The Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS), officially Ordo Carmelitarum Discalceatorum Saecularis, and formerly known as the Third Secular Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and of the Holy Mother Saint Teresa of Jesus, is an association in the Roman Catholic Church comprised primarily of lay persons and also accepted secular clergy.
Professing promises to strive to live evangelical perfection in the spirit of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience and of the beatitudes, they live a "fidelity to contemplative prayer with the spirit of detachment it entails".
Commonly known as 'Carmelite Seculars', they are an integral part of the Discalced Carmelite Order, juridically dependent upon the Discalced Carmelite Friars (OCD), and in "fraternal communion" with them and the cloistered Nuns of the Order. They share the same charism with the Friars and Nuns, each according to his or her particular state of life, forming a single family with the same spiritual possession, and called by God to holiness and apostolic mission.
There are two Carmelite orders in the Church: the Carmelite Order of the Ancient Observance (O. Carm.) and the Discalced Carmelite Order (OCD). The Discalced became a separate order under its foundress, St. Teresa of Jesus (of Ávila), in order to return to the more austere and contemplative life lived by the first Carmelites, and eventually by the end of the 17th Century the Discalced developed their own secular order. "Discalced", meaning "shoeless", signifies this greater austerity. However, Seculars do not consider foregoing shoes as a necessity for living internal austerity and poverty. Carmelites Secular (OCDS) are distinct from the secular order of the Carmelites of Ancient Observance, known as the Lay Carmelites (T. O. Carm.).
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