I’ve been a lay Carmelite ever since October 2001. The Order is quite ancient and has its origins well before the eleventh century, traditionally hearkening back to before the Birth of Christ.
The Order, since the days of Sts. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila in Counter-Reformation Spain, has been divided into two main branches, the Discalced, and the Calced (or Ancient Observance). Although they have much in common, each branch has its own separate customs, rules, and traditions. Each month of the liturgical year has at least one Carmelite feast day.
July is quite an important month for Carmel since it’s the month during which we honor both St. Elijah, the Prophet and our Father, on the twentieth; and the Virgin Mary. Mary gets two days. The first is the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on the sixteenth. Her other feast day is the Mother of Divine Grace, on the twenty third. It’s on the nineteenth in Europe. Sts. Joachim and Anne, parents of the Virgin Mary, are also honored on July 26 as the protectors of the Order.