Discalced Carmelites

Discalced Carmelites

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Discalced Carmelites

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The Discalced Carmelites, or Barefoot Carmelites, is a Catholic mendicant order with roots in the eremitic tradition of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. The order was established in 1593, pursuant to the reform of the Carmelite Order by two Spanish saints, St. Teresa of Ávila and St. John of the Cross.

The Discalced Carmelite order is now known by the initials "O.C.D." (The older branch of the order, Carmelites of the Ancient Observance, has the initials "O. Carm."). The secular branch of the order (the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, formerly known as the Third Order), has the initials "O.C.D.S."


In the 16th century, St. Teresa of Ávila's work of reform began with herself. She made a vow always to follow the most perfect course, and resolved to keep the rule as perfectly as she could. A group of nuns assembled in her cell one September evening in 1560, taking their inspiration from the primitive tradition of Carmel and the discalced reform of St. Peter of Alcantara, proposed the foundation of a monastery of an eremitical type. On August 24, 1562, the new monastery dedicated to St. Joseph was founded. Then in Duruelo, with John of the Cross and Anthony of Jesus, they founded the first convent of Discalced Brethren in November 1568.

For a Carmelite, prayer is deeply theological. It is guided by the teachings and experience of St. Teresa of Ávila and St. John of the Cross, as well as the saints who have followed in their steps,...
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