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


The aim of this module is to give you a general historical framework in which to understand the development of Family of Carmel from its origins in the 13th century with a small group of hermits on Mount Carmel up to its present situation at the beginning of the 21st century with over 100,000 members, friars, nuns, sisters and lay. It covers such topics as:

  • A general historical framework
  •  An acquaintance with the inspirational figures of Carmel
  • An introduction to significant Carmelite writings 

Module Tutor: Richard Copsey OCarm


Initial reading list:

  • Joachim Smet, O.Carm., The Carmelites, (Darien, Illinois, 2nd ed. 1975) vol. 1: ca 1200 until the Council of Trent.

  • B. Zimmerman, OCD, Carmel in Britain (London, 1899) [Although dated, anything by Fr. Zimmerman is well worth reading. This work on the Discalced Carmelites in England has still not been superseded].

  • P. O’Dwyer, The Irish Carmelites (Dublin, 1988) [This work has now become the standard history of the O.Carm. friars in Ireland].

  • Richard Copsey, O.Carm., The hermits from Mount Carmel, vol. 3   of Carmel in Britain (Faversham: St. Albert’s Press, 2004).


This module is divided into 8 units, with 4 questionnaires, spread over the period of the module, and a final assessment at the end.


Once posted online, 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 module, will be available are listed below:



Units 1 & 2
Units 3 & 4
Questionnaire 1
Units 5 & 6
Units 7 & 8
Questionnaire 2
Units 9 & 10
Units 11 & 12
Questionnaire 3
Units 13 & 14
Units 15 & 16
Questionnaire 4
Concluding Assessment



From the date corresponding to the relevant Monday (see main web page of, you can click on the relevant unit to access it. 

    Once you have successfully accessed and studied the material in each pair of units, please click on the relevant questionnaire to access it when it is launched. Read the questions and send your answers by email to the course administrator: [email protected]

One question must be chosen from the three concluding assessment questions posted online and the answer must be submitted by email on or before the date indicated to the administrator:

[email protected]



The authors of the module hold 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 their explicit written permission.