Blessed John Soreth, whose Memorial is on 28th July, certainly deserves our warmest thanks. Without his enthusiastic efforts and persistence, there might well be no Carmelite nuns or Seculars.
Here is a brief extract from Keith Egan’s contribution to a fascinating book on Carmelite Prayer. (see below)
Blessed John Soreth
A key medieval Carmelite reformer, John Soreth, prior general from 1451 to 1471, called urgently for a return to solitude and a renewed regard for the cell, the separated cell of the Formula of Life and the Rule. As Titus Brandsma wrote, “Soreth was lavish in his praise of solitude”. Moreover, Soreth officially welcomed for the first time, women as Second Order Carmelites, an innovation that had a momentous impact on the Carmelite tradition of prayer. It is among the cloistered Carmelite women that the ideal of solitude in community from the original charism continues as a special witness to the whole Church and to the rest of the Carmelite Order.
Soreth would be a major figure in Carmelite history had he done nothing else but create the opportunity for the initiation of Second Order Carmelites. But this energetic and saintly prior general had other goals and achievements. He raised the sights of the late-medieval Carmelites to an awareness that they must not neglect solitude nor forget their vocation to contemplative prayer: that is, prayer that is open to God’s transforming presence.
Soreth knew that solitude and contemplative prayer had been the lot of the Carmelites since the days of the hermits on Mount Carmel. The challenge then, and now, is for a fruitful solitude that leads to living attentively in the presence of God, whether that prayer be mystical or quite ordinary; whether in the cloister or the classroom, in the pulpit or one’s cell, whether in service to the poor or in pursuuit of one’s work in the world, whether as a lay (Secular) Carmelite or as a Carmelite religious.(Egan, Keith J. – The Solitude of Carmelite Prayer in “Carmelite Prayer: A Tradition for the 21st Century”, edited by Keith J. Egan – Paulist Press, New York, 2003, p49-50)
You can find further information here: Blessed John Soreth