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Study-Unit Description
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TITLE The Development of the Carmelite Spiritual Tradition

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Moral Theology

DESCRIPTION This study-unit aims at introducing the participants to the Carmelite spiritual tradition, while presenting the general historical framework of the origins of Carmelites in the Thirteenth Century with a small group of hermits on Mount Carmel. The experience of these Holy Fathers is deemed foundational to the understanding of the development of Carmel’s spiritual legacy. Moreover, participants will be acquainted with significant figures, writings and symbols that shaped Carmel’s spiritual tradition through the ages. The study-unit aims at blending together historical and thematic development that mold Carmel’s identity up to the present. A section of the study-uniy will be dedicated to the present state of the Carmelite family and its apparent prospects for the future. To achieve these aims, the study-unit will be divided into two major sections, each dealing with significant figures (excluding those studied in other study-units), texts and reform movements that shaped Carmelite Spirituality. Figures and movements will be presented in their socio-historical and religious context.

Thirteenth to Fifteenth Centuries: The Origins; Nicholas the Frenchman (†1282), John Baconthorpe (1290-1346) and the Early Carmelite Writings; Movements of Reform (Mantova, Albi, Discalced, Clementine), Bl. John Soreth (1394-1471), The Christian Virgil: Bl. John the Baptist Spagnoli (1447-1516), The Carmelite Sisterhood: Bl. Joan of Toulouse (1213-1286), Bl. Frances D’Amboise (1427-1485) and other saintly figures.

Sixteenth to Twentieth Centuries: Carmelite Masters in the Spiritual Life: Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi (1566-1607), John of Saint Samson (1571-1636), Michael of Saint Augustine (1621-1684) and Maria Petyt of St. Teresa (1623-1677); The Strictior Observantia Movement: The Reform of Touraine and other movements of renewal (Monte Oliveto and Monte Santo); Miguel de la Fuente (1573-1625); Being Love in the Mystical Body: St. Thérèse de Lisieux (1873-1897), Bl Elisabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906), Maria Evangelista della SS. Trinità (1925-2005); Witnesses of Faith: The Carmelite Martyrs, Bl. Titus Brandsma (1881-1942) and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891-1942); Stalks from a Mature Trunk: Bl Francis Palau y Quer (1811-1872), Bl. Maria Teresa Scrilli (1825-1889), Bl. Maria Crocifissa Curcio (1877-1957), P. Marcel Roussel-Galle (1910-1984) and the Donum Dei movement; Lay Carmelite Movement.

Study-Unit Aims:

At the end of the study-unit, inspired by the Carmelite Tradition, participants will:
- acquire a deeper understanding of a major school of Christian spirituality in the Church,
- grasp the importance of using symbols in their spiritual experience,
- learn that the present and the future are rooted in the past,
- get to know Carmel’s inspirational figures,
- be acquainted with the person and works of a major Christian spiritual master and writer,
- manage to grasp the language used in spiritual theology to better understand their own and others’ spiritual journey,
- have better understood God’s pedagogy for the human person, journeying towards Christian perfection.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit, the student will be able to:
- comprehend a major School of Christian Mystical Thought and its development through the ages.
- use the historical hermeneutical tools for a critical appraisal of the Carmelite School.
- appreciate the vast number of important figures and writers which make up the Carmelite School of Spirituality.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit, the student will be able to:
- find his/her way to place the proper perspective the Carmelite School of Spirituality and Mysticism.
- get hermeneutic skills that enable a proper understanding of texts and their meaning.
- identify authors and their immediate influences from and on other schools of thought.
- connect the spiritual wisdom from the Carmelite School to that of other traditions both within the Christian tradition and other.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- SLATTERY, Peter, The Springs of Carmel. An Introduction to Carmelite Spirituality, Victoria, St Paul Publications, 1990.
- WELCH, John, The Carmelite Way. An Ancient Path for Today’s Pilgrim, Herefordshire: Gracewing, 1996.

Supplementary Readings:

- BOAGA, Emanuele, Come pietre vive... per leggere la storia e la vita del Carmelo (= Carmelitana 1), Roma: Institutum Carmelitanum, 1993.
- CARRETERO, Ismael Martínez, Los carmelitas. Historia de la Orden del Carmen, VI: Figuras del Carmelo (= B.A.C. 568), Madrid: B.A.C., 1996.
- MCGREAL, Wilfred, At the Fountain of Elijah. The Carmelite Tradition (= Traditions of Christian Spirituality), London: DLT, 1999.
- SMET, Joachim, The Carmelites. A History of the Brothers of Our lady of Mount Carmel, I-IV, Darien, Illinois: Carmelite Spiritual Centre, 1975-1988.

A comprehensive bibliography, including the Carmelite classics of spirituality, will be distributed to the participants at the beginning of the course of the unit.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Glen Attard
Charlo Camilleri

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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