Becoming a Carmelite
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Entry and Stages of Formation
When a prospective candidate is interested, she either writes to us or visits us. We reply every letter of enquiry and send some brochures, inviting questions if there is need of clarifications. There is also the invitation to share her life in order that we get to know her better. In the correspondence that follows, we endeavor to help her discover whether she has a Carmelite vocation or not.
If a budding vocation is discerned, more visits are encouraged. The candidate is called an aspirant… she aspires to our Carmelite way of life. A ‘live-in’ experience of a maximum of three months is possible for the one seriously thinking of joining us. This is to help the candidate to come to a better understanding of our way of life. It makes the task of discerning a vocation easier for both sides. If the community and the candidate think that there could be a call to Carmel then the invitation to begin Postulancy is given. She returns home and when ready, writes in to ask for formal entry into our Carmelite community.
Postulancy: 6 months – 1 year
This stage of formation introduces the candidate to the lived reality of Carmel, prepares her for the beginning of religious life, and further helps her to discern her vocation. At the end of the postulancy, if both community and candidate are able to recognize the authenticity of a call, the admission to the Novitiate follows.
Novitiate: 2 years
The novitiate marks the beginning of the religious life, properly speaking. The Novitiate begins with the rite of initiation to Religious Life, in which the candidate is given the habit of the Order with the veil. The novice enters more and more into the Carmelite way of life as she comes to know its demands and experiences them.
Simple Profession or Temporary Vows: 3 years
By Religious Profession, the candidate pledges herself by public vow to live according to the three evangelical counsels. She is consecrated to God through the ministry of the Church. She becomes a member of the Order.
At the end of Temporary Vows, the religious dedicates her life to God forever by Solemn Profession during a public ceremony.
During the period of Formation from Postulancy to Solemn Profession, the candidate receives instructions on:
Human Formation - including Psychology
Christian Formation - Sacred Scripture. Theology, Liturgy, Church History
Religious Formation - Religious Life, Vows, etc
Carmelite Formation - Spirit, Mission, Saints, Culture, Tradition
After Solemn Profession, all the sisters will pursue their own spiritual, doctrinal and practical formation without interruption for their entire lives as this is an indispensable means for the constant personal and community renewal which is recommended by the Church.
Audio visual aids, an extensive in-house library with a large selection of reading materials on varied subjects including several Catholic magazines, weekly communal sharings on spiritual topics are available.