"At the origin of religious consecration there is a call of God for which there is no
explanation apart from the love which he bears for the person whom he calls."
Vocation to Carmel
The call to the consecrated life, particularly to the contemplative life of Carmel, remains a mystery, because it is a work of the Holy Spirit. Women who desire to join the Teresian Carmel are persons of prayer who aspire to a life of love in communion with God in a sisterly community.
The purpose of consecrated life is conformity to the Lord Jesus in his total self-giving, taking on the attitude of Christ towards the Father.
"Through Baptism, every Christian and every consecrated person is called to undertake this pilgrimage of seeking the true God. By the working of the Holy Spirit, it becomes a sequela pressius Christi – a path of ever greater configuration to Christ the Lord." Vultum Dei Quarere
1 - 2 years
Aspirancy is a time of discernment for the candidate and the community, in which regular contact and visits allow for a deep listening to the movements of the Holy Spirit. The candidate continues her regular life in the world, but is accompanied through a program of prayer and discernment which includes an opportunity to experience life in the cloister.
1 - 2 years
The candidate who feels called to apply for admission, once accepted, enters the community as a postulant. Postulancy allows for further discernment of the vocation and a progressive adaptation to the religious life. Instruction focuses on laying a firm foundation of prayer, within the Carmelite tradition.
The novitiate marks the beginning of religious life and membership in the Order of Carmel. The novice receives the habit of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and her religious name. During this stage of formation, she enters more deeply into the Carmelite experience and prepares for religious vows by prayer and instruction.
By public profession of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Sister is consecrated to God through the ministry of the Church. During these years she will strive to conform her life more and more to Christ as she lives out the vows each day. While continuing to receive instruction, she will take more responsibility for her own formation in both study and prayer.
Solemn Profession is the moment of complete and permanent commitment to God in the Order of Carmel. The solemnly professed Sister receives the black veil, signifying that she is consecrated to Christ forever. This day of great joy marks the end of initial formation, but it is only the beginning of a life journey of contemplation and love in the heart of the Church.
Prayer for Discernment
O my God, fill my soul with holy joy,
courage and strength to serve you.
Enkindle your love in me and then walk with me
along the next stretch of road before me.
I do not see very far ahead,
but when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down,
a new prospect will open before me,
and I shall meet it with peace.
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross