cover of book

What Makes a Carmelite a Carmelite: Exploring Carmel's Charism
by Keith J. Egan
Steven Payne
Catholic University of America Press, 2022
Paper: 978-0-8132-3628-5 | eISBN: 978-0-8132-3629-2

Vatican II initiated lively conversations about the identity of religious orders and congregations when the council pointed out that these religious communities are divine gifts in and to the church. Keith Egan examines the nature of these charisms including, not only the original or founders’ charism, but how charisms evolve over the centuries. Special theological attention to these charisms show that they are not something but, in fact, are the dynamic presence of the Holy Spirit.

This volume offers a case study the original charism of the Carmelites. The first Carmelites originated when various hermits were displaced by the armies of Saladin. These dislodged hermits sought refuge on Mount Carmel in a ravine facing the Mediterranean Sea. There, these hermits, now Carmelites, sought from Saint Albert, Patriarch of Jerusalem, a description of their life of solitude. Albert’s Formula of Life describes the original Carmelite charism as a life of prayer and contemplation. This Formula eventually became a Rule that made possible a transformation of hermits into friars. Egan is at work on a sequel that examines this radical transformation.
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