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The Discalced Carmelite Family is a religious Order in the Roman Catholic Church. We, the members, trace our roots back to the ancient hermits on Mount Carmel, Israel, in the thirteenth century. Like them, we try to follow Christ with special emphasis on Scripture and prayer. In this we take Mary as our model. This way of life was reinterpreted for us in the sixteenth century by St Teresa of Avila with the help of St John of the Cross. That is why we are sometimes today referred to as "Teresian Carmelites". This family includes not only friars and nuns but also lay people in all walks of life. In this website we tell you about ourselves, how we live and what we do.
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THE CARMEL EMBLEM
The emblem used by the Carmelites is old, but no printed copy appears before about 1500.
It shows the mountain Carmel (in the Holy Land) with a cross on top of it, and three stars. The mountain is Mt Carmel, in what is now Israel, where the first hermits gathered in imitation of the lives of the prophets. The cross on it reminds us of the central importance of the victorious death of Christ. Below is one star, representing Mary, first among the redeemed, who stood at the foot of the Cross, and on either side two others, to represent the prophets most associated with the Carmelite origins and ideals, Elijah and John the Baptist.
Some think that the central star was originally thought of as an opening, not a star, which represented the cave in which Elijah sheltered when the Lord appeared to him as the still small wind. This suits the silent and separated life of Carmel, away from the busy-ness of ordinary life