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.
Today we friars, her sons, live a monastic life of prayer together in community. We are engaged in various ministries. Here in DC we are involved mostly in publications and retreat work. One of our friars directs a program at Catholic University. When Groundswell offered us the opportunity to install solar panels, we gladly accepted. We wanted to protect the environment and we were especially pleased that that the electricity to be generated would benefit our neighbors.
We are grateful that this project will have a positive effect on our neighborhood. What a fine way of observing the commandment of Jesus: “Love your neighbor.”
Fr Salvatore, OCD
Discalced Carmelite Friars