Ministries & Organizations

Little Flower Lay Carmelite Community

The Little Flower Lay Carmelite Community is a group of parishioners who follow Christ based on Carmelite spirituality. The Carmelites, one of the oldest Religious Orders in the Church base their spirituality on Elijah who lived totally for and in the presence of God. Elijah's motto was "With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of Hosts within Whose presence I stand". This motto epitomizes the spirituality of the Order, and is extended to secular (or lay) members who become affiliated via a Rule which adapts this spirituality to their lay state in life. It is often said that Carmelites are "contemplative living in an active world". Additionally, Carmelite tradition emphasizes an historically-based devotion to Our Blessed Mother, particularly as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This dedication is symbolized with the acceptance of the Brown Scapular - a gift to the Carmelites (and the world) by Our Lady in a July 1251 apparition to St. Simon Stock, who was Prior General of the Order at that time.

Anyone practicing Catholic age 17 and above who wishes to develop a deeper spiritual life may join the Carmelite community. Monthly community meetings are held in the chapel of the church after the 8:00 Mass on every second Saturday of each month. The meeting usually features a guest speaker who address a wide agenda of spiritual topics. There are also Days of Recollection and an annual week-end retreat that is held at the Saint Francis Retreat Center near San Juan Bautista.

Membership in the Carmelite community requires a period of formation which includes:

  1. Phase One: an introduction to the Lay Carmelite Order which is a six month period where candidates attend a 2-hour monthly workshop to prepare for formal Reception.

b.      Phase Two: Initial formation in Carmel, which is a 24-month study time, again requiring attendance at a 2-hour hour monthly workshop that includes instruction in the prayer life of Carmel, the lives and spirituality of various Carmelite saints - such as St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Therese of Lisieux as well as the meaning of living in a (virtual) community and involvement in various ministries supportive of one's Lay Carmelite vocation.

c.       Phase Three: Ongoing Formation, which nourishes one's vocation throughout the rest of life.

If you wish to know more about the Little Flower of Carmelite Community, please contact the Parish Office: (408) 251-7055  (email).

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