All men are called to share, through charity, the holiness which by right belongs to God alone: “You must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Mt. 5:48).
The way to the attainment of perfection lies, for all, in the following of Christ; but Christ’s grace can take many forms, and there is in consequence, among those in quest of holiness, a variety of gifts and charisms which not only reflect the boundless wealth of the divine nature but also give rise to a great diversity of personal vocations within the church of God.
The Discalced Carmelite Secular Order (OCDS) or the Secular Carmelites or the Third Order is an association of the faithful who undertake the pursuit of evangelical perfection in the world, under the guidance and spiritual direction of the Discalced Carmelite Fathers.
The Third Order forms an integral part of the Teresian Carmelite family; its members are therefore Sons and daughters of the Order, and share, in fraternal communion though in a state of life essentially different from that of the religious, its spiritual heritage, its holiness, and its mission.
The Third Order sets before its members ideals, based upon the charisms and teachings of the Order’s founders, which constitute their particular way to Christian holiness. These are: a deep sense of God’s love; fidelity to contemplative prayer, and the spirit of detachment it entails; and generosity in the practice of fraternal charity and the apostolate. They will place themselves under Our Lady’s protection, and endeavour to live out these ideals in her presence.
The members of the Third Order will normally belong to recognized groups or Fraternities. This manner of organization best expresses their community of ideal, provides them with valuable spiritual aids, and facilitates — to the advantage of both sides — contact with the parent Order.
Membership is open to every laity with genuine interest and sound faith. For further enquiries on how to become a member of the Secular Carmelites, kindly contact the Provincial Delegate of the OCDS in Nigeria, Fr. Cyril Udom, OCD (+234 803 276 4522).