Our first priority is the collection of resources for study of the life, history and spiritual tradition of the Carmelite Order. Our aim is to develop this collection to the highest scholarly standards, allowing research to doctoral level on all aspects of the Carmelite tradition, and also to provide a comprehensive collection of devotional and spiritual works for the ordinary reader.
The Carmelitana collection includes notable research holdings on Saints Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi, Thérèse of Lisieux, Edith Stein, and Elizabeth of the Trinity. There are also extensive holdings on lesser-known Carmelite spiritual writers, like Louise de la Vallière (d. 1710), once the mistress of King Louis XIV and then a Carmelite nun, who wrote on the mercy of God; or Lawrence of the Resurrection (d. 1691), whose spiritual way was to live in constant awareness of the presence of God; or Titus Brandsma (d. 1942), martyred in Dachau, “a mystic with a monthly rail pass, as one of his friends called him.
There are particularly fine bibliographical aids for research on any Carmelite theme. The Library subscribes to all scholarly Carmelite periodicals and has standing orders for all significant Carmelite series. A high proportion of our journal titles in this area is unique in the distributed national collection.
Monographs and periodicals are collected in the principal European languages, and there are some holdings also in Portuguese, Danish, Maltese, and other languages. There are also significant items in the Rare Book Collection (see below), a small number of CD recordings of music by Carmelite musicians, and a large collection of cassette recordings by Carmelite speakers on spiritual and theological topics.
The Carmelitana collection is one of the four or five finest such collections in the world.