a year. The local statutes are to
determine how the community attends to the needs of the poor.
56. Members of the Secular Order, who for
reasons of distance, age, or illness cannot participate in the regular meetings of a
community, remain members of the Secular Order and, under the authority of the Provincial
Delegate, are to be associated to a particular community. It is the responsibility of the
President of the community to establish contact with those members and the responsibility
of these members to maintain contact with the community.
57. Where there is an organized
circumscription of the friars of the Order, the Secular Order is to form a Provincial
Council to assist one another better in formation and the apostolate, but not for
intervening in the government of the local communities. The President of the Provincial
Council ought to be a member of the Secular Order with definitive promises. The Provincial
Council must submit its statutes to the General Definitory for approval.
58. The Provincial statutes are to determine
a) the development of an adequate program of
b) the acceptance and formation of those new members who do not live near an established
community; in every case these new candidates must be identified with and formed by an
established community. They are considered members of that community;
c) the procedure for elections and the responsibilities of the three councilors;
d) the remembrances for the deceased members of the community;
e) the circumstances and the conditions for taking vows;
f) the minimum and maximum age to accept new members;
g) the maximum number of members of a community before dividing the community to form
h) the coordination of apostolic endeavors within the community or Province;
i) the form and use of the external signs of membership in the Secular Order;
j) the practices of mortification and expressions of devotion to our Blessed Mother and
our Carmelite Saints.
59. If a Secular Order community does not
belong to any particular Province, the community is to establish its own statutes to
determine the above matters. This community submits its statutes to the General Definitory
60. Other structures may be introduced at
national levels where there is more than one Province, or at an international level,
should they be thought useful or necessary for formation, coordination of apostolates of
the Order, and for organizing Congresses. They do not, however, have any jurisdictional
authority. These regional councils are to submit their statutes to the General Definitory
The Constitutions of the Secular Order were
drawn up to strengthen the life purpose of its members, who form part of the Order of the
Teresian Carmel. They are called to testify how the Christian faith constitutes the only
fully valid response......to the problems and hopes that life poses to every person and
society. This they fulfil as Carmelite Seculars if, beginning with a
commitment to contemplation, they succeed in giving daily witness in their family and
social life to an integrated approach to life that is fully brought about by the
inspiration and strength of the Gospel. As Carmelite Seculars, sons and
daughters of Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross, they are called to stand before the
world as a witness to the resurrection and life of the Lord Jesus and a symbol of the
living God, by means of a life of prayer, of service to evangelization and
by means of the witness of a Christian and Carmelite community. All the laity as a
community and each one according to his ability must nourish the world with spiritual
fruits (cf. Gal 5:22). They must diffuse in the world that spirit which animates the poor,
the meek, the peace makers whom the Lord in the Gospel proclaimed as blessed (cf. Mt
5:3-9). In a word, Christians (and Carmelites) must be to the world what the soul is to