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St Teresa of Avila

In 2015, preparation for the Quincentenary of the birth of St Teresa of Avila, Fr Matt kindly provided us with set of study guides for Teresa’s major works: Her Life, the Interior Castle, the Foundations and her Letters.


Each document highlights a particular area which we can use for study and discussion within our groups or simply use for personal formation to deepen our understanding of Teresa’s experience of the spiritual journey.

The Letters

The Book of Her Life

The Book of Her Foundations

The transcript of the seven talks given by Fr Matt Blake at a Secular Carmelite retreat at Boars Hill in July 2012.  They cover the whole Book of Her Foundations using a thematic approach:  

Fr Matt Blake, The Book of Her Foundations, 2012 retreat   


The Book of Her Foundations, Doctrinal Guide, an academic thirteen-page analysis and reading guide issued by the Discalced Carmelite Generalate in December 2011. 


Notes covering Chapters 3 to 28 of the Book of Her Foundations, including some handouts by Fr Matt Blake and some reading guidelines and questions for reflection.

The transcript of the talks given by Fr Matt Blake at a Secular Carmelite retreat on the Way of Perfection at Boars Hill in June 2011. The first talk is a general overview of The Way of Perfection and the remaining six talks are a detailed treatment of Chapters 19–28, which contain the core of St Teresa's teaching on prayer:

Fr Matt Blake, The Way of Perfection, 2011 retreat 

Aylesford Retreat 2022: St Teresa The Book of Her Life

Abridged transcripts of talks given by Fr Matt Blake OCD on St Teresa's The Book of Her Life at the 2022 Aylesford Retreat. Talks 2 - 7 are also available as audio files on our Audio Recordings page.

Talk 1         Talk 2         Talk 3         Talk 4         Talk 5         Talk 6       Talk 7

Psalm 118 and Carmel

A talk given by Sr Stephanie OCD at the East Anglia Regional Day on 23 March 2024

St Thérèse of Lisieux 

God Is Greater Than Our Heart: Thérèse of the Child Jesus and prayer
Sr. Aline Eraly, OCD

Deep loneliness and pain – Thérèse of Lisieux

Annette Goulden, OCDS

The relevance of Thérèse of Lisieux in our daily lives, relationships and prayer

Annette Goulden, OCDS

Talks at the Secular Order Annual Retreat 2009, on the arrival of the relics of St Thérèse

Fr Matt Blake OCD

Link to Archive of the Carmel of Lisieux. Everything needed to find out more about Thérèse, giving rich insights into her work and the genesis of her thinking.

St John of the Cross

Commentaries on the Living Flame of Love by Fr Tony Cussen


Prologue and Stanza 1    Stanza 2    Stanza 3    Stanza 4

Introduction to the Living Flame of Love by Fr Iain Matthew

The Dark Night of the Soul: an opportunity for growth and freedom


To Find God - A series of talks by Fr Iain Matthew OCD

These talks were given in 1992-1993 at Kensington and formed the basis of Fr Matthew's book ‘The Impact of God’

1.  John of the Cross  Poet, Pastor and Mystic,  44 min

2. A Witness to the Gift:  Living Flame of Love,  44 min

3.  Space for the Gift:  Ascent of Mt Carmel,  48 min

4. A Deeper Healing: Night 1,    59 min

5. A Night More Lovely than the Dawn: Night 2,   54 min

6. Only Spain?  St John in his culture and environment,    50 min

7.  The Place of Encounter: faith and love in St John,   51 min

8.  The Encounter,  57 min

9.  The Unfathomable Mind: Jesus in St John’s writings,   31 min

10.  The Rising Dawn: Heaven in St John’s writings,   1 hr 1 min


Elizabeth of the Trinity

Notes from a talk by Roderick Campbell Guion OCDS

Part 1   Part 2    Part 3

A commentary on Elizabeth's 'Prayer to the Trinity'

Edith Stein

Notes from talks by Fr Matt Blake OCD


Edith Stein: Her Life and Teaching

The Science of the Cross

The Blessed Virgin Mary


Mary, a Woman of Prayer, Fr James McCaffrey OCD


Waiting for the Holy Spirit with  Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Sr Stephanie OCD

The presence of Mary in the life and reform of Teresa of Jesus, a valuable and stimulating Powerpoint presentation prepared by Maria Pilar de la Iglesia.


St Joseph

A talk given by Fr Matt Blake OCD at our Walsingham pilgrimage in June 2021

A talk given by Sr Stephanie OCD at Quidenham Carmelite Monastery on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 2021

Constitutions and Counsels



Notes from talks by Fr Matt Blake OCD


Constitution No. 6    Constitution No. 9

The Evangelical Counsels


Apostolicam Actuositatem


Notes highlighting the significance for the Secular Order of the Second Vatican Council's
Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity

Resources on Prayer

The Breadth and Depth of Christian Prayer

The transcript of a series of eight talks by Fr Matt Blake OCD, based on St Teresa of Avila’s four stages of prayer (Book of her Life Chapters 11-22).

Links to the original audio files may can be found here.

A short introduction to the Liturgy of the Hours

Other useful resources

Introductory Booklet for Carmelite Formation

A booklet which the Notting Hill Secular Carmelite Community has been printing out and giving to new enquirers, as an introduction to the Order.  It is offered as a possible help to other Directors of Formation. 

Checklist for Incoming Presidents and Group Leaders

A checklist commissioned by the OCDS National Council in 2022 to help newly-elected Presidents and Group Leaders and others interested in the running of Secular Carmelite groups. 

The Suffering Servant

A Lent talk by Fr Liam Finnerty OCD

What it means to be a Carmelite

Notes on a talk given by Fr Matt Blake OCD at the London Regional Day on 6 April 2024

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