Traditional Discalced Carmelite Friars


I was wondering if there is a province of traditional OCDs. By traditional I do NOT mean tridentine or extraordinary form but rather mean closely following (as requested by Vatican II) the rule and constitutions created by Sts. Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross. I’ve met good Carmelite friars, but none that really live the letter AND spirit of the rule. They often have luxuries and amenities (TV, air conditioning, cars, etc.) that I cannot see Teresa accepting in her monasteries or John in his friaries. I am not looking for hermits or monks either, but friars with a mainly contemplative life and a few apostolates similar to those of the original friars (confessor, spiritual director, chaplains, etc.). To give an example, I’m searching for a community of Carmelite friars that follow their constitutions and rule like the Franciscan Brothers Minor and Franciscans of Primitive Observance follow theirs.
I have a sad feeling that these friars don’t exist. In that case, how does one discern a vocation when they feel called to the rigid rule and way of life established by a congregation’s founders when the congregation no longer observes that asceticism? Should one discern by the rule or by the community? I can only imagine how difficult it would be to live out the rule when the community isn’t living it. Again, I’m not trying to bash any Carmelite friars (calced or non), but I often see shining examples of what Teresa envisioned within women’s monasteries and I simply desire the vision for her friars to shine as well.

#2 I have heard good things about this group – so maybe they pray in latin – it won’t kill you to learn a new language – if you want a group who is trying to live the original rule i have heard they are trying to do just that. This group looks good to0 but they are not carmelites Sometimes God even calls one to move from their own country to follow his call. I’ll pray for you … we need holy monks


They do not wear the habit full time either…

Regrettably, to the best of my knowledge, there is no OCD province, at least in the US, with fruitful vocations, a sign that the Holy Spirit withdrew His charism from them and does not desire that they pass on their way of life.

Pax Christi


I agree but I don’t believe I’m called to this monastic life, but rather a very contemplative one with some ministry as St. John of the Cross had.


I don’t think that is the case. The Holy Spirit has revived dying orders through a select few like Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. I find it terribly hard to believe that God takes away an order’s charism, only to let it die off along with those still in it’s community. Orders die because of the people within in them, not because Christ abolishes His gift to them.


A car or two owned by the community out of necessity is no different than monasteries or communities in the past that had a horse or mule for travel or to assist in work/chores.

Air conditioning may be needed especially in the infirmary if the monastery is in an exceptionally hot or humid climate.

Maybe if you asked the prior the reason or purpose they have these things you might get a better understanding.


What I see is that such orders can’t even retain novices. Someway, somehow, they just don’t find the order charism anymore and leave. I’ve personally seen this happen 3 or 4 times with a particular province. Regardless, has the province stopped to take a hard look at their way of life? No. In over 30 years, not one vocation came from the province.

Many other provinces have had the same dearth of vocations for decades. Some ancient orders will be decimated within the decade as members die off. They quickly blame the society around them, for it’s certainly changed, but they too have changed, but they do not question themselves. After all, they did what VII told them to do, or so they rationalize. However, many do not question because they do not believe that religious orders should exist anymore, particularly some orders of women explicitly say so.

I do not believe that such darkness is compatible with the charism of the Holy Spirit granted to an order. And, since He is the one watering the soil of the order, if there are no vocations taking root, the seed of vocations, the soil of the order or the water of the Holy Spirit or a combination of them are absent.

Pax Christi


Augustine, I’m sorry for not seeing the correlation, but how does the death of an order relate to the activity of the Holy Spirit. We have this beautiful, yet dangerous, gift called free will. No matter how much grace God pours out upon us, we must be the ones to accept it. I have seen novices who knew the charism, but were not able to justify compliance with the superior’s order since it contradicted the charism within their conscience. I’m still trying to understand how you justify the Holy Spirit leaving an order simply by the fact that it’s dying. In charity, if you could explain that a little clearer.



Are you familiar with the Constitutions as they are now? That’s a question arising out of curiosity. …

Anyway, I understand, and have lived through, your desires. I offer the following observations. The ultimate desire of St. John of the Cross, when asked by the Lord what he wanted, was “to suffer and be despised for You.” In his life as an OCD friar, he suffered and was despised. So, for you, do you desire to live a life guided by the Rule and Constitutions of the OCD and, by means of these disciplines, attain holiness? If so, look into various provinces/communities and see what you find. Don’t think that what you find will be easy. It is supposed to be difficult. Certainly, we (rightly) expect that a life in community would, in terms of external observance, be in accord with the foundational documents of the community. But, at the same time, it would be foolish to think that community life, in itself, will not cause suffering or that we would never be despised even by those who live with us.

I don’t think there is a friar alive who would care whether or not you use A/C in your cell (if that is even available). Nobody would care if you don’t watch TV. You would necessarily use a car, at least from time to time. So, I wouldn’t be concerned about these sorts of things. Practically, the primary source of “illicit” comfort you will find is food. And, you really can’t avoid that. Even there, though, you must humble yourself and eat whatever is put before you.

Are there many friars who are “hard core” and, for example, wear the habit “all the time”, refrain from sumptuous food and fast in accord with the Rule, remain silent during meals, fulfill all responsibilities regarding communal and private prayer, etc.? No. But, if you think you are called to this form of life, you can be such a friar or at least try to be.

So, I recommend you talk to real-life Friars. Get in touch with the vocation directors. Do retreats at various communities. Depending on where you live, I’d start with “Holy Hill” in Wisconsin. The setting, and monastery itself, is impressive and inspiring. I know the prior there…



Think of an order as a living being. As any living being, it finds its source not in itself, but in the Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life. Without the Spirit, there’d be no life. About an order, its source is in the gift given to it by the Spirit, its charism.

The first commandment given to Adam and Eve by God was to multiply, to be fruitful. In His commandment He granted man the power to multiply life in their descendants. Fruitfulness comes from the Spirit. About an order, its charism is preserved by its bearing the fruit of vocations.

So, an order that refuses its gift given to it by the Spirit, that refuses its charism, stops bearing the fruit of vocations. Their reason of being is exercising this charism, and if the order refuses it, it’s refusing its life. Why would the Spirit let an order which concocted its own charism in lieu of the one given to it bless it with fruitfulness? Nay, such madness stops with the current generation.

Pax Christi


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