The Rule of St Albert and the Constitutions
Between 1206 and 1214 the hermits on Mount Carmel received, at their request, a rule of life from Albert (later Saint Albert), Patriarch of Jerusalem. The rule, first approved by Pope Honorius III in 1226, was subsequently confirmed by Gregory IX in 1229 and again by Innocent IV in 1245.
Following the migration of the hermits to Europe, the Rule was adapted to their new conditions of life, and approved as it is today by Innocent IV in 1247.
The Constitutions are the fundamental law for the Order of Discalced Carmelites - Friars, Nuns and Seculars - in different countries of the world.
A copy of the Rule and the Constitutions may be read or downloaded here.
The Constitutions have been reprinted with full notes; the booklet also contains the Rule of St Albert, the Local Statutes and the Rituals.
These booklets are available from the Carmelite Book Service, Oxford, cost £6.50. Copies of the Constitutions with full notes can be obtained direct from Annette Goulden OCDS, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, cost £4.00 plus postage.
The Ratio Institutionis
The Ratio Institutionis document sets out the fundamental principles which guide the process of formation for members of the Order. It is not in itself a formation program. There is always, and there must be, a local flavour to the formation given in the local community. So whilst it provides the general direction and philosophy which guide Formation, each jurisdiction of the Order is responsible for the design and application of its own programme of formation.
The document was approved in 2009 and comes in two main parts. The first part, from numbers 1 to 93, is the Ratio itself, accompanied by two sections. The first section contains those numbers of the Constitutions which touch on the theme of formation. The second section is a presentation of principles to help in the discernment of the vocation to the Secular Order.
The second part is a model of a developed programme of formation. It is offered as a model. Each jurisdiction of the Order is responsible for developing its own programme of formation. Any Province that has already developed a programme and has submitted it to the General Definitory for approval will substitute its own programme in the place of this model.
Newly translated printed copies are available from Annette Goulden, contact details as above. Cost £1.00 plus postage.