Order of the Carmelites
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The Carmelites are a religious order of Roman Catholic priests and brothers who follow a 800 year old tradition of spirituality under the official title, “The Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel.”
As followers of the Old Testament prophet, Elijah, they seek to live in God's presence and call people to a deeper faith in God's faithful presence and the establishment of the justice of God's reign.
Following Mary, the Mother of Jesus, they seek to be open and open others to God's saving and freeing presence in all the people and experiences of their lives, and echo her "yes" to the movement of God's Spirit.
Carmelites follow Jesus Christ by living the evangelical vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They work in 26 nations and are especially expanding in third world countries among the poor and underdeveloped peoples. Carmelites serve God's people in the following ways: in the United States, the Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary consists of 275 men living and serving in 17 states from Massachusetts to California, from Illinois to Florida. Carmelites of this Province also live and serve in Ontario, Canada; Torreon, Mexico; and two dioceses in Peru. All Carmelites seek to announce God's presence within the human experience and denounce whatever injustice limits God's presence among God’s children.
The Carmelites came to Niagara Falls in 1875 to administer the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace. The Saint Thérèse Shrine as well as the Mount Carmel Monastery and the Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre serve as a Retreat and Renewal Centre for the needs of the people of the Niagara area.
The original monastery was built in 1894 and enlarged in 1925 when it became a seminary. The Monastery chapel is also the Canadian Shrine of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. The side altar on the right of the chapel is dedicated to Saint Thérèse.
The chapel has a unique beauty because of its monastic simplicity. The main altar is the most prominent feature of the chapel and attracts the immediate attention of the visitor. The right side of the chapel is the shrine to St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, the Little Flower. On the altar is a magnificent reliquary from France with two adoring angels supporting the arc containing the relics of St. Thérèse.