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


The foundational module “Elijah and Mary” comprises sixteen units.  Its aim is to outline in some detail a major aspect of the Carmelite heritage.  By the end of the module you will have:

    • a confident grasp of the figures of Elijah and Mary in the Carmelite tradition;

    • a sense of its obscure origins and early development;

    • a heightened awareness of the importance of Carmelite writings before the 16th century reforms of St. Teresa of Jesus;

    • knowledge of various ways in which Carmelite writers have looked on Mary and Elijah;

    • reflected on texts of Carmelite saints and major authors;

    • seen the important developments about Mary and Elijah in the Carmelite Order after Vatican II.

This module will provide information, issues on which you will be invited to reflect and readings from Carmelite authors.  You will be able to check your progress and grasp of the material by answering some questionnaires based on what you read.

     The sixteen units are as follows:

    1. Two foundational figures: Elijah and Mary

    2. Elijah’s Mission Begins

    3. Elijah Encounters the Lord

    4. Elijah in the New Testament

    5. Mary In Scripture and Theology

    6. Mary in Medieval European Carmelite Tradition: Patroness, Sister, Most Pure Virgin.

    7. Immaculate Conception: Baconthorpe and Spanish Golden Age

    8. Institutes of the First Monks

    9. Bostius

    10. Mary in St. Teresa of  Jesus (Avila) and St. John of the Cross

    11. Maria Petyt and the Marian Mystics

    12. St. Thérèse of Lisieux

    13. 20th Century: Isidore Bakanja, Edith Stein, Titus Brandsma, and Elizabeth of the Trinity.

    14. The Brown Scapular

    15. Liturgies of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Elijah

    16. Concluding Reflections.


There will be sufficient material in the module for you to progress through it. Some people will wish to read more extensively.  We recommend one on Mary and one on Elijah. Both are obtainable from Carmelite Book Services, Boars Hill, Oxford, OX1 5HB and from Carmelite Bookshop, The Friars, Aylesford, Kent, ME20 7BX.

  • E. Boaga, The Lady of the Place: Mary in the History and Life of Carmel (Rome: Edizioni Carmelitane, 2001).

  • J. Ackerman, Elijah: Prophet of Carmel (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 2003).

Two other works can be noted. The first is:

  •    C. O’Donnell, A Loving Presence: Mary and Carmel. A Study of the Marian Heritage of the Order (Melbourne: Carmelite Communications, 2000). This work will be available in the libraries of many Carmelite houses.

Reference will also be made to a very significant book, which has only recently appeared in English and will be cited in several other modules of the CIBI diploma course. Those intending to pursue the whole course might be well advised to acquire it.

  • F. Ribot, The Ten Books on the Way of Life and the Great Deeds of the Carmelites. Ed. and tr. R. Copsey. Early Carmelite Spirituality 1 (Faversham: St. Albert’s Press—Rome: Edizioni Carmelitane, 2005).

  • There are two valuable paperback volumes which might be available in Carmelite friaries (especially O.Carm). R.M. Valabek, Mary Mother of Carmel: Our Lady and the Saints of Carmel. 2 vols. Carmel in the World Paperbacks 3 and 4 (Rome: Institutum Carmelitanum, 1987, 1988).


Module Tutor: Christopher O'Donnell OCarm


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


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 module is available in the calendar in the Student Section.



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

Examination Questions

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. 

    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 final examination questions posted and the answer must be submitted by email on or before the date indicated to the administrator:

[email protected]



The author of the course 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 author’s explicit written permission.