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History of Carmel

'The Spring of Elijah' on Mount Carmel's slopes was taken to signify the streams of divine grace. It also prefigures Mary through whom the springs of grace flowed to us, 'Fons iste Carmeli Maria est'.

Mount Carmel

The name Carmel is derived from the Hebrew "Karem El" which means 'vineyards of God'. In earlier times it was covered by vineyards and was always famous for its fertility. The Carmelites have an ancient history, tracing their roots to 12th century Crusaders from western Europe and simple pilgrims to the Holy Land who remained and settled in the ravine called wadi 'ain es-Siah, on Mount Carmel, living frugally and following a life of prayer. At the beginning of the 13th century a group of these settlers approached Albert the Patriarch of Jerusalem asking him to establish for them a definitive way of life, which was later to be given papal approval in the form of a simple Rule. They lived as hermits 'in allegiance to Jesus Christ and his Mother' in separate cells near the Spring of Elijah. They devoted themselves to continual prayer, pondering God's law in silence and solitude, and practising the evangelical counsels of poverty and chastity in a common life, lived in obedience to a Prior chosen from among themselves not to rule over but to serve the community, just as Christ came to serve and not to be served. The brothers met regularly to discuss matters of importance, but above all they gathered daily to celebrate the Eucharist in a chape