About the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites
The Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites of Our Blessed Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Teresa of Jesus (Secular Order or OCDS) is a community consisting of Roman Catholics who serve God in the spirit of Carmel by adhering to the Constitution of the Order. ("Discalced" refers to reformed, barefoot, or sandal-wearing Carmelites).
While under the protection of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we seek interior union of God through contemplative prayer and try to model our lives on that of Our Lady. We wear the brown scapular given to St. Simon Stock as the symbol of our loyalty and dedication to Our Lady's presence in our lives.
Origin and Status within the Church
"The Secular Order "is the successor and continuator of the Third Order of Carmel established in 1452 by Pope Nicholas V.
"The Secular Order...is an ecclesiastical association. It possesses juridical personality and acts on the basis of the provisions of the Code of Canon Law, the Constitutions of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, the present statutes, and other provisions regarding the Secular Order. It is an integral part of the Order of Discalced Carmelites and is legally subject to the Provincial Superior of the Kraków Province...who may act through his Delegate."*
Carmelite Priests, Sisters, and Lay Persons
"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, and the same apostolic mission. Secular members contribute to the Order the benefits proper to their secular state of life."*
Carmelites in Northwest Indiana
In 1949, following the Second World War, Polish Carmelite priests came to Hammond, Indiana, to serve the immigrant Polish communities in the Chicago area. Later in 1952, the priests bought land in Munster and began to build the shrine.** After 1956, more contact with Poland became possible and many Carmelite Fathers from Poland joined the Munster Community. In 2004, St. John Paul the Great bequeathed his "Golden Rosary" and Apostolic Blessing to the Carmelite Fathers and visitors to the shrine. Today, the Carmelite Fathers and Brothers continue to serve the Polish-American Community.***
The Order of Secular Carmelites (OCDS) of Our Lady Queen of Peace Community of Northwest Indiana was formed on November 8, 1987 with Father Guy Lofe, OCD, as Spiritual Director and Mr. Joe Jesewski as President. As such, it received official designation from Rome on May 27, 1988. **** At present, the OCDS Community has 27 active members from Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan.
*Constitutions of the Secular Order of the Teresian Carmel, p. 2.
****Fr. Joseph Ivans, personal correspondence, November 4, 1997.
The scapular is worn by all Carmelites as a symbol of devotion to Our Lady and the Carmelite Order. "The external sign of belonging to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites is the solemn scapular consisting of two rectangular pieces of brown fabric, measuring 25 x 18 centimeters, draped over the front and back, and connected by ribbons. The blessed solemn scapular is imposed on the candidate by the priest during the ceremony of admission to the period of formation as a 'sign of the Carmelite habit' (Ritual 24) with the summons to wear it worthily and imitate Mary in serving Christ."***
Members wear the solemn scapular at meetings, the profession of promises and vows, and at other celebrations. The Council of the Community makes the decision in this matter.***
"Secular Carmelites are obliged to wear the small cloth scapular daily, for which the scapular medal may serve as a substitute."****
***Statutes of the Carmelite Order (2017), #17, p. 6.
****Statutes of the Krakõw Province of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (2017), #19, p. 6.