The Order of Carmel was born at the beginning of the 13th century from a small group of hermits who gathered on Mount Carmel, between Israel and present-day Lebanon.
They devoted themselves to meditating on the Law of the Lord in prayer, solitude, manual labor, penance and poverty. They were forced to abandon what had been the cradle of the Order, because at this time of the Crusades, insecurity reigned in the Holy Land for Christians.
They took refuge in their various countries of origin: Sicily, England, Province in the south of France, Italy, and from there, they spread little by little in a good part of Europe.
Such eventful circumstances resulted in an important change in their way of life: from hermits that they were, they gradually assimilated to the Mendicant Orders, of which the Franciscans or the Dominicans belong, preferably living in the heart of the cities and devoting themselves to the apostolic life in intimate union with the contemplative life. They boasted of being faithful in this to their models, Marie and Elie.
In the 16th century, a decisive reform of the Carmelite Order took place. Its leader was St. Therese of Avila (1515-1582), helped by St. John of the Cross (1542-1591).
This reform would give birth to a second family within the Carmelite Order: the Discalced Carmelites.