Author: Michael Mulhall, O. Carm.
The Carmelites are one of a small handful of religious communities that can trace their origins back into the Middle Ages. The Rule that the Carmelites continue to follow started with Albert, the patriarch of Jerusalem from 1206 to 1214. Some thirty-three years after Albert's death, Pope Innocent IV granted full recognition of these Carmelites and, with some modification, the Rule which Albert has written for them.
Albert's spirit still imbues the Rule. Over the years following his death three popes addressed themselves to these Carmelite hermits. Pope Honorius III acknowledged the fact that they had received their formula vitae (way of life) from Albert, and consequently they need not fear a later prohibition against following their own unique Rule. Pope Gregory IX, who had befriended both St. Francis and St. Dominic, put the hermits under his personal protection. Lastly, Pope Innocent IV authorized two Dominicans to help bring all their changes together into one text. It is this text that we read today as the Carmelite Rule.
Albert and His Rule attempts to retrieve the mindset that first enlivened and held together the vision that Albert fashioned for them. lt is this originai spirit that Albert and His Rule attempts to retrieve.
Carmelite Michael Mulhall. M.A., S.T.D., holds a degree in Semitic Ianguages and a doctorate in biblical theology. He was assistant professor of Sacred Scripture at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. In 1981 he became director of Mt. Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario. He taught at the University of St. Michael's College before moving to teach for the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) at St. Augustine's Seminary in Toronto. He also served on the board of the Canadian Catholic Biblical Association. Recruited by the National Office of Religious Educatian (NORE), he served as scripture consultant for the first two volumes of The Roots of Our Faith dealing with the Old and New Testaments.
Fr. Mulhall organized the First North American Congress on the Rule in 1982. He then edited the presentations from the Congress into a book called Albert's Way. As a result of being part of the committee coordinating the 800th Anniversary of the Carmelite Order, he resumed his study of the Carmelite Rule, which has now come to fruition in this work.