Founded in Italy, the institute of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the labour of Maria Scrilli, known as the Servant of God; Sr. Maria Teresa of Jesus, born in Montevarchi, Italy, Maria always possessed a marked tendency toward prayer and a powerful connection to the Carmelite devotion to spirituality. She felt the calling of the Lord and overcame many obstacles to at last fulfill her passion to become a Carmelite Sister.
Maria`s love for the Blessed Virgin Mary guided her as she formally dedicated the foundation of her Institute on October 15, 1854. She shared her contemplative and apostolic ardour with the Sisters who followed her.
An excerpt from her autobiography reads…
“The sense of the divine presence
had become continuous in me.
It was a very pleasant union;
I could not resign myself to
abandon it if I was not persuaded
to leave God for God, that is, to
leave God in the contemplation of
Mary, so as to find him again in
the duties and cares of Martha.
Ceasing, thus to enjoy Him and
to go and toil for Him, and then
to come back, to rest Him.”
Originally, the primary purpose of the institute was “leading the souls to God” using prayers, and apostolate teaching to children from their most tender years, through to adolescence. As time continued and their work as well, Co-foundress Maria Mosca, was inspired to serve the Lord through serving the sick and the aged.
Quickly known for their compassionate hearts, generous spirit and spiritual warmth, the Sisters continued their work with the sick and educating, the young. They soon found themselves answering the call to social work and pastoral ministry. The Carmelite Sisters opened houses in the United States, Canada, Poland, India, Brazil, Czech Republic, Philippines, Indonesia and Israel in addition to the many houses operating throughout Italy. The Institute affiliated to the Carmelite Order on March 31, 1929always persevering to spread the Kingdom of God among the nations.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the Patroness and model of our Institute. Our Lady teaches us to listen to God by being open to the Holy Spirit speaking to us in our hearts. Our Lady instructs us to respond generously as she did through our response of “YES” to God`s call and she encourages us to live with our hearts and minds constantly turned towards the Blessed Trinity.
Today, we continue to wear the same brown habit as a sign of our Consecration to God. We wear it with dignity and devotion both in and out of the house. The habit consists of a brown dress and scapular, a black veil and white cloak that are worn on formal days and particular occasions. The small wooden cross-worn on the scapular is the distinctive sign of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is for us, the constant reminder of the life Mary lived and how those who wear the Scapular should strive to live; with mind and heart turned to God – ever contemplating, the loving presence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
On December 2, 2003, in the presence of the Holy Father, The Heroic Virtue of the Servant of God, Maria Teresa of Jesus (known as Maria Scrilli, 1825-1889) foundress of the Institute of The Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, was declared. On Sunday October 8, 2006 Maria Teresa Scrilli was beatified in Fiesole, Italy.
“The life of our institute must be contemplative and active;
the one must be helped and not burden to the other.”
Blessed Maria Teresa Scrilli