It Started With that One Good Idea.....
In 1875 Archbishop Lynch of Toronto offered the Carmelite priests and brothers the Shrine Parish of Our Lady of Peace at Niagara Falls along with its mission stations, as well as 100 acres of property on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment with the idea that the Carmelites would hopefully develop a retreat ministry at their monastery. By 1897 a hospice was opened to pilgrims with the revolutionary idea for its day that the laity, as well as clergy, would come to Mount Carmel for a spiritual retreat.
Today the Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre welcomes people of faith who seek spiritual growth and personal enrichment. A variety of workshops, retreats and conferences are sponsored for people of faith seeking an environment of silence and solitude in which to pray and reflect. As a conference centre, the Carmelites host various religious and educational groups who seek a beautiful setting in which to learn and to grow.
Who are the Carmelites?
The Carmelites began in Palestine as a group of Christian laymen who, during the final years of the 12th century, sought a common life of prayer and reflection as hermits at the traditional site of the fountain of the prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel. St. Albert of Jerusalem, the Latin Patriarch, formally recognized the Carmelites as a religious community in or about 1207 when he gave them a Rule of Life.
The continuing warfare in the Holy Land and the gradual collapse of the Crusader States pushed the Carmelites to slowly migrate to Europe after 1238. Pope Innocent IV modified the Rule in 1247 so as to incorporate the Carmelites into the rapidly expanding mendicant movement of the friars. As friars the full spectrum of pastoral ministry, but especially preaching, teaching, and spiritual direction, was opened to the Carmelites.
In 1864 two German Carmelites departed the Straubing Monastery for America in order to minister to immigrant German Catholics. This small group grew quickly as other Carmelite volunteers from Europe arrived and new immigrant members swelled their ranks. In 1875 the German friars in Kansas opened a new foundation in Ontario at Niagara Falls.
We Carmelite Friars and our nuns on every continent continue to sponsor places of prayer and solitude, such as Mount Carmel. In this ministry we continue offering our 800-year old charism and spirituality as a gift to God’s people.
Please click onto the Carmelite Links on this website to read more about the Carmelite origins and history, spirituality and tradition, our ministries and resources.