The Carmelite Shield

Throughout the centuries the shield of the Carmelite Order has undergone various transformations. The main elements have remained: the representation of a mountain, Mount Carmel, in the center of the shield with a star on the mountain side and two stars above and on either side of the summit. The stars represent the Marian and Elian traditions of the Order. The star on the mountain represents the Virgin Mary to whom the Order is dedicated. The two stars in the upper portion of the shield are the prophets Elijah and Elisha. These two men from the Book of Kings in the Old Testament are considered the spiritual inspirations of the Order today.

Some versions of the shield include five stars above the shield in the form of a crown. The crown represents Mary as “Mother and Splendor of Carmel”, an ancient title attributed to the Mother of Our Lord by the early Carmelites.


  1. C. Camilleri

    Nice but that’s not the true meaning of the carmelite shield! Look up your Carmelite history books pls 🙂

  2. bro. William

    I two liked the 6 pointed star(star ofDavid?) However when I visted the official website for the

    Carmelite Order the star when I went the the shield section was a 5 pointed star. Interesting? When I emailed them to explain I did not recieve any expantion.

  3. Michael Mulhall

    The shield seems to have come from the escutcheon fashioned for Albert as Patriarch of Jerusalem. See the picture given in Vincenzo Mosca’s book, Alberto Patriarcha di Gerusalemme, p. 739 where it appears on a token used by pilgrims. The stars are rosettes.

  4. Christopher Sedlmeyer

    The shield on this page is blazoned as: Argent, a pile inverted throughout brunatre, three mullets of six points counter changed. This is a modern derivation of the historic Carmelite shield that has curved lines defining the ordinary, making it a chape ploye (“cleft in the mantle”), rather than a straight pile. Thus, historically the blazon is rendered: Brunatre, chape ploye argent, three mullets of six points counter changed. The historic rendering of the shield seems very similar to the Dominican simplified shield made to represent the formal habit of the order, a black chape ploye for the mantle on a white field for the tunic. Thus, the historic Carmelite shield might have been influenced by this Dominican treatment and made to look like the Carmelite formal habit, a white chape ploye (like the Carmelite mantle) on a brown field (like their brown tunic). The fact that this rendering also creates a brown mountain shape only confirms the appropriateness of the design.

  5. Evelynb

    What is known as the Star of David, the 6 pointed star, was a Christian symbol long before a Jewish symbol. The two triangles represented God and humanity. The triangle pointing down was God descending and the triangle pointing upward was humanity ascending. Only in the last two hundred years has it been used exclusively as a Jewish symbol. It was adopted so that there could be a readily recognizable symbol similar to the cross if Christians and the crescent of Muslims.
    The 6 pointed star is featured prominently in several Catholic churches in Italy.

  6. Jack S

    Not quite.

    The Mogen David (“Shield of David”) was used as a Jewish symbol since the 17th Century, and was championed as THE symbol for the State of Israel since it was envisioned.

    Your ‘ascending’ humanity and ‘descending’ God is pure hogwash.

  7. Star of David

    Considering the fact that the largest Catholic Cathedral in North America (Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception) has a top dome with several gigantic colorful six-pointed stars (officially called Stars of Mary) the six-pointed stars on the emblem of a Catholic Order of Nuns should not seem that surprising. I have a large image collection of the six-pointed Star of David displayed upon numerous Catholic Churches. Without any exaggeration, there are dozens upon the dozens of Catholic Churches which include the Star of David in their religious decoration and symbolism. So the question as to why a Catholic sisterhood called the Order of Carmelites has 3 Stars of David on their groups’ official emblem can be answered quite easily. It is because the Star of David is a Catholic symbol, period.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Carmelite Vocation Office
We invite you to join us on the path up Mount Carmel. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus with Elijah and Mary is a wonderful, deeply satisfying life. We welcome you to contact us at any time via the information below.

twitterfacebookpinterestRSS FEEDInstagram