The Carmelites were born, at the end of the XII century, an undefined and unknown group of laics, pilgrims and crusaders retired themselves to the mountain of Carmel. They adopted an eremitic style of life, rising in those times, as opposition and reform to the monastic movement. These first Carmelites dedicated their life to oration and meditation of the Word of God.
These first Carmelites, before structuring in a school, were independent eremites that looked for the perfection through loneliness, to try to fight the devil and all the enemies of the man truly Christian, the passions.
In a second stage, between the years 1206-1214, they solicited to Alberto Avrogardo, Patriarch of Jerusalem, that he will dictate a formula of life, a Rule with which govern themselves, where it’s defined the Carmelite ideal as “living in gift of Jesus Christ, serving him faithfully with pure heart and good conscience”.
The lack of security reigning in the Holy Land provokes that, from 1220, the Carmelites begin their migration to Europe establishing in: Cyprus, Sicily, France and England. In 1291, with the fall of Saint John of Acre, the presence of the Carmelites in the Carmel Mount finishes.
The starting point of the adaptation of the Order of Carmel, of his eremitic origins to the schema of mendicant life arrives with the new demands of the religious life imposed by Innocent IV, by allowing the Carmelites to found their convents in the cities and devote to the praying and confession as did the other mendicants. They had to wait until the II Council of Lyon for them to be officially considered as mendicants, with the Dominicks, Franciscans, and Eremites of Saint Agustin.
They develop the devotion to prophet Elias, in its double aspect, as an eremite dedicated completely to the contemplation, and as a model of mixed life as far as it conjugates action and contemplation. In the same way they develop the Marian piety that ends to identify them as the Order of the Virgin, being from the establishment in Europe when the title with which the Order is officially known is generalized. Brother of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Mount Carmel
Those Carmelites of the last medieval times, that wanted to live in gift of Jesus Christ, were characterized by: The contemplation, fundament of life and apostolate of the Carmelite, prayer, and with it, the meditation, retreat and silence, the asceticism, that implies the sobriety of life, the poverty, that implies the humble life and depending on the others, the apostolate, both in their churches and outside them.