While the first Carmelites were hermits on Mt Carmel, the Discalced Carmelites owe their existence to St Teresa of Jesus of Avila, in sixteenth century Spain. She was inspired to found one house where the community would be few in number and all would be equal. She wanted the life style to be simple and prayerful. Her vision caught on. In her life time she founded 17 monasteries of women and was instrumental, with the collaboration of St John of the Cross, in the founding of the first two monasteries of friars. This is quite remarkable when you consider that women in her day were not taken seriously. She composed a number of works, now considered Classics of Spirituality, that were submitted to the Inquisition. She was deeply contemplative yet eminently practical as well.