By Bonny Van

The Catholic Commentator  

On July 16, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Ethalyn White of Port Allen, and Carmelite Proline of Baton Rouge, joined other members of their order for Mass at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Baton Rouge. Identified by their large brown cloth scapulars, this was a special day for the group who are members of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites.  


Members of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites wear their scapulars to Mass at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Baton Rouge for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  Photo by Bonny Van | The Catholic Commentator 


“It is a special feast day,” said White, who has been a member for 30 years. “We wear these (scapulars) to our meetings and any special feast day where we’re gathered.”  

“It’s just like a Sunday,” said Proline, explaining the importance of this special feast.  

According to “Magnificat” magazine, the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel marks the day in 1251 when Our Lady gave the brown scapular to St. Simon Stock. White stated members of the secular group spend their time growing in faith and in the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours). With 30 members, not all of them active, the Discalced Carmelites in Baton Rouge are always looking for new members.  

“We’re not very visible because our charism is one of prayer and it’s mostly interior, it’s not something you’re going to see out on the streets very much,” noted White. “But anybody that’s interested, we would be glad to have you come and visit with us and see what we’re all about. We draw our members from all over the diocese.”  

“People come from Plaquemine, Denham Springs, all the way from LaPlace,” added Proline, a Discalced Carmelite for 19 years. “We’d love to have new members. We’re ordinary people from all walks of life. It’s a calling. It’s a vocation.” 

For those interested in learning more, the Discalced Carmelites will host a day of recollection at St. George Church in Baton Rouge on Sat., Aug. 10, beginning at 8:30 a.m., with Father Eric Guyan, pastor of St. Theresa of Avila Church in Gonzales, as the retreat master.