Nine hundred years before the Christian era, the Prophet Elias dwelt on Mount Carmel in Palestine and there gathered about him a group of disciples who lived a life of prayer and self-denial in preparation for the coming of the promised Messiah. According to tradition the successors of the prophets Elias and his disciple Elisesus continued to dwell on Carmel through the centuries until the time of Christ. Many of their number were admitted among the disciples of the Lord and after His Ascension they became co-laborers with the Apostles. Later they dedicated the chapel on Mount Carmel to the Immaculate Mother of God. The Order subsequently became known as the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and later, the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
In the 13th century the hermits of Mount Carmel were driven out by persecution and migrated to Europe where in 1261, St. Simon Stock, General of the Order, received the scapular from Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a sign of Her Heavenly protection and guidance. In the 14th century St. John Soreth, General of the Order, admitted the first community of nuns to the Order.
Though tradition traces the origin of the Order to Elias the Prophet, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, who lived in Spain in the 16th century, are justly regarded as the founders of the reform of Carmel. These two great Saints, both Doctors of the Church for their sublime writings on prayer and the interior life, restored the strict observance of the austere Rule given to the Carmelite hermits by St. Albert of Jerusalem in 1245.
The Order of Carmel, composed of Priest, Brothers and Sisters, is both contemplative and apostolic.
The special purpose of the contemplative monastic life is to bear witness to Crhist's own life of prayer and total submission to His heavenly Father, Who is the source of all good and the God worthy of all adoration and praise. The Second Vatican Council has explained the role of the Contemplative community in the Decree on Religious life:
"Members of these communities which are totally dedicated to contemplation give themselves to God alone in solitude and silence and through constant prayer and ready penance. No matter how urgent may be the needs of the active apostolate, such communities will always have a distinguished part to play in Christ's Mystical Body, where all members have not the same function' (Rom.12:4)... For they offer God a choice sacrifice of praise. They brighten God's people with the richest splendors of sanctity. By their apostolic fruitfulness, they make this people grow. Thus they are the glory of the Church and as overflowing fountain of heavenly graces." (Decree on the Appropriate Renewal of the Religious Life, No. 7)
The Carmelite life is itself partly communal and partly eremitical; that is, it is community life lived in solitude in imitation of the hermits on Mount Carmel.
The Sisters live a life of prayer and penance in imitation of the Mother of God at Nazareth.
Mount Carmel Hermitage of Ohio was founded by Mother Immaculata St. Anthony O.C.D. in 1993. Mother also founded the Hermitage of Mount Carmel in Amery Wisconsin and in Houston Minnesota. These two hermitages are under different rules of hermit life than Mother had founded. The only one that still goes by the rules of Mount Carmel Hermitage is the one located in Ohio.
In 1977 with permission of Superiors and the Holy See, she began the Mount Carmel Hermitage in Wisconsin, in 1987 she founded the hermitage in Houston Misnesota, and in 1993 the hermitage in Bloomingdale Ohio.
Mother has spent the last 40 years giving retreats all over the United States. The retreats were on the Spiritual Life of the great saints of Carmel. All her retreats are on CD's and her books "Communion with God" and "Stages of Prayer" are also available for purchase. Everyone who longs for a life with close union to our Lord and Lady find the help they need through Mothers books and CD's we hope you will too.