The Discalced Carmelite Third Order Secular or the OCDS 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.
The main obligation a Third Order imposes upon its members is one of fidelity to the charism of its parent Order. In fact, Tertiaries share to the full the Order’s ideal, its grace, and its spiritual heritage, though in a way fully in keeping with the nature and duties of their secular state of life.
All members of the Third Orders are in fact united in the pursuit of evangelical perfection in answer to the call to holiness implicit in Baptism, and all serve the universal mission of the Church, though each according to its proper charism.
The Third Order of the Teresian Carmel welcomes those of the faithful who, by special vocation, undertake to live in the world, an evangelical life of fraternal communion imbued with the spirit of contemplative prayer and apostolic zeal according to the example and teaching of the Carmelite saints.
There are several fraternities of the Third Order in Nigeria presently with several members – each fraternity usually emerging naturally in places where we have our communities. While each of these fraternities has a Carmelite priest as its spiritual assistant, there is usually another Carmelite priest who is the National Spiritual Assistant to the OCDS.