An apostolate of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites community of Our Mother of Good Counsel in Dayton, Ohio.

Carmelite Conversations Podcast
Jan. 31, 2023

12 free online books about Carmelite spirituality

12 free online books about Carmelite spirituality

While we prefer books published by ICS Publications because we believe they are the best translations, sometimes you want to get a feel for a book before you purchase an actual print or electronic copy. Because many Carmelite books were written hundreds of years ago, there are quite a few in the public domain with the complete text online for you to read or download. Many are in PDF format or have online e-readers to make ready easy. This includes books by St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, and more.

St. Teresa of Avila

Foundations: A fascinating book written by Teresa of Avila that documents the process and struggles of creating different Carmelite convents during her life. This edition includes the Visitation of Nunneries, the Rule and Constitutions and was published in 1912.

Book of Her Life: This is St. Teresa of Avila's autobiography. The edition was published in 1904 and made available by the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Interior Castle: The Interior Castle, or The Mansions, (Spanish: El Castillo Interior or Las Moradas) was written in 1577, and published in 1588.  It contains the basis for what Teresa felt should be the ideal journey of faith, comparing the contemplative soul to a castle with seven successive interior courts, or chambers, analogous to the seven mansions. This edition was published in 1921.

Way of Perfection: Teresa wrote The Way of Perfection (Spanish: Camino de Perfección) to teach her nuns how to progress through prayer and Christian meditation. She discusses the rationale for being a Carmelite, and the rest deals with the purpose of and approaches to spiritual life. This edition was published in 1964.

St. Therese of Lisieux

Story of a Soul: The autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, which describes her "little way". This edition was published in 1912.

Poems: A collection of the poetry written by St. Therese of Lisieux. This edition was published in 1907.

St. John of the Cross

Complete Works: This book of collected works by St. John of the Cross includes The Ascent of Mount Carmel and the Dark Night of the Soul. This edition was published in 1864. 

Ascent of Mount Carmel: The Ascent of Mount Carmel is a more systematic study of the ascetical endeavour of a soul seeking perfect union with God and the mystical events encountered along the way. Although it begins as a commentary on The Dark Night, after the first two stanzas of the poem, it rapidly diverts into a full treatise. This edition was published in 1933.

Dark Night of the Soul: Dark Night of the Soul narrates the journey of the soul to union with God. It happens during the "dark", which represents the hardships and difficulties met in detachment from the world and reaching the light of the union with the Creator. This edition was published in 1959.

Spiritual CanticleThe Spiritual Canticle is an eclogue in which the bride, representing the soul, searches for the bridegroom, representing Jesus Christ, and is anxious at having lost him. Both are filled with joy upon reuniting. It can be seen as a free-form Spanish version of the Song of Songs. The first 31 stanzas of the poem were composed in 1578 while John was imprisoned in Toledo. This edition was published in 1909.

Other Carmelites

Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. hIt is is a book of collected teachings of Brother Lawrence (born Nicolas Herman), a 17th-century Carmelite friar. The compilation includes letters, as well as records of his conversations kept by Brother Lawrence's interlocutors. The basic theme of the book is the development of an awareness of the presence of God.

The praise of glory: Reminiscences of Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity. She was a French Discalced Carmelite, a mystic, and a spiritual writer. She was known for the depth of her spiritual growth as a Carmelite as well as bleak periods in which her religious calling was perceived to be unsure according to those around her; she however was acknowledged for her persistence in pursuing the will of God and in devoting herself to the charism of the Carmelites.This edition was published in 1913.

In addition to the books listed above, you can also find many Carmelite legislative documents online, including those for Discalced Secular Carmelites. Links to these free publications are below. In some instances, print copies of these publications can be purchased online.


The Carmelite Conversations Podcast is an apostolate of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites community of Our Mother of Good Counsel in Dayton, Ohio. Discalced Carmelite Seculars are practicing members of the Catholic Church who, under the protection of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and inspired by St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross, make the commitment to the Discalced Carmelite Order to seek the face of God for the sake of the church and the world. For more information about Secular Carmelites, visit our website.