Carmelite Spirituality

There are a number of good introductions of Carmelite spirituality, most organised historically and biographically. John Welch, The Carmelite Way: An Ancient Path for Today’s Pilgrim, New York: Paulist Press, 1996, is the most thoughtful; Wilfrid McGreal, At the Fountain of Elijah: The Carmelite Tradition, (Traditions of Christian Spirituality Series), gives an introductory overview; Paul-Marie de la Croix, Carmelite Spirituality in the Teresian Tradition, trans. Kathryn Sullivan, ed. Steven Payne, Washington, DC: ICS Publications, 1997, is a slightly revised version of an article first published in 1953; Peter Slattery, The Springs of Carmel: An Introduction to Carmelite Spirituality, New York: Alba House, 1991, is a basic survey; Titus Brandsma, Carmelite Mysticism: Historical Sketches, Chicago: Carmelite Press, 1936, is well-known but now rather dated (there were various subsequent editions, in England entitled The Beauty of Carmel); Elizabeth Obbard, To Live is to Pray: An Introduction to Carmelite Spirituality, Norwich: Canterbury Press, 1997, is more devotional in approach.

Among works which take a thematic rather than a biographical approach you should not underestimate François of Saint Mary, The Simple Steps to God, Wilkes-Barre, PN: Dimension, 1963, a brief and simple outline based on a profound knowledge of the sources. Redemptus Valabek’s Prayer Life in Carmel, Rome: Carmel in the World Paperbacks, 1982, while concerned specifically with prayer, offers a treatment of many authors not elsewhere discussed in English, with abundant quotation of texts. Segundo Galilea, The Future of Our Past: The Spanish Mystics Speak to Contemporary Spirituality, Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 1985, seeks a contemporary synthesis. On a different scale is Fr Marie-Eugène’s two-volume classic I Want to See God, and I Am a Daughter of the Church: A Practical Synthesis of Carmelite Spirituality, Notre Dame, IN: Fides, 1953, 1955, based on the doctrine of St Teresa and St John of the Cross.