Frequently Asked Questions
In the Church there are men and women who set out to follow Christ and to imitate Him more closely by practicing the evangelical councils of poverty, chastity and obedience. (PC 1) They are called religious and by their lives, they show forth Christ in contemplation on the mountain (Contemplatives) or proclaiming the kingdom of God to the multitudes (preaches) or healing the sick and doing good to all men in various ways (active religious) (LG 46)
Carmelites are contemplatives who pray in the solitude of their monasteries in imitation of Christ praying on the mountain for the Church and the whole human family. Active religious go out to the people to help them in various active ways.
Enclosure, (meaning going out only to unavoidable places like the hospital, the dentist etc) freely chosen, provides the environment necessary for leading a more intense life of prayer in silence and solitude as a form of service to the human family.
Carmel is a way of life that focuses very much on prayer as a personal friendship with God as well as prayer as an apostolate. Frequent visits and socializing are obstacles to this focusing.