About the Secular Carmelites

Secular Discalced Carmelites are lay people who


like Elijah, to the still, small voice of God in the silence of their hearts.


like St John of the Cross that God seeks them even more than they seek Him.


like Elijah, to the presence of the Living God in every aspect of their daily lives.


like Mary, on the Word of God, treasuring it in their hearts.


like St Teresa of Avila, with the conviction that we “have no need of wings to go in search of God but have only to find a place where we can be alone and look upon him present within”

Carmelite News Spring 2022

  • Our February Open Retreat Day at Stapleford was very well attended by 25 people who appreciated the opportunity to gather for prayer, reflection, and study. The theme was With Jesus in the Desert – exploring His temptations and ours.  Several people were interested in learning more about the community and attending future events.
  • Group Library - work continues updating and cataloguing the library which is available for members to borrow books on a regular basis. Please see our website for details.
  • Comings and Goings
    • we have been delighted to welcome several new enquirers to the group this year, and also sad to lose one member who has moved to Norfolk and has joined a local OCDS group there.
    • In March on the 2nd Sunday of Lent at the Church of Our Lady and St Thomas of Hereford in Ilkeston Myra and Karen made their 1st promises which were received by Fr Andrew Harding, and Allan was received into formation.  A very moving occasion. We are very grateful to Fr Andrew and the parish for welcoming our community.
    • We continue to pray for those members who are sick and unable to attend meetings at present
  • New posters and leaflets about the OCDS have been designed to use in parishes and are available here
  • Community Retreat Weekend in April at The Hayes Conference Centre in Derbyshire.  17 people from the Nottingham, Lincoln and Derby groups attended the weekend based around the questions:
    •  How do I live Carmel as a lay person?
    • How does God use me in my ordinary life?
    • Serving God’s Plan: Carmelite witness in our diocese, the Church and the World.

                Canon Anthony Dolan very kindly came from Bulwell to join us for Sunday lunch and then to celebrate Mass for us in the afternoon. We are planning another retreat for next year.

Carmelite Retreats and Reading Groups 2023

Do you want to pray more but feel you never have time? Are you looking for a way to grow closer to God in your everyday life?

In 2023 we hosted a full day (from 8am to 4pm) of Eucharistic exposition on 10 June in preparation for Corpus Christi; we  provided resources and refreshments in the church hall with an opportunity to talk for anyone who wished to. 

Currently we have 2 reading/ study groups open to all:




Our Communities

In the Nottingham Diocese there are three closely linked but autonomous communities:

  • The St Edith Stein Community, meeting in Derby on the first Saturday of the month, drawing members from Derbyshire, Burton-upon-Trent & Leicestershire
  • The St Elizabeth of the Trinity Community, meeting in Nottingham on the second Saturday of the month. This draws in members from Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire.
  • The St John of the Cross Community meeting in Lincoln drawing members from Linconshire.

Our meetings include recitation of Morning or Evening Prayer, half an hour of silent prayer, study of Carmelite texts and Scripture and time for socialising and suppot. 

Our Nottingham community also leads 3 Reading Groups to help people deepen their spiritual life by exploring the Carmelite Saints and their writings;  meeting monthly, two in the day-time and one in the evening.

We also lead courses on prayer, days of prayer & reflection and an annual retreat that offers opportunity for individual guidance.

Talking Philosophy: a Carmelite Perspective

A reading and discussion Zoom group for  those who would like to discover and grapple with some of the more philisophical Carmelite writers such as Edith Stein,  organised by members of the Nottingham Community  For Secular Carmelites, and anyone else who may be interested, to investigate the ‘history of ideas’, and the thinking and philosophical input which informs much of Carmelite ‘mystical theology’? This would be in a friendly, intimate, non-threatening group, assuming no previous knowledge, and also open to non-Carmelites, non-Catholics, Christians of any denomination, contemplative tradition, or, indeed, anyone, of any faith, or none.

For further details and who to contact if you are interested please see 

Talking Philosophy: a Carmelite Perspective

Taking Philosophy - a Reading Lisit

Carmelite News Autumn 2021

 Formation of a new Secular Carmelite Community in Lincoln


The Nottingham Secular Carmelite Community Group (St Elizabeth of the Trinity) was canonically established in 2012 with the permission of our then Bishop, Malcolm McMahon OP.  Since then, many people have been welcomed to explore Carmelite spirituality and contemplation, and to study the great saints of Carmel.

With increasing numbers and with some members travelling considerable distances to meetings, we have decided to establish a new group in Lincoln (St John of the Cross), meeting at Our Lady of Lincoln on the third Saturday of the month, 10am-4pm (by kind permission of the parish priest, Fr John St. John). The first meeting will be Saturday 16th October.

We are delighted that one of our long-term members, Sandra Buck, has taken on the responsibility of leading this group supported by Deacon James Hunter and Victor Burton. The group will also be supported by our Formation Director, Heather Ward.

Nottingham President, Martin Hopkinson, wrote to Bishop Patrick McKinney to update him on our work and to ask for his blessings and prayers,  which he was pleased to give.

The Lincolnshire members will be very much missed by the Nottingham Group, but we will keep in contact, support each other, and occasionally have joint meetings. We welcome the opportunity to make Carmelite spirituality and the secular way of life more widely known and available in our Diocese.

Our Lady of Lincoln pray for us.

Carmelite News Summer 2021

At last, we were able to meet in person at the end of June! Ten of us congregated at the church hall of Our Lady and St Thomas in Ilkeston by kind permission of Fr Andrew Hardy, for our usual monthly prayer and study day (throughout the pandemic we have been continuing our regular Saturday monthly meetings on Zoom).

 We were delighted that Angela, one of our older members who has also been unwell and who has been unable to join us on Zoom, was able to come. We celebrated with her as she was at last able to make her final promises, which were received by Deacon James Hunter on behalf of the order.

This was also Teresa’s last meeting as she entered Notting Hill Carmel on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 16th July. Heather presented her with a small gift and the community  arranged for a Mass to be celebrated for her intentions by Fr David Palmer. Many other prayers and Masses will be offered for her, and she will be sorely missed – although of course we will keep in touch. She has been a member for very many years and a great source of inspiration and support.

We now hope and pray that we will be able to return to “normal” with regular monthly meetings, but instead of returning to St Francis Church in Long Eaton we will be meeting at St John’s Church in Stapleford - again by kind permission of Fr Andrew Hardy.

Meeting for Morning Prayer on Zoom has been very helpful to the group as a way of keeping in touch and supporting each other. But now we have decided to meet monthly instead of every week, on the 4th Friday of the month at 10.15am for those that can make it.

The Community Retreat (31st July-1st August) – was originally planned to be held at Buckden Towers in Cambridgeshire but they are not planning to reopen this year.  Heather was fortunately able to book us into the Hayes Christian Conference Centre in Swanwick (see photo above) and 11 members are planning to attend.

Show all articles
Powered by CouchCMS