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The Carmelite Third Order (Secular)

Organisation of the Third Order
Carmel has been described as 'the least regimented of religious orders'. We are certainly not legalistic in our approach to living out Carmelite spirituality, but various documents and organisations exist to help support us in our vocation and share it with others.

Rule, Constitutions and Statutes
All Carmelites take as their fundamental inspiration the Rule of Saint Albert given to the first hermits on Mount Carmel around the year 1200. This remains the most important statement of identity for members of the Third Order.

The Rule of Saint Albert is elaborated upon for modern living by documentation issued by the Order. The Third Order has its own Constitutions known as the Rule for the Third Order of Carmel (sometimes also called Living the Carmelite Way), the latest edition of which was issued in 2003. To read the text online please click here.

The 2003 Rule for the Third Order of Carmel

These Constitutions are supplemented for Lay Carmelites in Britain by the Statutes of the Third Order in the British Province. A copy of the text is available from the Provincial's Delegate.

The Statutes of the British Province

Provincial care of the Third Order

The Prior Provincial is the senior friar (brother) within the British Province of Carmelites, and he has the ultimate pastoral oversight of the Third Order in Britain.

Prior Provincial Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm., interacting with
members of the Third Order at their 2011 National Gathering

The Prior Provincial entrusts the day-to-day organisation and motivation of the Third Order to a Delegate. For many years this role was undertaken by a friar, but since 2006 a Lay Carmelite has undertaken the post of Provincial's Delegate to the Third Order. The current Provincial's Delegate is Mr. John Berry. John regularly visits Carmelite communities across Britain. John is assisted in the administration of the Third Order by the National Secretary, Mrs. Veronica Errington.

John Berry and Veronica Errington

John is advised on matters pertaining to the Third Order in Britain by a National Consultative Body (NCB), currently consisting of the National Secretary and four other Lay Carmelites appointed by the Prior Provincial. As of February 2013 the NCB members are:

  • Sìne Cameron-Mowat (Glasgow Lay Carmelite Community)
  • John Fellows (Cardiff Lay Carmelite Community)
  • Alan Glancey (Glasgow Lay Carmelite Community)
  • vacant post (to be announced)

In 2014 the NCB will be
replaced with a partly-elected Third Order Provincial Council.

John Berry with some former members of the NCB.

John Berry and the NCB meeting in Mawdesley, Lancashire, in the spring of 2012.

Regional and National Gatherings
An important development within the Third Order in Britain in recent years has been the coming together of Lay Carmelites at regional, national and international gatherings. At such gatherings members of the Third Order are able to share ideas, support each other, and grow together as a family.

In 2007 the Lay Carmelites of the British Province held their Fourth National Gathering, and compiled a Vision Statement for the years ahead; you can access this document (in PDF format) by clicking here.

The Carmelite Third Order in Britain held its Fifth National Gathering in May 2009 (pictured above); to read the keynote talk on the Carmelite Charism, given by Fr. Miceál O'Neill, O.Carm., please click here.

The Sixth National Gathering of the Third Order in Britain took place at Aylesford Priory in May 2011.

Members of the Third Order praying and planning together at a National Gathering
of Lay Carmelites in the British Province in 2011.

Fifth National Gathering of the Third Order
Members of the Carmelite Third Order at their 2009 National Gathering.

Finances and Annual Contribution
The costs of the Third Order and its development are not inconsiderable. In recent years members of the Third Order have committed to taking long-term responsibility for its resourcing (until now it has been heavily subsidised by the Carmelite Friars). To this end an Annual Contribution is expected from each member of the Third Order Secular in the British Province (that is, anyone who has been received into the Third Order), unless they genuinely cannot afford to make a financial contribution. The Annual Contribution for 2014 is £45 per member, or £70 for two persons living at the same address. To download the Annual Contribution form (in PDF format) please click here.

Laity and religious together make one Carmelite Family.