St. Andrew Corsini
PROCESSION OF THE CARMELITE SAINTS
This painting is hanging in Pilgrim Hall at The National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middletown, New York.
St. Albert of Jerusalem
St. Simon Stock
The Order of Carmelites has its origins on Mount Carmel, in Palestine, where, as we read in the II Book of Kings, the great prophet Elijah defended the true faith in the God of Israel, when he won the challenge against the priests of Baal. It was also on Mount Carmel that the same prophet, praying in solitude, saw the small cloud which brought life-giving rain after the long drought. From time immemorial, this mountain has been considered the lush garden of Palestine and symbol of fertility and beauty. Indeed, "Karmel" means "garden". In the XII century (perhaps after the third crusade, 1189-1191), some penitents-pilgrims who had come from Europe, came together near the "spring of Elijah", in one of the narrow valleys of Mount Carmel, to live out their Christianity as hermits after the example of the prophet Elijah in the very land of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Then and in later times, the Carmelites did not acknowledge anyone in particular as their founder, but remained faithful followers of Elijah who was associated with Mount Carmel through biblical events and through Greek and Latin patristic tradition which saw in the prophet one of the founders of the monastic life. In the middle of the cells, they built a chapel which they dedicated to Mary, Mother of Jesus, thus developing a sense of belonging to Our Lady as Mistress of the place and as Patroness, and they became known by her name as "Brothers of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel". Thus Carmel is deeply associated with Elijah and Mary. From Elijah, the Carmelites inherited a burning passion for the living and true God and the desire to make His Word intimately their own in order to witness to Its presence in the world; with Mary, the purest Mother of God, they are committed to living "in the footsteps of Jesus Christ" with the same intimate and deep feelings which were Mary's.
At the dawn of the French Revolution, the Carmelite Order was established throughout the world with 54 Provinces and 13,000 religious. But as a result of the French Revolution, the Order suffered great losses, such that at the end of the 19th century it was reduced to 8 Provinces and 727 religious. But it was this small band of religious who during the 20th century, with determination and courage, re-established the Order in places where it had been and also planted the Order on new continents.
- taken from the Carmelite Order's website. To read more visit: https://ocarm.org/en/content/ocarm/brief-history-carmelites