This module is part of the Distance Learning Website of the Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland (CIBI)


This module will focus upon the branches of the Carmelite Family known as the Third and Secular Orders  – numerically the largest group of professed members of the Order – especially their development within the last century. It consists of five units:

  1. The identity, vocation and mission of the Third/Secular Orders and its members;

  2. The Carmelite Third Order (T.O.C.) 1900-2000;

  3. The Discalced Carmelite Secular Order (O.C.D.S.) 1900-2000;

  4. The Third and Secular Orders of Carmel since the year 2000;

  5. Looking to the future of the Third and Secular Orders.

Recommended reading

Pope John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici – the Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World (1989). Published by the official publishers to the Holy See, such as Veritas in Ireland, and the Catholic Truth Society in Britain and also available online in the ‘Papal Archive’ section of the Vatican’s website:

If you want to read further the following resources – many of which are available from Carmelite libraries or from Christian bookshops (such as the Carmelite Book Service in Oxford or Saint Albert’s Press in Faversham) – may help you to expand your understanding of the material:

Peter Slattery, The Springs of Carmel: An Introduction to Carmelite Spirituality, Homebush, New South Wales: St. Paul Publications, 1990. This will give you a general introduction to Carmel if you require it.

Monica B. O’Neill, Teresian Carmelite Laity in Ireland: A Study in Spirituality and History, Dublin, private printing, 1997. This summary of the author’s doctoral thesis on the subject traces the development of Lay Carmel generally, and the Discalced Secular Order especially.

Useful also is the letter of Pope John Paul II to the Prior General of the Carmelite Order on the occasion of the 550th anniversary of the Carmelite nuns and Third Order, and the keynote address of the Discalced Carmelite General Superior, Fr Camilo Maccise, OCD., at the OCDS International Congress held in Mexico in 2000. You will find these on the internet by using a search engine such as Google.

The course is divided into 5 units of input and, at the end, you may complete a Questionnaire, write a Learning Journal, or write an Essay.

Once posted, each unit will be available until the end of the module. The dates on which each of the units, and the other material for this course is available in the calendar in the Student Section.



Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4

Unit 5


Learning Journal

Essay titles


Please click HERE to access the STUDENT SECTION for module start and end dates

From the date corresponding to the relevant Monday (see main web page of, you can click on the relevant unit to access it. Each module includes links to other internet sites of various kinds related to the material being covered.

    Once you have successfully accessed and studied the material in each module and received the Essay titles and the questionnaire, pleace complete either the Questionnaire, write a Learning Journal, or write an Essay based on one of the Essay titles given, and return it to to the course administrator: [email protected]


Copyright: CIBI holds the copyright to this material (text, graphic and other); distribution to family or friends, or publication (including on internet) of any part of the material is not permitted without the CIBI ’s explicit written permission.