Stages of Formation
Since we are members of a religious order, our formation period somewhat parallels that of the Sisters and Friars of the Order. It consists of three phases.
During twelve monthly sessions, we study the history of the Order, the Rule, Provincial Statutes, the prayer life, devotion to Our Lady, Carmelite saints, and praying the Liturgy of the Hours. At the end of the first twelve month period of discernment, a candidate who is ready will be received formally into the Carmelite family and the local Chapter. At the Reception ceremony, the member receives the Ceremonial Scapular.
During This two-year time period, more intense work is done on our roots and traditions, Carmelite Spirituality, the responsibilities of the laity in Carmel and in the church at large, prayer (vocal, mental, contemplative), living in the presence of God, Ilijah and Elisha, Sacraments and sadramentals, Carmelite saints and blesseds among the Ancient Observance, Discalced, and lay people in Carmel. At the end of this two-year period of learning and discernment, the member who is ready will make temporary (first) promises.
Phase III Ongoing...in community
Three years provide the opportunity to grow in Carmelite Spirituality. It doesn't just happen. We are on a life-long journey. Study topics may vary from Chapter to Chapter, but they include at least the writings of our Carmelite Saints from the past, and present day authors, including those who are Lay Carmelites. At the end of this three-year period of discernment, a member who is ready will make final promises. This is a serious commitment, one that is made for life.