Formation in this secular order, which includes laypersons and secular priests, resembles formation in religious orders. It may not be as rigorous, but may be more difficult, since the person does not have the helpful structure of a convent, and has to cope with all the demands and distractions of the outside world, while making spiritual progress. Of course, our community is there for mutual support, and we keep in contact between monthly meetings.
We feel we do not need to take on great penances, but rather deal well with the little and sometimes great penances God allows in our daily lives, learning to trust in God's providence with a peaceful heart. A well-formed Secular Carmelite, having been with our OCDS community for many years, should be as holy, prayerful, and detached from selfish clingings as a well-formed cloistered nun or monk. We ourselves are not there yet, but are striving to be. Through our ongoing formation we Carmelites seek a humble life of union with God through prayer and the goodness that flows from that. The process starts with a person becoming an aspirant.
The entire period of formation commonly requires about six years.
Aspirancy is for those who are beginning to discern a call to a vocation in the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites.
"The purpose of this stage is that the applicant might become more familiar with the community, the style of life and service to the Church proper to the Secular Order of the Teresian Carmel. This period also give[s] the community the opportunity to make an adequate discernment." [OCDS Constitutions 36 a]
At the end of the Aspirancy, the applicant may be invited by the Council to receive the scapular and enter the formal period of formation in preparation for the Temporary Promise.
Preparation for receiving the Scapular
Duration: A minimum of 12 months
Formation I is for those who have received the Scapular and are candidates in formation preparing to make the Temporary Promise.
The purpose of this stage of formation is to prepare to make the temporary promise (to follow the Evangelical Counsels and to live in the spirit of the Beatitudes) through the serious study of prayer, the scriptures, the documents of the Church, the saints of the Order, and formation in the apostolate of the Order. [OCDS Constitutions 36 b, c, d]
At the end of these two years, the applicant may be invited by the Council to make the temporary promise to live the evangelical counsels and the spirit of the beatitudes for three years.
Deepening the life of prayer and preparation for making Temporary Promise.
Duration: A minimum of 2 years
Formation II is for those candidates who have made the Temporary Promise and are preparing to make the Definitive Promise.
"In the last three years of initial formation there is a deeper study of prayer, the scriptures, the documents of the Church, the saints of the Order, and formation in the apostolate of the Order. At the end of these three years, the applicant may be invited by the Council to make the definitive promise to live the evangelical counsels and the spirit of the beatitudes for life." [OCDS Constitutions 36 d]
The purpose of this period of formation is to prepare the candidate to embrace fully the demands and rewards of living the way of life inspired by the Rule of St. Albert and outlined in our OCDS Constitutions.
Preparation for a life-time
commitment to Carmel
Duration: A minimum of 3 year
The goal of ongoing formation is
to continue and deepen one’s Carmelite vocation.
Durations: Throughout one’s life
Course of Study:
2) Teaching of St. Teresa
3) Teaching of St. John of the Cross
4) Teaching of St Therese
5) Other Saints and Blessed of
6) History of the Order
7) Christian Doctrine