Living out the Gospel in both active and contemplative ways, the Carmelites hold as their exemplars both the prophet Elijah and the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of our Lord Jesus – remembering her under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Carmelites promoted the use of scapulars, special cloths worn as signs of constant devotion and prayer.
The Carmelites today are a diverse collection of communities of friars and women religious (including cloistered contemplatives). One of these communities, Friars of the Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, eloquently expresses the Carmelite way,
“We embrace an eight century contemplative, prophetic tradition of Gospel living, patterned on the Carmelite Rule and inspired by Elijah and Mary. As contemplatives, we seek to live consciously in the presence of God and to affirm and challenge one another by living a prayerful life in common. As prophets, we walk with people, announcing God's presence, denouncing oppression, and promoting the well being of the human family, as we serve in pastoral, educational, spiritual, and other creative ministries...”