"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Mt. Carmel Hermitage
P.O. Box 337
Christoval, Texas 76935-0337  
My Introduction

As far as I understand, there are two Carmelite monasteries of hermits and one cenobitical community in the United States, beside a number of solitaries, men and women.   They are modern communities.   The Carmelite hermits show some of the characteristics of the monks and nuns of Bethlehem in France and elsewhere who follow the Rule of St Bruno, and also many other monastic communities founded either just before of after Vatican II, notably a strong devotion to the Blessed Sacrament exposed and a strong influence of Eastern Orthodox spirituality.   In this they are contemplative witnesses to the compatibility of the two traditions which really belong to each other, even when they differ.

Between the years of 1206 and 1214, there existed a group of hermits living in Mt. Carmel in Palestine that had formed themselves into a group under the leadership of a man named Brocard.

This group proceeded to ask Albert, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, to provide them with a "formula vitae" or rule of life which became the Carmelite rule.

Because of the association of Mt. Carmel with the Prophet Elijah, these first Carmelite hermits took him as their "Dux et Pater", or leader and father.

They also had a particular devotion to Our Lady, building an oratory dedicated to her, and by doing so pledged themselves to her service and placed their community under her patronage and protection. Hence they later became known as "the Brothers of St Mary of Mount Carmel."

Hermits, belonging to ancient Orders or New Institutes, or being directly dependent on the Bishop, bear witness to the passing nature of the present age by the inward and outward separation, from the world. By fasting and Penance, they show that man does not live by bread alone but by the work of God. Such a life "In the Desert" is an invitation to their contemporaries and to the ecclesial community itself, never to lose sight of the supreme vocation, which is to be always with the Lord.  

"From the rising of the sun to its setting..." 

 VIGILS in Church 











NONE in Cell 


4:00   END OF WORK, Return to Cell
VESPERS in Church

"...may the name of the Lord be praised."

This hermitage is obviously respected in monastic circles and received a visit from the Prior of the Camaldolese monastery of Monte Corona a couple of years ago.


Carmelite Hermitage
of the Blessed Virgin Mary 
8249 de Montreville Trail 
Lake Elmo, MN 55042-9545

the Divine Liturgy

This community is obviously more influenced by Orthodox spirituality than the one above.   The very shape of their chapel interior shows this, calling the Mass the "Divine Liturgy", together with their strong emphasis on icons.  Yet they are Latin Rite, using the Carmelite use that was the liturgy of the Latin Rite Christians in Jerusalem at the time the Carmelites were forced to leave Mount Carmel.   They brought it to England where they settled at Aylesford Priory in Kent under St Simon Stock.   The hermits sing the Mass in English, but use Gregorian Chant on Sundays and feastdays.


The Hermits of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel were founded in 1987 as an eremitical Carmelite Shield community of Carmelites within the ancient Order of Carmel. We lead a semi-eremitical, semi-communal form of life, based upon the Carmelite Rule and the spiritual teaching of the saints of Carmel.

By means of prayer and silence, stillness and solitude, we seek a participation in the life of the indwelling Holy Trinity. Gathering the faculties of the soul to employ them in the unceasing remembrance of God and the work of love, we attempt to fulfill the admonition of Sacred Scripture to pray always (Lk. 18:1 and 1 Thes. 5:17).

Our Lady of Mount Carmel The Blessed Virgin Mary is the principal patroness of the Order of Carmel and of our monastic community. The goal of our life is to be pure of heart, as she, the Immaculate Virgin, is pure of heart, in order that our life may be given over completely to the service and worship of Christ, her Son. The maternal tenderness and transfigured beauty of the Mother of God compel us to place ourselves beneath her protection.

As far as possible, we support ourselves by the labor of our hands and minds. We lead a simple life; our treasures are spiritual not material, yet our life is wholesome, nourishing body, mind, and spirit. Monastery Cloister

We are mindful of the living reality of the Body of Christ which is the Communion of Saints. We desire to strengthen this Communion and hasten the Kingdom of God by acting as a hidden leaven in the Church (Mt. 13:33). Although hidden from the world, we are at the same time silent witnesses and living signs of the future glory which was once revealed in the Resurrection of Christ and is to be fully revealed at His return. For the grace of God which brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this world, while we await our blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Tit. 2:1 1-13).

Strive to preserve your heart in peace and let no event of this world disturb it. Reflect that all must come to an end.   + Keep spiritually tranquil in a loving attentiveness to God and when it is necessary to speak, let it be with the same calm and peace. + Let Christ crucified be enough for you, and with Him suffer and rest.

+ St. John of the Cross


Monastery Cloister

Aspirants to our life must be between the ages of 20 and 40. After initial correspondence, a visit to the hermitage is arranged. A simple application process precedes postulancy, which begins on the day of entrance and lasts for six months to one year. At the end of this period, the postulant receives the Carmelite habit and a new name. He then begins a two year novitiate. Upon successful completion of this program of formation, the novice makes vows of obedience, chastity and poverty, first for three years, and then for life.

Our Community is composed both of priests and brothers. We do not engage in priestly ministry outside of our monastery with the exception that we offer assistance to the Carmelite Nuns by way of retreats, conferences and spiritual direction.

All of us who wear this sacred habit of Carmel are called to prayer and contemplation, because that was the first principle of our Order and because we are descended from the line of those Holy Fathers of ours from Mount Carmel who sought in such great solitude this treasure, this precious pearl of which we speak.

Brother reading

+ St. Teresa of Jesus

Our life is composed of prayer and study, manual and intellectual labor. Both liturgical and personal prayer are important to us. Most important of all is that our prayer spring from a pure heart and lead us back into the heart, the dwelling place of the Holy Trinity.

Carmelite Monastery The study of sacred things is a source of nourishment for the spirit. Particular emphasis is given to Carmelite and monastic spirituality and to the liturgy. We occasionally author books and articles in these and related fields. Manual labor provides an important balance to the work of the mind and helps to sustain the hermitage. We have an extensive garden, carpentry and leather shops, as well as a studio of sacred art. The studio makes available reproductions of the original iconographic art created by us for use in worship in our private monastery chapel. Friends of the monastery fulfill many of the business requirements of the studio, leaving us free to pursue our first vocation,which is prayer.

Monastery Hermitages

 Each member of our community spends part of his day in the solitude of his hermitage. We come together as a community for the liturgy, meals and an hour of recreation during which the silence is lifted and we enjoy the company and conversation of one another. A greater degree of solitude is permitted to experienced members of the community.

Carmelite Rule

The Rule of Saint Albert

[1]  Albert, called by God's favour to be patriarch of the church of Jerusalem, bids health in the Lord and the blessing of the Holy Spirit to his beloved sons in Christ, B. and the other hermits under obedience to him, who live near the spring on Mount Carmel. 

[2] Many and varied are the ways in which our saintly forefathers laid down how everyone, whatever his station or the kind of religious observance he has chosen, should live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ -- how, pure in heart and stout in conscience, he must be unswerving in the service of his Master. 

[3] It is to me, however, that you have come for a rule of life in keeping with your avowed purpose, a rule you may hold fast to henceforward; and therefore: 

[4] The first thing I require is for you to have a prior, one of yourselves, who is to be chosen for the office by common consent, or that of the greater and maturer part of you; each of the others must promise him obedience -- of which, once promised, he must try to make his deeds the true reflection -- and also chastity and the renunciation of ownership. 

[5] If the prior and brothers see fit, you may have foundations in solitary places, or where you are given a site that is suitable and convenient for the observance proper to your Order. 

[6] Next, each one of you is to have a separate cell, situated as the lie of the land you propose to occupy may dictate, and allotted by disposition of the prior with the agreement of the other brothers, or the more mature among them. 

[7] However, you are to eat whatever may have been given you in a common refectory, listening together meanwhile to a reading from Holy Scripture where that can be done without difficulty. 

[8] None of the brothers is to occupy a cell other than that allotted to him or to exchange cells with another, without leave or whoever is prior at the time.

[9] The prior's cell should stand near the entrance to your property, so that he may be the first to meet those who approach, and whatever has to be done in consequence may all be carried out as he may decide and order. 

[10] Each one of you is to stay in his own cell or nearby, pondering the Lord's law day and night and keeping watch at his prayers unless attending to some other duty. 

[11]  Those who know how to say the canonical hours with those in orders should do so, in the way those holy forefathers of ours laid down, and according to the Church's approved custom. Those who do not know the hours must say twenty-five Our Fathers for the night office, except on Sundays and solemnities when that number is to be doubled so that the Our Father is said fifty times; the same prayer must be said seven times in the morning in place of Lauds, and seven times too for each of the other hours, except for Vespers when it must be said fifteen times. 

[12] None of the brothers must lay claim to anything as his own, but you are to possess everything in common; and each is to receive from the prior -- that is from the brother he appoints for the purpose -- whatever befits his age and needs. 

[13] You may have as many asses and mules as you need, however, and may keep a certain amount of livestock or poultry. 

[14] An oratory should be built as conveniently as possible among the cells, where, if it can be done without difficulty, you are to gather each morning to hear Mass. 

[15] On Sundays too, or other days if necessary, you should discuss matters of discipline and your spiritual welfare; and on this occasion the indiscretions and failings of the brothers, if any be found at fault, should be lovingly corrected. 

[16] You are to fast every day, except Sundays, from the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross until Easter Day, unless bodily sickness or feebleness, or some other good reason, demand a dispensation from the fast; for necessity overrides every law. 

[17] You are to abstain from meat, except as a remedy for sickness or feebleness. But as, when you are on a journey, you more often than not have to beg your way; outside your own houses you may eat foodstuffs that have been cooked with meat, so as to avoid giving trouble to your hosts. 
At sea, however, meat may be eaten. 

[18] Since man's life on earth is a time of trial, and all who would live devotedly in Christ must undergo persecution, and the devil your foe is on the prowl like a roaring lion looking for prey to devour, you must use every care to clothe yourselves in God's armour so that you may be ready to withstand the enemy's ambush.

[19] Your loins are to be girt with chastity, your breast fortified by holy meditations, for, as Scripture has it, holy meditation will save you. Put on holiness as your breastplate, and it will enable you to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength, and your neighbour as yourself. Faith must be your shield on all occasions, and with it you will be able to quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked one: there can be no pleasing God without faith; [and the victory lies in this -- your faith]. On your head set the helmet of salvation, and so be sure of deliverance by our only Saviour, who sets his own free from their sins. The sword of the spirit, the word of God, must abound in your mouths and hearts. Let all you do have the Lord's word for accompaniment. 

[20] You must give yourselves to work of some kind, so that the devil may always find you busy; no idleness on your part must give him a chance to pierce the defences of your souls. In this respect you have both the teaching and the example of Saint Paul the Apostle, into whose mouth Christ put his own words. God made him preacher and teacher of faith and truth to the nations: with him as your leader you cannot go astray. We lived among you, he said, labouring and wary, toiling night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you; not because we had no power to do otherwise but so as to give you, in your own selves, an example you might imitate. For the charge we gave you when we were with you was this: that whoever is not willing to work should not be allowed to eat either. For we have heard that there are certain restless idlers among you. We charge people of this kind, and implore them in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they earn their own bread by silent toil. This is the way of holiness and goodness: see that you follow it. 

[21] The Apostle would have us keep silence, for in silence he tells us to work. As the Prophet also makes known to us: Silence is the way to foster holiness. Elsewhere he says: Your strength will lie in silence and hope. For this reason I lay down that you are to keep silence from after Compline until after Prime the next day.

At other times, although you need not keep silence so strictly, be careful not to indulge in a great deal of talk, for, as Scripture has it -- and experience teaches us no less -- sin will not be wanting where there is much talk, and he who is careless in speech will come to harm; and elsewhere: The use of many words brings harm to the speaker's soul. And our Lord says in the Gospel: Every rash word uttered will have to be accounted for on judgment day. Make a balance then, each of you, to weigh his words in; keep a tight rein on your mouths, lest you should stumble and fall in speech, and your fall be irreparable and prove mortal. Like the Prophet, watch your step lest your tongue give offence, and employ every care in keeping silent, which is the way to foster holiness. 

[22] You, brother B., and whoever may succeed you as prior, must always keep in mind and put into practice what our Lord said in the Gospel: Whoever has a mind to become a leader among you must make himself servant to the rest, and whichever of you would be first must become your bondsman. 

[23] You, other brothers too, hold your prior in humble reverence, your minds not on him but on Christ who has placed him over you, and who, to those who rule the Churches, addressed the words: Whoever pays you heed pays heed to me, and whoever treats you with dishonour dishonours me; if you remain so minded you will not be found guilty of contempt, but will merit life eternal as fit reward for your obedience. 

[24] Here then are the few points I have written down to provide you with a standard of conduct to live up to; but our Lord, at his second coming will reward anyone who does more than he is obliged to do. See that the bounds of common sense are not exceeded, however, for common sense is the guide of the virtues.

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