St. Elias


Very Rev. Mario Esposito, O. Carm.,  Prior Provincial
Middletown, NY  10940
845-344-2223  Fax: 845-344-2210
Email: proelias@frontiernet.net

Our Mission: As Carmelites of the North American Province of St. Elias, our primary mission is to follow Jesus Christ through prayer, fraternity, and prophetic service and presence in the spirit of Mary and Elijah. Our chief means for fulfilling this mission is by our lives and ministries.
Therefore, we need to develop and encourage a sense of contemplative service to all God’s people, with special attention to the poor and to developing lay participation in the Church.
This Mission will require: respect for the Church’s expectations of all religious to Her sense of the Gospel; assessment of our resources especially financial and personnel; discernment of the viability of current apostolates; evaluation of and decisions about established and discontinued apostolates, Provincial and individual ones, and those based either internationally or in the United States.

The Carmelite community has a unique story. Unlike most religious orders, the Carmelites have no founder. Earliest historical accounts find the first Carmelites on Mt. Carmel more than 800 years ago, living as hermits near the fountain of the prophet Elijah. The chapel that stood in the midst of their cells was dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God.
Without a founder, the Carmelites have continually looked to Elijah and Mary for inspiration: they have helped us clarify our identity and renew our spirit providing a wonderful integration of the two streams of Carmelite tradition-contemplative and active, prayerful and prophetic, reflective and apostolic. Elijah and Mary provide Carmelites with an example to imitate: as human beings, they struggled with fear, stood in the face of very difficult questions, and felt deeply the pains of human life. Yet, they were filled with a deep conviction. It is this conviction that lies at the heart of the Carmelite spirit: God is alive! God is present! God is with us!
Between the years 1206 and 1214, the community on Mt. Carmel petitioned Albert, the Patriarch of Jerusalem for a Rule of Life. His response became the “formula for living” that Carmelites follow to this day. Forced to leave the slopes of Mt. Carmel and spread throughout Europe, adaptation and flexibility were demanded of the Carmelites as they modified their style of life-from desert to city, from hermit to friar. Assuming the mendicant tradition of living from alms, Carmelites went wherever they were needed serving God’s people and sharing the spirit of Carmel.
Prayer is at the core of the Carmelite spirit. To grow in friendship with God, to experience God’s love, to ponder the mystery and wonder of life, to search for meaning- all encompass the contemplative dimension of Carmelite life. In the solitude of prayer, we experience the compassion of God which enables us to live in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. This experience makes ministry possible. It empowers us to “suffer with” and respond to those in need. It also enables us to be patient and forgiving.
How Carmelites serve is as flexible today as when the Carmelites were forced of Mt. Carmel 800 years ago. We serve as teachers and parish priests; chaplains in hospitals, prisons and nursing homes; retreat directors and campus ministers. Depending on one’s unique talent and training and the needs of a particular time and place, we Carmelites can be found in a variety of settings. What we do today, we may not have done in the past; what we do in the future, we may not do today. Depending on the need, the Carmelites respond as best we can.
Carmelites are ordinary people who witness an extraordinary reality the abiding presence of God. To live in the presence of God gives the ordinary things we do great meaning. In this spirit, four Irish Carmelites came to New York City in 1889 to minister to the largely Irish population and to the patients of Bellevue Hospital. Their efforts led to the formation of a Commissary Provincialate in 1922 and the founding of the North American Province of St. Elias in 1931.
Over a hundred years later, the Carmelites of the Province of St. Elias remain ordinary people witnessing to an extraordinary reality God’s abiding presence and God’s love for every human person!

As Carmelites of the North American Province of St. Elias, our primary mission is to follow Jesus Christ through prayer, fraternity, and prophetic service and presence in the spirit of Mary and Elijah. Our chief means for fulfilling this Mission is by our lives and ministries.
Therefore, we need to develop and encourage a sense of contemplative service to all God’s people, with special attention to the poor and to developing lay participation in the Church.

Brother Robert E. Bathe O.Carm
Director of Vocation

More information at Carmelites.com


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