Carmelite Spirituality

The Carmelite Story begins some 800 years ago with an original group of Christian solitaries on Mount Carmel in Palestine. These solitaries, known as the desert fathers, sought to live lives dedicated to union with God in the stark simplicity of the desert. Carmelite spirituality is known as desert spirituality in the sense of its simplicity of life.

The eremitical women and men, who are the spiritual heirs of these original desert hermits, continue to enrich us with the inspiration of their lives and the wisdom of their experience. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross stand out among them for fashioning and passing on a rich doctrine of mystical prayer which continues to shape Carmelite spirituality today.

This Spirituality encourages an outward and inward silence and quieting of mind. The Spirit within presses us to pray always and to cultivate an attitude of continual contemplation. Solitude is a desert of time and space for uncluttered attention; silence is a climate of peace for listening. One permeates the other, and together they make up the environment of prayer.

Although this spirituality emphasizes solitude and silence, it is traditionally lived in small, autonomous communities where a mutually supportive environment is created, conducive to contemplative life.

Out of an authentic life of prayer and solitude comes an ever-deepening appreciation of community and recognition of our kinship within the great communion of being.

Here at Skyline, this spiritual heritage is part of our lineage. Teresa Hahn spent 26 years living the Carmelite life in a monastic setting. She continues to live that life at Skyline.

We attempt to create an environment where you can access this rich tradition of contemplative prayer and mystical union in a context that moves beyond traditional parameters of church and doctrine to include the whole earth community.

Christian spirituality has generally emphasized the human-divine dimension of reality at the expense of the cosmic/earth dimension being degraded or dropped out altogether. Therefore, our eco-contemplative center brings the cosmic dimension to the foreground of our contemplative life.

We embrace simplicity of life in an era of consumerism. We embrace “being” in a culture of doing, busy-ness and achievement. We embrace solitude and silence in a time of noise and accelerated living. We embrace the other-than-human members of our forest community as kin. We embrace human community by welcoming your presence among us.

Much of the above was adapted from the Carmelite “Charter of Life,” a contemporary statement of the Teresian charism by the Carmelite Communities Associated.