Formation Overview

From the Lay Carmelite Office

What are the requirements for admission to formation?

A candidate must be a Catholic fully participating in the sacramental life of the Church, who feels called by God to live more deeply one’s baptismal vocation as a member of the Carmelite Family. A candidate must be at least 18 years of age when seeking entry to the formation program. A person is admitted to formation through an existing Lay Carmelite community.

What does the Lay Carmelite formation process entail?

Formation is divided into three specific periods:

  1. Phase 1 – Preparation for Reception; lasts one year but may extend up to two years; instructions include history of Carmel, its charism and traditions.
  2. Phase 2 – Preparation for temporary Profession; lasts two years but may extend up to three years; instructions on prayer, community, and the call to ministry
  3. Preparation for final Profession; last 3 years; ongoing formation takes places at monthly community meetings with the other professed; is a time of deepening one’s living of the Carmelite Way as a means of discerning one’s call to Final Profession.

Once a person has been accepted by the community council for Final Profession, he/she continues ongoing formation, which is life-long for all the members of the local Lay Carmelite Community.

What is expected of a Lay Carmelite?

  • To participate in the daily celebration of the Eucharist when possible
  • To spend about ½ hour in meditation each day, reflecting on the Scriptures, using Lectio Divina, or some other appropriate method of personal/reflective prayer
  • To pray the Liturgy of the Hours – Morning and Evening Prayer – in union with the Church throughout the world
  • To spend some time doing spiritual reading each week
  • To attend the monthly community meetings and other (periodic) community activities
  • To wear the Brown Scapular daily as a sign of dedication to Mary, trust in her motherly protection, and as an expression of one’s commitment to live in allegiance to Christ by serving others

Candidates studying to become a Lay Carmelite are also expected:

  • To meet monthly with the formation director for a two-hour class in the Phase 1 formation program, which consists of 12 lessons in preparation to be received into the Lay Carmelites
  • After Reception, to meet monthly with the formation director for a two-hour class in the Phase 2 formation program, which consists of 24 lessons in preparation to make temporary profession as a Lay Carmelite