Carmelite Formation:
A Journey of Transformation

General Guria of the Carmelite Order
Rome 2000









            A.  Called by God's love

            B.  Setting out in response to the call

            C.  The journey of formation

            D.  "This way is good and holy: follow it."



            A. Receiving Elijah's mantle

            B. Contemplation: the heart of the Carmelite charism

            C. Prayer: the experience of God who transforms us

            D. Brotherhood: sharing the experience of God

            E. Service among the people: the experience of God sends us into mission

            F. Elijah and Mary



            A. The protagonists: God and the one whom he calls

            B.  Principal forms of mediation

            C. Support structures and the responsibilities of major superiors




            A. Objectives and description

            B.  Persons responsible for the vocations ministry

            C.  Structure and content

            D.  Criteria for discernment



            A.  Objectives and description

            B.  Persons responsible for the pre-novitiate

            C.  Structure and content

            D.  Criteria for discernment



            A. Objectives and description

            B. Persons responsible for the novitiate

            C. Structure and content

            D. Criteria for discernment



            A. Objectives and description

            B. Persons responsible for the period of simple profession

            C. Structure and content

            D. Criteria for discernment



            A. Objectives and description

            B. Persons responsible for formation to service

            C. Structure and content

            D. Criteria for discernment



            A. Objectives and description

            B. Persons responsible for ongoing formation

            C. Structure and content

            D. Times requiring special responses


            A. The pre-novitiate

            B. The novitiate

            C. The period of simple profession and formation for service

            D. Specialisation

25th March 2000

Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord

Prot. No. 14/2000

Dear Brothers,

With great pleasure I present to you the new, revised Ratio Institutionis Vitæ Carmelitanæ.  Since 1988 the Ratio has been the fundamental document for formation throughout the whole Order.  It has been necessary to update the Ratio due to the publication of several papal documents on the consecrated life and the approval of our new Constitutions.  I want to thank all those who have been involved in the writing of this new Ratio. The General Council, during session no. 238, held today, 25th March 2000, approved the text and gave instructions for its publication.

The title is “A Journey of Transformation” which describes the underlying thrust of the whole formation process.  The person who feels called to Carmel embarks on a journey of faith, like our models, Mary and Elijah.  Gradually over the course of a lifetime, the Carmelite is changed, not just on an exterior plane but is transformed on every level of his personality if he consents to the will of God.  In this way the Carmelite is conformed to Christ and becomes a new creation in him. 

On the spiritual journey, our faith, hope and love are purified through the events of daily life and our response to them.  We are called to walk together as brothers and to serve the people in whose midst we live.  In order to stay faithful to this vision, we need the strong support of prayer, which is the way we relate to God and through which we learn to take on the mind of Christ.

The formative process lasts a lifetime with many twists and turns.  The joys and difficulties of our lives will be formative if we try to discern the hand of God in them all.  Through continual prayer, we begin to hear the voice of God in the sound of sheer silence and we are renewed in our mission to live as Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel in the midst of the people.

The Ratio is not intended only to be for initial formation but for ongoing formation also.  Therefore I strongly encourage each friar to read this Ratio frequently because, along with our Rule and Constitutions, it describes the purpose of our Carmelite life.  We are on the spiritual journey together and we must support each other as we are slowly transformed so that we can look upon the world as if with the eyes of God and love it as if with God’s heart.

May Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our Mother and Sister, accompany each of us on our journey of faith and teach us to do all that the Lord tells us (cf. Jn. 2, 5).


Joseph Chalmers, O.Carm.,

Prior General




In 1988 the Order published its first Ratio Institutionis (RIVC) following the renewal promoted by the Second Vatican Council. The definitive text was the fruit of a long and laborious process.  It involved several meetings and revisions and involved most of the theological experts and formators in the Order.

I do not believe that I exaggerate when I say that the RIVC 1988 is the best document that the Order has produced since Vatican II.  I am convinced that it heralded a break-through in the understanding and presentation of our charism.  It was the first time that the charism was officially characterised by the three elements of contemplation, fraternity and service.  The intuition was that there is an underlying element that unifies the three areas, and this was described as the desert experience.  The presentation of the charism made by the RIVC was gradually accepted by the Order and formed the basis of the new Constitutions approved by the General Chapter of 1995.

In the meantime, besides the new Constitutions, various important Church documents had been issued, which made revision of our RIVC necessary.  Furthermore, this revision was already foreseen by the RIVC itself (n.133) and prescribed by the Constitutions (n. 129).  1990 saw the document on formation in religious institutes, Postissimum Institutioni, come to light.  In February 1994, the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life published the document “Fraternal Life in Community.”  The Synod on consecrated life in October 1994 offered its reflections, later elaborated in the apostolic exhortation Vita consecrata (1996).

One of the first concerns of the Prior General Fr. Joseph Chalmers, immediately following the General Chapter of 1995 was that of the revision of the RIVC.  This task was given to me as Councillor General for Formation.  The General Council set up an International Formation Commission to assist me in this service to the Order.  Each of the geographical areas of the Order was to be represented: North America (David McEvoy - PCM), Latin America (Tarsicio M. Gotay - Arag), Northern Europe (Christian Körner - GerS), Southern Europe (Domenico Lombardo – Brun - for the first two years and then Giovanni Grosso - Ita), Africa (Jean Marie D’Undji – Ita/Con), Asia-Australia (Dionysius Kosasih - Indi).

The following is the process followed by this commission in the revision of the RIVC:

- Each regional representative organised for two successive years a meeting of the formators of his region to study the RIVC and to suggest changes and improvements to the text.

- The commission then met to study these suggestions and take necessary decisions.

- The commission charged three of its members, Giovanni Grosso, Christian Körner and me, to write the new text.

- The first draft of the first part was sent to all provincials and formators in April 1998.  From suggestions received we drew up a second draft which was mailed to the same parties in the early months of 1999.  In June of the same year we finished and mailed the first draft of parts two and three.

- At the General Congregation that was held in Bamberg, Germany, from 24th August to 3rd September 1999 I presented the draft of the new RIVC.  The participants had the opportunity to discuss it and make suggestions. 

- The formators also made their suggestions on the last two parts and studied the whole document at the international congress for formators that was held in San Felice del Benaco, Italy, from 28th September to 5th October of this year. 

- The International Formation Commission met in Rome immediately following the congress in order to evaluate all the suggestions. 

- The subcommission for the redaction of the text met for the last time in December 1999 and prepared the definitive text to present to the Prior General and his Council for their approval.  On this occasion we were happy to have the help of Günter Benker (GerS).  The index was composed by Christian Körner.

In the elaboration of the new text, the subcommission took as its basic text the RIVC 1988 and sought to preserve the same structure and the same contents as far as possible.  However at the same time it also tried to take a further step in the clarification of our charism.  In the revision of the 1988 text, it used the following criteria:

- it kept in mind the itinerary of the Church and of the Order from 1988 to the present and the new documents issued on Church and Carmelite levels;

- it kept in mind the experience and sharing among formators, especially during regional meetings and the international congress;

- while maintaining the anthropological and psychological principles of the RIVC 1988, it sought to frame them better in a theological-spiritual style;

- it sought to use a  pedagogically sensitive style and language;

- it sought to maintain a certain balance between various sensibilities within the Order.

With regard to the RIVC 1988 the new document presents two notable novelties. First, the presentation of the charism, which in the RIVC 1988 constituted a separate chapter (cf. RIVC 1988, I: Gift and Mission of the Order, 7-34), was developed in relation to formation and inserted into the part given over to the process of formation. Second, the need for a deeper and more life-giving knowledge of the charism and of the Carmelite tradition led us to elaborate a Programme of Carmelite Studies, which makes up the third part of the new RIVC.

During the six-year term of the preceding General Council, there was the idea of drawing up a Ratio Studiorum Carmelitarum.  Our International Formation Commission decided, from the very beginning of its work, not to publish a second document but to include the Ratio Studiorum in the Ratio Institutionis.  We are aware that what we have produced is only a first attempt which will be enriched in a future revision by the experiences resulting from use of the new RIVC. The scope of this “Programme of Carmelite Studies” is to guarantee that all our confreres in initial formation in every part of the Order receive the basic elements of a good Carmelite formation.  Naturally, every province will adapt the programme to its own concrete situation, emphasising some aspects and adding others.

I would like to note that we wrote this document not only for formators and for candidates, but with the hope that it may serve as an instrument of on-going formation for all of us who are still on our way towards an ideal which is never fully achieved.  This idea is evident in the structure of the document and in the description of the theme.  We have purposely inserted the formation process in the framework of our on-going journey of transformation, which needs the constant support of adequate formation.

My great satisfaction in preparing this new RIVC was in being able to involve the greater part of our formators and many other confreres in its composition.  Thus, this new RIVC is a document that mirrors not only the vision of the small subcommission that actually edited it, but that of all, who are at present engaged in the ministry of formation.  I would like to thank the members of the International Formation Commission and all those who were involved in one way or another in this endeavour.  Above all, I would like to thank my close collaborators, Giovanni Grosso and Christian Körner who during the past three years have dedicated much of their time to the redaction of the new RIVC.

As I entrust this work to Mary, our mother and sister, I hope and pray that this new RIVC may help us rediscover the beauty of our vocation and spur us to open ourselves ever more to God’s transforming action on our journey to the summit of the mountain.

20th March 2000                                                                         Alexander Vella, O.Carm.

Solemnity of St. Joseph                                         Councillor General Delegate for Formation


Documents of the Second Vatican Council

AG:                 Ad gentes, Decree on the church's Missionary Activity, 28 October 1965

GS:                  Gaudium et spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, 7 December 1965

LG:                 Lumen gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 21 November 1964

Documents of the Holy See

CIC:                Code of Canon Law

EE:                  Essential elements in the Church's teaching as applied to Institutes dedicated to works of the apostolate, Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, 31 May 1983


Cooperation between Institutes in the area of formation, Congregation for Institutes of the Religious Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, 8 December 1998

MR:                Mutuae relationes, Congregation for Bishops, and Congregation for Institutes of the Religious Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, 14 May 1978

PdV:                Pastores dabo vobis, Apostolic Exhortation of John Paul II on priestly formation, 25 May 1992

PI:                   Potissimum institutioni, Congregation for Institutes of the Religious Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, 2 February 1990

VC:                 Vita consecrata, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of John Paul II, 25 March 1996

Fraternal life:

            Fraternal life in community, Congregation for Institutes of the Religious Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, 2 February 1994

Documents of the Carmelite Order


Constitutions of the Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, approved by the General Chapter celebrated in Sassone (Rome) in the year 1995; Rome, 1996

Carmel: a place and a journey:

Carmel: a Place and a Journey into the Third Millennium, O.Carm. General chapter 1995, Final document, AnalOCarm, Rome 1995, 236-250

Rule:               The Rule of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel

RIVC (1988): Ratio institutionis vitae carmelitanae, Rome 1988

Other abbreviations

AAS:               Acta Apostolicae Sedis, Vatican City, from 1909

AnalOCarm:   Analecta Ordinis Carmelitarum, Rome, from 1910

"The biblical concept of ‘journey’ reminds us of the first Carmelites’ pilgrimage to Jerusalem (peregrinatio hierosolimitana) and of their forced return to Europe. It also reminds us of the inner journey, which requires us to seek God, undergoing the purification of the desert and of the dark night. With all those who journey alongside us, we discern the way ahead. The concept of ‘journey’ also demands that we develop and implement a plan of service to the Church. This implies a commitment to the work of justice and peace and to solidarity with all people of good will, and especially with those who are searching for community and striving to meet the demands of love."

Carmel - A Place and a Journey 3.5


1.         Called to communion with God

            God "loved us first"1, and he called us to participate in the communion of the Trinity. We recognise his call in the experience of his love. Moved by the Spirit, we listen to the Word of Christ, who is the Way that leads to Life. In his footsteps, entrusting ourselves to God's compassionate love, we set out on the journey to the summit of Mount Carmel, the place where we encounter God and are transformed in him.

            As we journey towards Mount Carmel, God leads us to the desert, as he led the prophet Elijah. There, the living flame of God's love transforms us, stripping away all that is not of him and all that obscures his gift, allowing the “new creature", the new human being in the image of Christ, to emerge and shine forth in us.

            Thus our minds and our hearts are gradually transformed, so that, in the light of Christ and in dialogue with the signs of the times, we may become more capable of cooperating with God in the work of transforming the world so that his Kingdom may come.

2.         A call to community and mission

            We are not alone on this arduous ascent of Mount Carmel: Mary, our sister and pilgrim in the faith, walks with us and encourages us, as mother and teacher.

            We journey with others who have received the same gift and the same calling. Together we strive to build a community modelled on that of Jerusalem; a community centred entirely on the Word, the breaking of bread, prayer, the holding of all things in common, and service.2

            We journey within the Church, and with the Church we journey throughout the world. Like Elijah, we journey side by side with the men and women of our time, trying to help them discover God's presence in themselves; for the image of God is present in every human being, and must be allowed to emerge in complete freedom, even when it is darkened by inner contradictions or by injustices perpetrated by others.

            We are invited to this path by the Rule, which for us echoes and mirrors the Gospel, and which is the expression of the founding experience of our Fathers. From this founding experience we receive our passionate love for the world, for its challenges, its provocations and its contradictions.

            Our Fathers came from a Europe in transition, a Europe evolving through the tensions between war and peace, unity and fragmentation, expansion and crisis.  In the Holy Land, they met people of other cultures and religions; on returning to Europe, they chose to be witnesses to attentiveness to God, living as brothers among brothers.

3.         The world in which we live

            For our Fathers, the world in which they were born and raised represented a challenge; in the same way, the world in which we live  and work must be a challenge for us. It is a world rich in possibility and in opportunity, in a state of constant growth and evolution - but it is also a world full of contradictions.

            Communication, facilitated by ever more sophisticated means, is both a promise and a challenge. The rapid development of science and technology makes life easier for many but oppresses others; rather than being respectful of the environment, it often exploits it mindlessly. Human rights have been solemnly affirmed many times, only to be violated again. It has been acknowledged that women's rights and functions are equal to those of men; yet many women are still victims of abuses. Some children are overindulged and spoiled, while others are abused and exploited to satisfy the greed of a few individuals lacking in any moral sense. Awareness of one's own rights increases sensitivity to the fundamental equality between individuals and between peoples; yet nationalistic and individualistic tensions continue to create reasons for new conflicts. Interaction among cultures, when it is not a source of conflict, becomes an incentive to dialogue, to mutual respect, to the search for new approaches to shared space. Economic and cultural globalisation can offer all of us opportunities for harmonious development; but it also raises serious questions concerning the destiny of the poorer nations. The growing thirst for spirituality contradicts the presumptions of secularism, but does not always succeed in expressing itself in an authentic life of faith: it can become an escape from the heavy burden of daily life into esoteric cults, pseudomystical movements, and sects. Faced with lack of meaning, lack of moral values and various theoretical and practical forms of atheism, contemporary men and women of faith are challenged to seek shared and coherent responses, beyond religious barriers. Alongside a sincere desire for interreligious dialogue, and concrete experiences of such dialogue, there are painful and even homicidal episodes of fundamentalism.

            We are children of this world; we share in "the joy and hope, the grief and anguish" of our times.3 We belong to this world, we participate in its contradictions and we rejoice in its accomplishments.4 In this world we walk humbly, side by side with our brothers and sisters, attentively seeking to recognise, as Elijah did, the hidden signs of God's presence and of his work.

4.         Unity in diversity

            Carmelites receive and share a common charism to live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ, in a contemplative attitude which fashions and supports our life of prayer, fraternity and service.

            It is by virtue of this charism that Carmelites in every place and time belong to the Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel.

            In its essential elements, the charism is one. Its universal application requires us to go beyond a limited, regional vision of the Order, in a constant effort to express and incarnate the charism concretely in various cultures, times and places.

            There must be at all times an intimate link between the unity derived from identification with the essential aspects of the Carmelite charism and the pluralism derived from the different cultures, which enriches the charism's many expressions.




A. Called by God's love

5.          Called by the Father to follow Christ in the Spirit

            The Father - who, through the action of the Holy Spirit, calls us to a spiritual experience of deep attraction to and love for Jesus Christ the chaste, poor and obedient One5 - is the source and the goal of religious life, and therefore of Carmelite life. Through the Holy Spirit, the Father consecrates us, transforms us and conforms us to the face of Christ, guiding us to communion with himself and with our brothers and sisters.

            As individuals and as communities, we in turn choose Jesus as the one Lord and Saviour of our lives.6 We commit ourselves to a path of gradual and progressive conversion encompassing every aspect of life, allowing ourselves to be conformed to Jesus by the action of the Spirit and to come to union with God.

6.         Discipleship

            The commitment to follow Jesus Christ with all one's being and to serve him "faithfully with a pure heart and total dedication"7 is a commitment to live in him, allowing him to guide our thoughts, our feelings, our words, our deeds, our fraternal relations and the use we make of things, so that everything may come from his Word and be done in his Word.8

            Carmelites feel drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ and invited to a deep, constant, personal and living relationship with him, to the point of taking on his his spiritual qualities and personality.9

            As they encounter Christ in prayer, in the Word and in the Eucharist, as well as in their brothers and sisters and in the events of daily life, Carmelites are transformed and motivated to witness to Christ  and to proclaim him throughout the world.

            Thus "the following of Christ is still and will always be for us the fundamental law, marking out the path we have to follow on the way to an ever deeper experience of the love of God."10 The commitment to live a deep relationship with Christ and to conform ourselves to him is therefore the very core of our formation.

7.         Called within the Church

            The Father calls us to holiness and to discipleship by calling us into the Church, which is his people, his bride and the body of Christ, filled with the Spirit. "All the faithful, by virtue of their new birth in Christ, share in a common dignity. All are called to holiness. All cooperate in the building up of the one Body of Christ,  according to their particular vocations and to the gifts they have received from the Spirit (cf. Rm 12:3-8)" .11

            The Church recognises that the life of special consecration by means of the evangelical counsels " indisputably belongs to the life of holiness of the Church."12 Thus the consecrated life, "which mirrors Christ's own way of life, is an especially rich manifestation of Gospel values and a more complete expression of the Church's purpose, which is the sanctification of humanity."13 Moreover, religious life lived in community is "an eloquent sign"14 of the Church, which is "essentially a mystery of communion"15 and an "icon of the Trinity."16

            Our vocation as Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel is a form of religious life which belongs to the Church.  It flows from the Church and participates in its mystery.

8.         Following Christ in his mission as a community

            The vocation to the Carmelite life is God’s free and gratuitous initiative,17 which demands and generates a personal response: the fundamental choice of a life that is concretely and radically dedicated to following Christ.

            We are called to share this life in community, "the eloquent sign of ecclesial communion".18

             We are called to give concrete expression to the mission of evangelisation and salvation,19 in union with the Lord and with his Church, so that all may receive the gospel message and become part of God's family.

9.         Profession of the evangelical counsels

            The evangelical counsels of obedience, poverty and chastity, publicly professed, are a concrete and radical way of following Christ. They are "above all a gift of the Holy Trinity,"20 whose eternal and infinite love touches "the very root of our being."21

            When they are embraced with the generous commitment which flows from love, the evangelical counsels contribute to purification of the heart and to spiritual freedom. By means of the evangelical counsels, the Holy Spirit gradually transforms us and conforms us to Christ.22 We become "a living memorial of Jesus' way of living and acting."23

            Far from becoming estranged from the world by the profession of the evangelical counsels, we become a leaven for the transformation of the world24, and we bear witness to "the marvels wrought by God in ... the frail humanity of those who are called."25

B. Setting out in response to the call

10.       Holiness and sinfulness

            God's call, his free gift, does not fall on neutral ground; it is addressed to individuals, each with a particular story of grace and of sin. We all know the power of grace, which gives us the strength and life to cooperate joyfully in God's plan; we also experience the inner conflict which affects the process of growth. As St Paul said, "I fail to carry out the things I want to do, and I find myself doing the very things I hate... every single time I want to do good it is something evil that comes to hand."26  The Lord's reassuring words to Paul are addressed to each one of us, in our frailty: "My grace is enough for you; my power is at its best in weakness."27

11.       Self-knowledge

            Men and women, "in the depths of their beings, rise above the whole universe."28 In our three dimensions - physical, psychological and spiritual - we are drawn to both natural and spiritual values; but the attraction to spiritual values is dulled by social conditioning and by our own limitations.

            We must therefore be aware of the subconscious dimension within each of us, so that we may acquire a deeper knowledge of our selves, understand what motivates our actions, and respond freely to God's call.

            Self-awareness - awareness of our potential and of our limitations - helps us to channel all our energies constructively towards the attainment of the ideals of our vocation.29

12.       Full maturity

            There is a dynamic and reciprocal relationship between human maturity and religious maturity: the more we free ourselves from psychological difficulties, the more able we become to reach correct and appropriate personal decisions and to take responsibility for them. The more authentically we live the values of our vocation, the more fully we will live for transcendent values and the more we will feel fulfilled as human beings.

            Formation must therefore help individuals to attain vocational maturity - in other words, to engage in a continual process of conversion in line with authentic ideals regarding community life and service, ideals which can support them, step by step, along the path of gradual spiritual transformation.30

            In addition, formation must contribute to psychological maturity, through which individuals come to know themselves and discover their particular ways of living out the ideals they have chosen, without distortions, despite possible limitations and resistance.

13.       Conversion and personal growth

            Formation is a lifelong process which involves individuals at every level and stimulates their conversion; in other words, it is a radical re-orientation and a progressive transformation of their selves and of their relationships with others and with God.

            Growth to maturity takes place under the guidance of the Spirit, who conforms us ever more closely to the crucified and risen Christ, uniting us gradually with the Father, making us living stones in the construction of the temple of God31.

            Psychological growth also frees us to hear God's call and to respond to it more willingly. In this sense, conversion is also a journey towards the fullness of Christian freedom.

            Conversion at the intellectual level - in the form of new light, or revelation of gospel values, and the ability to internalise them and recognise them in life - can also lead us to deeper self-awareness and a better understanding of our own motivations, and vice versa.

            At the moral level, integrating gospel values into life produces deep-rooted beliefs which promote the development of a strong identity and a mature personality.

            At the emotional level, we become more capable of entering into relationships with others in appropriate ways. Mature relationships are never possessive; they give space to the other; they are committed and free, even to the point of giving one's self.

            At the social level, we recognise our responsibility for the construction of society and we commit ourselves to cooperate with others for the common good.

            Candidates must be helped to enter into this process of conversion, keeping in mind that time-frames are different for the different dimensions described above and that these dimensions interact differently in each individual. Full religious transformation should normally include all these dimensions; however, these must not be seen as necessary prerequisites, as they can also be the fruit of the journey of transformation.

C. The journey of formation

14.       An ongoing journey

            Formation must be presented in such a way that individuals can understand and embrace it as a dynamic process which is to continue throughout their lives, and not merely as a way of attaining permanent membership in the Order.

            The formative process can never be said to be completed: growth to human, spiritual, religious and Carmelite maturity progresses along with the unfolding of the lives of those who, having encountered Christ, answer his call and follow him in the Carmelite life, allowing themselves to be grasped and transformed by his love.

            Therefore, formation should not be viewed as a way of accumulating a rich store of ideas and habits, or of adopting a rigid lifestyle. Rather, it should be viewed as a way of acquiring a capacity for discernment, flexibility and availability - qualities which enable us to constantly renew our lives and to constantly struggle to adhere radically to Christ according to the Carmelite way of life.

15.       A personalised journey

            Formation must be mindful of the individual, and must take into account the personal journey of each member. Formation programmes must help individuals to assimilate the values they have freely chosen - to assimilate them gradually and ever more deeply, according to the model of the "hierarchical spiral"32 , in a climate of dialogue and respect. As a pedagogical principle, whenever we propose a value, we must simultaneously provide an opportunity to incarnate the value concretely, to own it affectively and effectively.

            Values must be integrated, so that we may become capable of taking responsibility for our own lives, through free responses to God's invitation to transcend ourselves in love. From the start, the process of formation must teach individuals to gradually assume functions of service to the religious and ecclesial community.

16.       Journeying towards freedom

            Formation must help individuals to attain a freedom which goes beyond their own lives, their own interests, their own selfish egos and personal needs, so that they may open themselves to the action of the Spirit and to growth in the love of God, of the Church, of the Order and of others. Religious seek transcendence, not self-gratification; they live, in communion with their brothers, for certain values, not for roles; they strive to mirror faithfully the face of God, not to achieve high productivity. It is the essential nature of the evangelical counsels of obedience, poverty and chastity to activate and express this dynamic of personal liberation at every level.

            This kind of freedom, conditioned as it is by physical, psychological, educational and social factors, cannot be taken for granted; it needs to be monitored and encouraged in its growth.

17.       Journeying together

            The process of formation has socio-cultural dimensions. We all come from particular social and ecclesial contexts; we join communities which include individuals of different backgrounds, ages, cultures, roles, and so forth; and we are sent into society as witnesses and evangelisers. We must therefore not only be converted to Christ and to the values of the Kingdom, but also be able to recognise and foster "the seeds of the Word"33 that are already present in society, and to respond to the challenges they present; we must allow ourselves to be questioned, challenged and evangelised by society - never forgetting, however, to be prophetic voices and critical consciences. We must be builders of a new world, through justice and in peace.34

18.       On the paths of Carmel        

            From the start, formation must be explicitly Carmelite. The Carmelite vocation and the Carmelite charism must be seen as potentially present in each candidate, as possibility and as gift, as a vocation to be built up and developed - not as external adjuncts, marginal to the individual's essential identity.

            Formation aims to enable the individual to gradually identify with the Carmelite Order and develop a deep sense of belonging.

            The process of identification is complex. It takes place in two ways:

a) through the acquisition of a sense of identity which gives a constant sense of personal wholeness, persisting over time and despite changing circumstances. This involves the capacity to acquire new attitudes and to adapt to new situations - always, however, in relation to a concrete set of values;

b) through identification with others, and especially with the Order, the Province and the community.

            It is through this process of identification that our personal needs come face to face with our social needs in a dynamic encounter, as we experience the need to belong without renouncing our own essential identities.

D. "This way is good and holy: follow it."

19.       Principles and criteria of Carmelite formation

            Carmelite formation is therefore inspired by the following principles and criteria:

a) The calling to religious life is God's free initiative, and requires a free response from the one who is called.

b) This response develops and makes concrete the baptismal vocation common to all the faithful, and involves a new and deeper commitment to Christ and to the Church and a new and deeper bond with both.35

c) Vocation to the religious life demands total personal commitment; it is expressed concretely in a lifestyle shaped by the gospel, in the practice of the evangelical counsels, and in communal living. It does not consist in assuming a role or in accomplishing a task; it consists in handing over one's life in self-abandonment and gift to God's transformative action and to his plan of salvation.

d) The primary task of formation is to promote the integrated development of each individual's physical, psychological, spiritual, cultural and service dimensions, avoiding any dichotomy between being religious and being human, with a view to attaining maturity in Christ.

e) The response to the call is lived out in communion and complementarity with one's own community, with the Province, with the Order and with the members of the Carmelite Family.

f) The Carmelite charism is lived out and communicated in communion and complementarity with the other gifts and charisms of the Church; it participates in the common commitment to build up the one body of Christ in service to God and to the human race.36

g) The social environment in which we are called to live, and the historical demands which challenge the Church at any given time, provide further criteria for the concrete expressions of our charism, and consequently for our formation.

h) The journey of formation is a lifelong journey. God renews his call day by day, and always expects a fresh response from us.


A. Receiving Elijah's mantle

20.       The gift of Carmelite life

            Individuals called to the Carmelite life recognise that the charism and the spirituality of the Order find a resonance at the very centre of their hearts, which have been touched by the living God.

            The process of formation gradually unfolds their Carmelite identity, in constant relation to the shared charism of the Order, contributing to their own growth to maturity and to the development of the Order itself.

21.       Participating in a long history

            To enter into the Carmelite experience is to become part of an ongoing story. It is to enter into a long human, spiritual, ecclesial and apostolic tradition which has been tested by time. Although there is a need to reread, re-interpret and deepen our understanding of this tradition, this does not mean that we must start from scratch. This work of continuous revision provides individuals with many opportunities to make their own contributions, with their specific gifts, thereby enriching, developing and renewing the life of the Order.37

22.       A common vocation

            All Carmelites participate in the one and only vocation to Carmel, in various and complementary ways, according to the call and the gifts of each individual. Whether or not they are ordained, all make the same profession to religious life38. For this reason, basic formation to Carmelite life is the same for all; it is then supplemented with appropriate and specific formation to particular ministries and services.39

B. Contemplation: the heart of the Carmelite charism

23.       Journeying towards our goal

            "Contemplation is the inner journey of Carmelites, arising out of the free initiative of God, who touches and transforms us, leading us towards unity in love with him, raising us up so that we may enjoy his gratuitous love and live in his loving presence. It is a transforming experience of the overpowering love of God. This love empties us of our limited and imperfect human ways of thinking, loving, and behaving, transforming them into divine ways"40  and enables us "to taste in our hearts and experience in our souls the power of the divine presence and the sweetness of heavenly glory, not only after death, but during this mortal life."41                   

            The contemplative dimension is not merely one of the elements of our charism (prayer, fraternity and service): it is the dynamic element which unifies them all.

            In prayer we open ourselves to God, who, by his action, gradually transforms us through all the great and small events of our lives. This process of transformation enables us to enter into and sustain authentic fraternal relationships; it makes us willing to serve, capable of compassion and of solidarity, and gives us the ability to bring before the Father the aspirations, the anguish, the hopes and the cries of the people.

            Fraternity is the testing ground of the authenticity of the transformation which is taking place within us. We discover that we are brothers journeying towards the one Father, sharing the gifts of the Spirit and supporting one another through the hardships of the journey.

            From the free and disinterested service which only the contemplative can give, we receive unexpected assistance in our spiritual journey; this helps us to grow in openness to the action of the Spirit, and to allow ourselves to be sent out again and again, constantly renewed, to serve our sisters and brothers.

24.       An inner journey

            Through this gradual and continuous transformation in Christ, which is accomplished within us by the Spirit, God draws us to himself on an inner journey42 which takes us from the dispersive fringes of life to the innermost cells of our beings, where he dwells and where he unites us with himself.43

            This requires a constant, radical and lifelong effort, through which, inspired by God's grace, we begin to think, judge, and re-order our lives, looking to his holiness and goodness as revealed and poured out in abundance in his Son.

            This process is neither linear nor uniform. It involves critical moments, crises in growth and in maturation, stages where we must make new choices - especially when we have to renew our option for Christ. All this is part of the purification of our spirits at the deepest level, by which we may be conformed to God.44

            The inner process which leads to the development of the contemplative dimension promotes in us an open attitude to God’s presence in life, teaches us to see the world with the eyes of the Divine, and inspires us to seek, recognnise, love and serve God in those around us.45

25.       An evangelical journey

            The Carmelite way assumes that life in accordance with the evangelical counsels is the most appropriate path towards full transformation in Christ.46 He chose this lifestyle for himself, and he proposes it to his disciples in order that they may become less self-centred and more open to the gift of God, who conforms them to himself for the building of the Kingdom.

            Obedience, which requires us to listen to the will of God and to implement it both personally and communally, allows us to attain genuine freedom.47

            By living poverty, we recognise and accept our frailty and our nothingness, without seeking compensations, and open ourselves increasingly to God's lavish gifts.48

            Through chastity, our capacity to love is freed from selfishness and self-centredness so that, drawn by God's tender love for us, we become increasingly free to enter into intimate and loving relationships with God, with our brothers, with all people and with all of creation.49

            Thus, the practice of the evangelical counsels is not a renunciation but a means by which we grow in love50 so as to attain fullness of life in God.

26.       An ascetic journey

            The process of transformation in Christ demands from us a continuous striving to "offer to God a holy heart which has been purified from every actual stain of sin. We attain this goal when we become perfect and in Carith - that is to say, when we are hidden in that love (in charitate) in which the Wise One says 'all guilt is hidden' (Pro 10, 12b)".51

            This process cannot take place if we rely merely on our own willpower, unaided by the experience of God's transforming love, poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit52, which gives us the strength to respond to Christ's radical invitation: "Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it."53

            However, this process also requires "our efforts and the practice of the virtues."54 Sustained by grace, we engage in a process of gradual transformation: in the encounter with Christ and in the process of union with him, the "new self" replaces the "old self", we are clothed in Christ55, and we bear the "fruit of the Spirit"56.

27.       A journey through the desert

            The first Carmelites, in tune with the spirituality of their time (the 12th - 13th centuries), attempted to live out this ascetic commitment by withdrawing into solitude. Their desert was more than a physical reality, however; it was a place of the heart - the context of living out this commitment for those who focus their whole beings on God alone. They had chosen to follow Jesus Christ, who denied himself and emptied himself to the point of dying naked on the cross. People of pure faith, they awaited the gift of new and eternal life, fruit of the Lord's resurrection.57 The desert, a place of solitude and aridity, blooms58 and becomes the place where the experience of God's liberating presence builds fraternity and inspires us to service.

            In the footsteps of the first Carmelite hermits, we too journey through the desert, which develops our contemplative dimension. This requires self-abandonment to a gradual process of emptying and stripping ourselves, so that we may be clothed in Christ and filled with God. This process "begins when we entrust ourselves to God, in whatever way he chooses to approach us"59 . For we do not enter the desert by our own will: it is the Holy Spirit who calls us and draws us into the desert; it is the Spirit who supports us in our spiritual combat, clothes us in God's armour60, and fills us with his gifts and with the divine presence, until we are entirely transformed by God and reflect something of God’s infinite beauty.61

            In speaking of this process of transformation, Carmelite tradition uses other expressions and images besides this symbol of the desert: for example, "puritas cordis" (purity of heart), "vacare Deo" (becoming free for God), the ascent of Mount Carmel, the dark night.

28.       Along the paths of contemplation

            It is important, not only to be familiar with the theory of the contemplative process and to have a constantly renewed understanding of the vows and values of Carmelite spirituality, but also to acquire and to incarnate a contemplative lifestyle and contemplative attitudes.

            In prayer and in the constant encounter with the Word of God, we learn to meet God in daily life and to entrust ourselves to him on the journey of inner transformation. In this way, we become capable of receiving accomplishments and joys as gifts, and crises and deserts as moments of growth; thus we become able to harmoniously integrate the fundamental values of Carmelite life.

C. Prayer: the experience of God who transforms us

29.       The meeting of two paths

            In Carmelite tradition, prayer has often been identified with contemplation. However, it is important to speak specifically about prayer, which is the door to contemplation.62

            God seeks us out; drawing us closer63, invited by the Spirit to focus our attention on God64 , to listen, to welcome the Word, and to open ourselves to God’s transforming action. Our search for God is a response to his voice, and the loving dialogue65 which is the substance of prayer is at once God's initiative and the fruit of human cooperation.

            Prayer, however, is above all the work of the Holy Spirit: he is present in us, and he not only suggests what we should do and say - because "we do not even know what we should ask for"66 - but includes us in the prayer that Jesus, the beloved Son, addresses to the Father67 in a continuous dialogue of love. Prayer "penetrates to the very core of the Word in the Father's heart."68 Jesus associates us with his own prayer and leads us, step by step, into full communion with himself and with the Father in the Holy Spirit. Through fidelity to the Word and active observance of the commandment of love, we become open to the Holy Trinity who comes to dwell within us.69

30.       Preparing the way for the encounter

            The Rule invites us to remain in solitude in our cells,70 which "give warmth to the children of grace as to the fruit of their own wombs, nourishing them, embracing them and bringing them to the fullness of perfection, making them worthy of intimacy with God."71 The cell is not merely an external structure; we must build it at the heart of our inner selves: therein dwells God72, who invites us to enter and seek the One who is.73

            From the outset, our spiritual tradition invites us to immerse ourselves in "the silence of a solitary hiding-place."74 In order to listen to the voice of the Lord and to hear his Word, we must know how to be silent: "The Father spoke one Word, which was his Son, and he speaks it in an eternal silence; and in silence it must be heard by the soul."75 To learn God's language and to begin to speak a few tentative words in response, we must allow ourselves, in every aspect of our lifes (spiritual, psychological and physical), to adjust to the silent sound of God’s voice76 and to God’s light.77 From our brothers and sisters, masters of the spiritual life, we have received many teachings on this subject.

            The silence which we must cultivate does not come from an inability to communicate or an impossibility of communication; on the contrary, it is the fullness of dialogue, where words are often unnecessary and can become obstacles. Solitude is not isolation; it is filled with the Presence, and it sends us back transformed to the company of our brothers and sisters.

31.       Alone before God

            Prayer is essentially a personal relationship, a dialogue between God the human person. We are invited to cultivate it and to find time and space to be with the Lord.78 Friendship can only grow through "frequent one-to-one encounters with the One whom we know loves us."79

            Our tradition suggests various ways of praying. The Rule invites us to prayerful attention to the Word, which must "live abundantly on our lips and in our hearts."80 Mary, the praying virgin who "cherished these things and pondered them in her heart,"81 is the sublime model for this form of prayer. From Elijah we learn how to remain in God's presence.82 As we become accustomed to his presence and as we learn to receive it silently, we begin to "breathe almost exclusively the essence of God, as we breathe the air around us."83

            What is important, beyond all matters of form, is to cultivate a deep friendship with Christ: perfect prayer "does not consist in thinking much but in loving much."84 In prayer, the loving heart leaps towards God85 and rests in him.

32.       Together before God

            In the Carmelite tradition, liturgical prayer celebrated in community has always been a source of spiritual growth, and therefore of inner transformation. Each day, punctuated by the liturgical moments, finds its centre - spiritually, if not chronologically - in the communal celebration of the Eucharist, source and climax of the life and activity of the Church. 86

            In the Eucharist, the Lord unites us to his own offering of himself to the Father "so that day by day we may be perfected in our union with God and with one another, through Christ the Mediator."87 From the encounter with Christ, who is Word and Bread of life, comes the strength which enables us to continue on our journey.88 By the celebration of the Eucharist, we are inspired to reach out gratuitously to others and to welcome them with openness.

            The celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours in community unites us, with the Church, to Christ's unceasing praise of the Father.89 This becomes our personal and communal way of participating in the sanctification of time and of history.

            "The prayer of the Carmelite community is a sign of the praying Church to the world"90 and recalls the example of Mary in the cenacle, surrounded by the disciples.

            Our Constitutions suggest other moments of communal prayer, in addition to the liturgy. Lectio divina, in particular, provides an opportunity to share our experiences of God on our spiritual journey,91 and to seek the Divine will together.

33.       Along the paths of prayer

            We must cultivate the various forms of prayer92, especially those that are dear to the Carmelite tradition, such as systematic meditation, lectio divina, the practice of the presence of God, the prayer of aspiration, and silent prayer. The Eucharist must be seen as the source and high point of our relationship with Christ.

            In developing community plans, adequate time and space shall be set aside for prayer, in order that members may learn to pray and gradually develop their own personal styles of prayer so that prayer may permeate all of life. "Prayer is life, not an oasis in the desert of life."93        

            It is also important to ensure that the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours are celebrated in community, and to insist on the importance of faithful participation.

            Finally, a climate of external and internal silence and a simple lifestyle must be developed and fostered, as these are conducive to prayer and reflection.94

D. Community: sharing the experience of God

34.       The path outlined by the Rule

            The author of our Rule, Albert, Patriarch of Jerusalem, addresses the hermits as "fratres".95 This means that we are called to live out our contemplative vocation together, in community, not on our own. The contemplative attitude, which enables us to discover God present in people and in the events of ordinary daily life, also helps us to value the mystery of each member of the community.96

            We have a common way of life, expressed by the Rule, of which the prior is guardian and guarantor.97 The Rule proposes a set of attitudes and a path designed to consolidate community as it is lived out in practice, following the inspiration of the first community of Jerusalem. We nourish Carmelite fraternity[185] by listening together to the Word of God99 and participating in the common liturgy100 - especially as we gather daily to celebrate the Eucharist100; by sharing material and spiritual goods,101 mindful of the well-being of every member102; by discerning together the common journey103 ; by making important decisions  together104 ; by valuing silence as the "cult of justice"105 and therefore the guarantee of non-oppressive, non-possessive relationships respectful of the other; and by sharing meals106 and work.107

35.       The journey towards community

            "Before it is a human construction, religious community is a gift of the Spirit."109 Like every spiritual gift, however, it must be built up day by day through the effort of each and every member.

            The awareness of having received a common vocation - a vocation which finds its concrete expression in a plan that is developed, implemented and verified communally - must be allowed to grow to maturity.110 The natural tension between the common plan and the personal journey must therefore be dealt with and resolved as a call to us all to journey together as brothers.111

            The task of building fraternal community is a form of asceticism which requires continuous conversion and a sense of self-denial. No one presumes too much of the others, while each rejoices in what the others are capable of giving.          The daily gathering, in which we move from the individual cells to the oratory at their centre, is symbolic of the continual effort to come out of one's self, reach out to others, and build community with them: the Eucharist transforms individuals into brothers.113 From the eucharistic celebration, in which community is built, celebrated, and expressed, we are sent back to the labour of life, where we grow in mutual service and receptivity thanks to the strength provided by the Word and by the Bread.

36.       Prophets of new relationships

            Our joint commitment to a way of life, and our joint participation in moments of listening, of prayer, of celebration, of community and of communion, motivate us to proclaim joyfully and gratuitously the common calling to holiness and to full communion with God and among people. Thus Carmelite community becomes in and of itself a proclamation to the world.114 Our fraternal life becomes a prophetic sign of the possibility of living in communion, if one is willing to pay the price.115 Carmelites, who are also called to become experts in communion,116 invite others to share in their communal prayer117 and in their life. Listening prayerfully to the word of God, they find in it the inspiration to become a living and prophetic presence in the Christian community and in the world. From the sharing of material and spiritual goods springs the need to share with every brother and sister all that the Lord has freely given.118

37.       Paths to community

            Certain attitudes and behaviour patterns must become habitual, if we are to develop an authentically fraternal life: we must be attentive and caring towards those with whom we live, engaging in open and honest dialogue with them, expressing interest in their lives and personalities, helping them on their spiritual journey, and cooperating with them willingly and eagerly. The presence of individuals of different ages in a community can be an important source of mutual enrichment and a valuable testing ground of the sincerity of younger people's motives. Elderly and ill friars can hand on the richness of their own life experiences to the younger members; for their part, young people can stimulate older members to renewal and nourish their hopes for the future.

            Love for communal life and active and creative participation in common prayer, in meetings, in meals and in recreational activities help to increase sensitivity with regard to the community.

            Gradually, members begin to identify with the community; they become capable of owning decisions which are made jointly, even when, initially, they did not fully agree with them.

            It is important to recognise and develop personal gifts, talents and aptitudes; at the same time, however, we must train candidates to assume apostolic, missionary and professional commitments for and on behalf of their communities. In the framework of community we learn to share in its mission and in its service. The work of each individual expresses and makes concrete the mission of the entire community: we are sent by the community to work and act in its name and on its behalf.119

            However, it is not enough to identify with one's community. Each member must learn to feel that he is truly part of his Province and of the Order. Contact with the other communities in the Province, and international experiences, contribute to gradually develop a sense of identity with the Order, with its history, its tradition and its life, and to cultivate a spirituality of communion.

E. Service among the people: the experience of God sends us into mission

38.       Participants in Christ's mission in the Church

            A contemplative community's authentic experience of God necessarily leads us to make our own "the mission of Jesus, who was sent to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God and to bring about the total liberation of humanity from all sin and oppression. Our ministry as Carmelites is therefore an integral part of our charism."120

            As Carmelites, we are in the Church and for the Church, and together with the Church we are at the service of the Kingdom.121 While we strive to enrich the Church through the specificity of our charism, we cooperate in building the one body of Christ in full communion with all the other members of the Christian community.122 This communion is made concrete by means of our involvement in local churches.123

39.       Serving those who seek God

            Carmelites share in their contemporaries' thirst for God. This thirst for spirituality goes beyond the limits of Christianity and is often to be found hidden even in those who profess no religion. As Carmelites, we must be able to recognise this thirst for spirituality, wherever it may be, and to enter into dialogue with anyone who seeks God, contributing to the discoveries individuals make in their own experience of the "holy places and mystical spaces"124 where God comes to meet us.125 Faithful to the Order's spiritual heritage, we focus our work, in its various dimensions, on increasing the search for God, and we invite men and women of our time to the experience of contemplation, sharing with them the richness of our spiritual tradition.126 Our life as a contemplative community becomes a credible witness to the possibility of encountering the Other and others through silence, openness and sincere communication.127

40.       Brothers in the midst of the people

            Communal life is in itself both a proclamation and a challenge.128 A community that is full of life is both attractive and prophetic; it is a sign of the liberating presence of the Lord among his people.

            Our lifestyle, which must be open and welcoming, invites us to share with others the communion of hearts and the experience of God which are lived within the community.129

            This way of being "in the midst of the people" is a prophetic sign of a new way of relating with people - one that is based on friendship and fraternity. It is also a prophetic statement about justice and peace in society and among peoples. It is "a choice to share with 'the little ones' in history, a choice to speak a word of hope and of salvation from within, more through life than in words."130

            Carmelites set out on a journey, following the guidelines given by the Rule, along the paths marked out by the Spirit of the Lord.131 They become companions to those who suffer, hope and commit themselves to building up the Kingdom of God, and they seek to promote every means of fostering community.

41.       Brothers in mission

            We must learn "to 'leave the sacred precincts' and 'go outside the camp' in order to proclaim 'in the new marketplaces of the world' that God loves humankind with an everlasting tenderness."132 Naturally, each situation requires a response that is appropriate to local needs and demands.  Our lifestyle and our spirituality must be translatable into attitudes and actions capable of communicating our Carmelite spirit through an ongoing effort to inculturate our charism and the gospel message.133 Moreover, every culture into which we integrate ourselves will enrich both our own understanding of the gospel message and of our charism, and the means which express them; for as we evangelise, we are in turn evangelised. As we take Christ to others, we encounter Christ present in them.

42.       Mission ad gentes

            In obedience to Christ's command to "go and teach all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe my commands,"134 the Order recognises and promotes the continuation of a long missionary tradition which reached its high point when St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus was made patron saint of the missions, and is confident that "mission ad gentes will reveal in a new way the heart of the Carmelite charism."135  "Missionary work is nothing other than the manifestation, or the epiphany and the realisation, of God's plan in the world and in history."136 It is "the Church's highest and most sacred duty,"137 because the Church is missionary by nature.

            From the Lord's explicit command, from the Church's many emphatic statements, and from the tradition of the Order, it is clear that, for Carmelites today, missionary work ad gentes is not merely a possibility but a real necessity, as well as a privilege. We must encourage and promote "the unsuppressable missionary drive which distinguishes and characterises consecrated life."138

43.       Prophets of justice and peace

            The contemplative dimension of Carmelite life allows us to recognise God's action in creation and in history. This free gift challenges us to commit ourselves to the working out of God's plan for the world. The authentic contemplative journey allows us to discover our own frailty, our weakness, our poverty - in a word, the nothingness of human nature: all is grace. Through this experience, we grow in solidarity with those who live in situations of deprivation and injustice. As we allow ourselves to be challenged by the poor and by the oppressed, we are gradually transformed, and we begin to see the world with God's eyes and to love the world with his heart.139 . With God, we hear the cry of the poor,140and we strive to share the Divine solicitude, concern, and compassion for the poorest and the least.

            This moves us to speak out prophetically in the face of the excesses of individualism and subjectivism which we see in today's mentality - in the face of the many forms of injustice and oppression of individuals and of peoples.141

            Commitment to justice, peace and the safeguarding of creation is not an option; these are urgent challenges, to which contemplative and prophetic Carmelite communities - following the example of Elijah142 and of Mary143 - must respond, speaking out in explicit defence of the truth and of the divine plan for humanity and for creation as a whole. Our communal lifestyle is in itself such a statement: it is founded on just and peaceful relations, according to the plan outlined in the Rule,144 which our tradition traces back to the experience of Elijah, who founded on Mount Carmel a community of justice and peace.145

44.       Keeping alive the memory of Mary

            The rediscovery of the Marian tradition in Carmelite spirituality inspires us today to offer the humble service146 of those who attribute to Mary, primary model of discipleship, a specific role in spiritual and ecclesial life. This involves promoting an authentic renewal of Mariology on solid biblical, liturgical, ecumenical and anthropological foundations.147 In addition, we need to look more critically at our Marian tradition, in order to find a new language and new ways of expressing our relationship with Mary on our spiritual journey.

45.       Paths which inspire service

            Our apostolic service is too serious a matter to be left to improvisation, random impulse and wasteful dispersion.148 Formation to service - an essential element of our charism - must be addressed with the same care and attention as formation to contemplation, to prayer and to fraternity.

            Hence, we must create a climate of silence and of conversion capable of opening hearts, eyes and minds, so that, enlightened by the Word of God, we may learn to read the signs of the times, listen to others and be attentive to what is happening in the world and in the environment in which we live. To avoid unnecessary dispersion, we must learn to plan - to discern genuine needs and to organise, within the framework of a jointly developed project, the means and the methods required to reach identified goals. We must be free and available to go wherever the Spirit leads us.

            The cultivation of a sense of belonging to the Church is an absolute imperative. This implies developing a special love for and interest in the Church and its mission, and learning to work with others in the service of the Kingdom.

            Professional, cultural and theological training must be conducive to the integral development of each individual, in preparation for service and with a view to dialogue and cooperation with the intellectual, scientific and cultural worlds. To this end, it is essential to develop an understanding of modern technology and modern means of mass communication, and to acquire the skills necessary to make use of these technologies.

            Sensitivity to the poor, the sick, the marginalised and the least, and the safeguarding of creation, are values which must be fostered and developed in a dynamic way, so that they may be translated into a coherent lifestyle.

F. Elijah and Mary

46.       In the footsteps of the prophet Elijah

            A few pilgrims, coming from the west to the Holy Land, chose Mount Carmel as the place in which to live in eremitic fraternity. They settled near the spring known as ‘Elijah's spring’149, thus continuing a long tradition of monastic and eremitic presence.

            The memory of the prophet is still alive in this place: the prophet burning with zeal for his God, whose word is a flaming torch; the prophet who stands in God's presence, ever ready to serve him and to obey his Word; the prophet who points to the true God so that the people may no longer stand with their feet in two camps; the prophet who exhorts his people to choose to focus their existence on God alone; the prophet who is attentive both to the voice of God and to the cry of the poor, who knows how to defend both the rights of the one God and those of God's beloved ones, the weakest and the last.

            Carmelites remember, and in some ways relive, the prophet's experience: hiding in the desert in times of dryness; facing the challenge of the false prophets of a dead idol, incapable of giving life; following Elijah on the long journey back through the desert to Mount Horeb, to meet the Lord in new and unexpected ways, and to understand that he is present even where he appears to be absent; sharing in Elijah's thirst for justice; knowing themselves to be, like Elisha, heirs to the mantle that fell from heaven, from the chariot engulfed in flames.

47.       Near Elijah's spring

            From this place, "close by the spring",150 the Carmelite hermits set out on the long journey charted by St Albert's Rule - a path that stretches through time to us. For them, and for those who followed them, Elijah thus became the first to incarnate the ideal of life which had motivated them to leave their homes. They felt themselves to be in some sense his children, heirs to a spiritual heritage which in various ways had been handed down to them.

            They collected Judaic and Christian tales about Elijah; they reinterpreted them and made them their own. Thus Elijah, who in monastic tradition was already considered the first monk and the model for contemplatives, became for Carmelites the prototype of mystics, and the prophet intent on singing and teaching the praise of God to a community of disciples; the defender of God's rights, and the champion of the weakest and the least. The Carmelites of those early days, like the Carmelites of today, spoke of Elijah as their “Father" - not in any historical or physical sense, but in view of the values which he represents.

48.       Mary guides us on our journey

            In dedicating their oratory to Mary, the Mother of the Lord, the first Carmelites chose her as their patroness and entrusted themselves to her, consecrating their lives entirely to her service and to her praise - expressed primarily in their life, more than in their rituals.151

            Throughout their history, Carmelites have experienced and celebrated in song the constant and caring presence of their mother and patroness. Mary, the mystical star of Mount Carmel, protects her children, clothes them, and guides them along paths which lead to the joy of the transforming encounter with God.152 She who first enjoyed the experience of full union with God in Christ helps us to discover the beauty of our calling, and supports us in the arduous ascent to "the peak of the mountain which is Christ the Lord."153

            The scapular is the sign and the reminder of this protection and of our trust in her; her feasts provide opportunities to give thanks to the Lord for the gift of Mary, "more Mother than Queen."154

49.       Journeying with Mary

            On the journey towards God, Carmelites recognise the Virgin Most Pure as their sister, the new woman who allows herself to be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit. Mary, pilgrim in the faith, becomes for them a sign of all that they want to be in the Church.155

            The young woman who heard the angel's words in Nazareth and welcomed the Word of God introduces us to the mystery of the Son of God and teaches obedience to the Spirit, which leads us to adhere fully to the will of the Father. As she hurries to visit Elisabeth, Mary’s example teaches us how to serve others in charity, the essential way of building community. Mary the mother of God, who presents the God-child to us in Bethlehem, invites us to become "God-bearers"156 in all the circumstances of life. Mary fleeing to Egypt, with the Child and St Joseph, points to the paths of asceticism and purification, the necessary gate to the contemplative experience of God. Mary keeping and pondering all things in her heart teaches us to seek and to recognise the signs of God's presence in the ordinary events of daily life, and to become disciples of the Lord by listening to the Word and putting into practice. In Cana, attentive to human needs, Mary points to Jesus as the one who gives the new wine of salvation, and invites us to do what he says. At the foot of the cross, Mary teaches us to be faithful to the end, whatever the consequences. Received by the disciples as their mother, she becomes the model of the praying Church, always open to receive and to share the gift of the Spirit.

            Carmelites have a close and intimate relationship with Mary, our Mother and Sister, who is present in our personal lives and in our fraternal life in community.


A. The agents: God and the one who is called

50.       The story of a vocation

            Religious life begins with a call which is a gift from God and which demands a response from the one who is called. But the call and the response are not given once and for all at the initial moment: the gift is offered and received anew each day; the call is always new and always demands a new response. This adventure, in which the agents are God and the one whom he calls, grows at the heart of an exchange between two freedoms and between two loves; but it involves a web of other responsibilities and influences, which mediate God's action and help the individual to respond to his call.

51.       Vocation: God's gift and our response

            Vocation to religious life is the initiative of God the Father, "creator and giver of every good thing, who draws his creature to himself (cf. Jn 6:44) with a special love and for a special mission."157 The Father's loving call is mediated by Jesus Christ, who asks of some of his disciples "a total commitment, one which involves leaving everything behind (cf. Mt 19:27) in order to live at his side and to follow him wherever he goes (cf. Rev 14:4)".158

            Those who are called in this way and experience this gratuitous "eternal and infinite love which is at the very root of our being"159 feel the need to respond by the total and unconditional gift of their lives.160 Letting themselves be grasped by Christ, they leave all things behind to follow him161 and seek, day by day, to "become one with him, taking on his mind and his way of life."162

            The primary responsibility to say "yes" to the divine call, and to assume the consequences, belongs to the one who is called; however, both in the initial moment of response and in the daily journey that follows, this response is not possible without the action of the Holy Spirit, who awakens the desire to respond in this way and guides the growth of this desire. It is the Spirit who shapes and moulds those who are called, configuring them to Christ and prompting them to make his mission their own.163

            Those who are called entrust themselves to the action of the Holy Spirit, with the humility of those who renounce the option of acting according only to the criteria of human wisdom, and who give ample space to divine wisdom. Because God's action is discreet, though continuous and decisive, these individuals cultivate spiritual discernment, so that they may recognise the signs and the fruit of the Spirit's presence in their own lives and in the world around them. The process of discernment is assisted by both initial and ongoing formation, and by frequent recourse to spiritual direction164; psychology can also be a useful tool in helping us to understand ourselves better so that we may respond more freely to God's call.

            As the response to God's call grows, self-giving and commitment - often purified by the crises of life - become more total.

B. Principal forms of mediation

52.       The Church as the context of religious vocation

            The intimate bond between the Church and consecrated life has certain implications for our formation. The vocation to the consecrated life is born within the Church and is ratified by the Church; in the rite of profession to religious life, the Church "invokes the gift of the Holy Spirit upon those who have been chosen, and joins their oblation to the sacrifice of Christ."165 This vocation is nourished by the sacraments and by the Word, which have been entrusted to the Church, and it is lived "in full communion with the Church's doctrine, her life, her pastors, her faithful, and her mission in the world."166

53.       Mary, mother and teacher

            The Virgin Mary, model, image and eminent member of the Church, draws us to God by her spiritual beauty. Perfect disciple of the Master, she is our teacher and spiritual guide; her example teaches us to realise, in the simplicity of daily life, the ideal which she was the first to receive and to live. With her maternal love, she accompanies and guides us on the paths that lead to God; she, who, by the will of the Father and the intervention of the Spirit, conceived Christ, continues to be associated with the Holy Spirit in the mysterious action of generating and forming Christ in believers167. Carmelites throughout history, and mystics in particular, have experienced and described Mary’s influence on their spiritual lives168 . The scapular is a symbol of Mary's desire to clothe us in Christ.

54.       The complementarity of vocations

            We must be open to the complementarity of vocations within the Church.

            Vocations to the consecrated life are often born in families, or in associations of lay people, who, by their prayers and their spiritual support, continually accompany candidates.

            The people among whom we live encourage us and challenge us by their faith, their wisdom, their efforts to provide for themselves and for their families - sometimes in situations of great poverty - and the ways in which they deal with the difficulties of life.

            Throughout the journey of vocational discernment and initial formation, meetings, exchanges and cooperation with religious of other Institutes, with candidates to the ordained ministry and with ordained ministers help to define and shed light on the candidate's vocation and personal charism. These relationships will continue to be a source of support throughout the journey of religious life.

55.       The local religious community as the context of initial formation

            The candidates first experience the charism of the Order through the community in which they live. For this reason, there should be a certain oneness of mind and heart among the members of those communities in which candidates are present,169 and major superiors shall keep this in mind when assigning friars to such houses. Even after a community is constituted, there must be constant dialogue among the members, in order to facilitate the work of formation and to avoid too much divergence of views. All the members of formative communities must be aware of their responsibility in the formation of candidates, for whom they are called to be concrete models of Carmelite life.170 They must be careful, however, not to interfere in the specific work of the formators. A community must offer candidates a spiritual atmosphere, a coherent lifestyle, and an apostolic enthusiasm which will attract them to a radical following of Christ.171 Community prayer and shared participation in the Eucharist, regular meetings, and shared meals and leisure time are all opportunities to deepen mutual knowledge and to transmit the living memory of our charism.

56.       The local religious community as the place of ongoing formation

            The ongoing formation of members takes place primarily within their own communities172 : these provide an environment in which individuals can grow and mature as people, as Christians and as religious interacting with God and with their brothers. A community is not a group of people living together in a way which discourages individual creativity or the development of spiritual charisms; nor is it a place where individuals are judged only by what they do. Rather, it is a group in which each brother is valued because he is an image of God, and must be encouraged to develop his own personality in freedom and responsibility. Hence, it is important to find ways and opportunities to promote the "human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral growth"173 of each brother. Community meetings can be times for sharing and opportunities for ongoing formation. Communities must pay particular attention to renewal, by providing retreats, spiritual exercises, courses, lectures, books, magazines, and other means. To ensure that this is possible and that all members have time for these activities, discernment must be used: members must not be overburdened with duties and responsibilities.174 In order to make this task easier for all communities, Provinces should develop joint initiatives involving all members.

57.       Formators

            God the Father, through the Holy Spirit, forms the mind of Christ in the hearts of consecrated people175 ; God’s action is mediated by formators, who are placed as "older brothers" at the side of those whom God has called176 . Their role is crucial to the success of formation.177

            The formator's task is a very delicate one; it requires thorough preparation and a continued effort of renewal. Today, one of our most urgent priorities is to train good formators.

            Whenever possible, formators should not be individuals who have only recently completed their own initial formation; they should have had time to acquire some practical experience in contemplative life, prayer, fraternal life and apostolic service. Formators must have a certain degree of psychological and spiritual maturity; they must be relatively free of inner conflict; and they must be sufficiently self-confident to share, to enter into dialogue, and to work with others.

58.       The prerequisites and responsibilities of the formator

            Formators have the following duties and responsibilities:

a) to discern - to help candidates recognise God's call and action, in the concrete circumstances of their lives, and discover the paths on which God is leading them.

            This requires formators to have not only a capacity for introspection and intuition, but above all a certain spiritual wisdom which is both a gift from God and the fruit of a constant habit of reflecting on one’s own life and allowing the Word of God to shed light on it in prayer;

b) to accompany - to assist candidates in their growth, especially through "personal dialogue, a practice of irreplaceable and commendable effectiveness which should take place regularly and with a certain frequency."178 Formators must adjust to each candidate's pace and respect the rhythm and the stages of each individual's development. However, they should also present clearly the requirements of following Christ in Carmel.

            This task requires inner serenity, availability, patience, understanding, genuine affection and deep respect for the inviolability of the candidate's conscience; a sound knowledge of the fundamentals of education, psychology and the spiritual journey; and openness and sensitivity to the culture and/or subculture of each candidate.

            Formators are themselves brothers journeying towards an ideal that can never be fully attained. They know from experience the joys and the difficulties of the journey to which God has called them, and to which he is now calling others. This enables them to understand the candidates who are entrusted to them, to share their joy and their pain, and to accompany them with the wisdom of those who are familiar with the journey.

c) to nourish - to provide solid doctrinal, spiritual and experiential nourishment, and to transmit the living tradition of the Order, its charism and its spirituality - not merely through instruction, but first and foremost by the example of their own lives.179

            To this end, formators must have a solid theological and spiritual formation, extensive knowledge of the Order and a strong sense of identification with it.

d) to evaluate - to monitor and evaluate the candidates' progress, on behalf of the Church and of the Order, striving to act in truth and in charity180.

            This requires formators to have a clear understanding of the criteria for evaluation,181 which must be applied with discernment, with deep respect for the personal dignity of each candidate, and in a spirit of love for the Province and for the Order. Naturally, formators must take into account the gradual progression of the journey, and must therefore show understanding towards some inconsistencies or deficiencies in the candidates - always, however, speaking to them openly and clearly, while encouraging them to persevere to the journey's end.

59.       Coordination of formation

            If possible, there should be a different formator for each stage of initial formation. Coordination and cooperation among the formators assigned to the various stages is, however, essential, in order to ensure continuity throughout the process of formation.182 To this end, each Province shall have its own formation commission, which shall consist of the Prior Provincial or his delegated councillor, the formators, and those in charge of promoting vocations. It shall be the task of this commission to draw up and to periodically review the Province's formation programme, in accordance with the principles laid out in the present Ratio Institutionis Vitæ Carmelitanæ. The programme shall then be submitted for approval to the Prior Provincial and his council. In addition, the members of the commission shall evaluate the formation process itself, and may from time to time discuss the candidates' progress.

            For each stage of the formation process, it is appropriate - and sometimes necessary - to appoint an assistant, or a team of assistants, to help formators in their task of monitoring and evaluating the candidates. Such teams, which may also include non-Carmelite members,183 shall worrk closely with the formators, and under their direct guidance; the formators shall remain at all times personally responsible for formation.184

C. Support structures and the responsibilities of major superiors

60.       The Order

            By means of religious profession, candidates are incorporated first into the Order as a whole and, subordinately, into a Province or General Commissariat.185 Hence, the Order as a whole must be involved in both the initial and the ongoing formation of its members. The one charism and the fraternal bonds which unite us find their concrete expression in cooperation at the international, regional and national levels, and, when appropriate, with other members of the Carmelite Family. Moreover, the need for qualified formators who have been prepared specifically for this task, and the need to continue clarifying and inculturating our charism, require us to promote such a policy of cooperation.

            To this end, the Prior General and his Council shall establish an international commission on formation, composed of representative members of the various regions of the Order. The commission shall be under the leadership of the Prior General’s delegate for formation, who will normally be one of the general councillors. The commission shall promote cooperation in initial formation, coordinate periodic revision of the Ratio Institutionis Vitæ Carmelitanæ, organise meetings and gatherings of formators, and assist the general councillor or the delegate in fulfilling the tasks described in art. 61 below.

            A second group, under the leadership of the same delegate of the Prior General, shall have the task of organising, at regular intervals, courses for ongoing formation which shall be open to all the members of the Order and of the Carmelite Family.[186]

            Provinces of the same country or of the same region are always to be encouraged to undertake joined initiatives in the areas of initial and ongoing formation. Today, perhaps the most necessary initiative is to open up formation programmes to Carmelites for other provinces, thus encouraging exchanges, a possible international approach and a better use of existing resources. Naturally, this must not be a way of avoiding responsibility for one’s own candidates.

61.       The Prior General and his Delegate

The general direction and guidance of all that pertains to formation within the entire Order is the prerogative of the Prior General.[187] The Prior General shall fulfil this task primarily by paying special attention to formation during his visits to Provinces. It shall be his task and that of his Council to approve the Ratio Institutionis Vitæ Carmelitanæ and to convene, at least once during each six-year term, a meeting of all the formators of the Order, to revise and update the RIVC.188

            To assist the Prior General in his ministry in the area of formation, the General Council shall assign this area of responsibility to one of its members.189 If necessary, the Prior General may appoint a delegate who is not a member of the Council.190

            The General Councillor or delegate shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

• to direct formation in the Order, promoting the implementation of the Ratio Institutionis Vitæ Carmelitanæ throughout the Order;

• to be familiar with and to monitor formation programmes in all the Provinces;

• to promote discussions among Provinces on the subject of initial formation, and to facilitate    exchanges of formators and of candidates;

• to develop and organise a training programme for formators;

• to give special attention to the needs of formation in emerging areas;

• to convene and preside over the international commission on formation.

62.       The Prior Provincial and his delegate

            The general direction and guidance of all that pertains to formation in a Province is the prerogative of the Prior Provincial or his delegate,191whom he shall normally appoint from among the members of his council. The Prior Provincial and his council shall be directly involved in initial formation - not only in decisions concerning the admission of individual candidates to the various stages of the formation programme, but also through visitations, meetings, briefings and evaluations, which they shall undertake on a regular basis, together with the formation commission.192 The Prior Provincial shall choose formators with the greatest care, and he shall share in the burden of the formators' delicate task by encouraging them, supporting them, and being mindful of their general state of health.193

            The Major Superiors' responsibility for the formation of their brothers does not end at the moment of solemn profession or of ordination to ministry. Formation must be a lifelong process, and superiors have the responsibility of providing for ongoing human, spiritual, theological and pastoral formation. They shall take a personal interest in each one of the brothers, and promote opportunities for formation.

P A R T   T W O


63.       A lifelong journey

            The stages of initial formation are an initiation into the Carmelite way of life; they are intended to be the gradual and progressive beginning of a journey of transformation which is to last a lifetime.

             The initial stages of the process should therefore be seen in the context of ongoing formation,194 which is a commitment to conversion of the heart and to spiritual transformation tending towards full maturity in Jesus Christ.195

64.       The stages of formation

            Initial formation consists of the following stages: pre-novitiate, novitiate and the period of simple profession.

            Each stage is part of a series of successive levels of development and deeper growth; it is a continuation of the preceding stage, but it is also characterised by its own particular features, derived from its specific objectives.

            The vocations ministry, while not formally one of the stages of formation, is nevertheless included because it prepares the ground for the following stages. It allows individuals to discover God's call and to respond by entering the Order.



A. Objectives and description

65.       The nature and purpose of the vocations ministry

            The calling to religious life in the Carmelite Order, like every vocation, is God's gift; in practical terms, however, it is recognised through various human mediations. Vocations are usually born through contact with one of our religious, with our lifestyle or with one of our activities, or, occasionally, simply through exposure to our classic spiritual writings.

            Our love for the Spirit's gift of Carmel to the Church moves us to share it with others. We must therefore be attentive to the signs of the Carmelite charism in others and have the courage to put before them a specific proposal.

            The main objective of the vocations ministry is to help others discover the gift which they carry within themselves, and respond to it by choosing the particular lifestyle which corresponds to it. The function of the ministry is, therefore, to accompany individuals on their journey of spiritual growth and to assist them in the task of discernment.

B. Persons responsible for the vocations ministry

66.       Communities and Provinces

            As Carmelites, we mediate the Lord's call by living and witnessing to the values of our charism, and by sharing the joys and the difficulties of our lifestyle. Not only the person in charge of promoting vocations and the members of the host community, but every community and every member, shall strive to awaken vocations, by the enthusiasm with which they live their own lives and by introducing others to the values of our tradition and of our charism.

            Each provincial vocations promoter has an assistant in each community.

            The Prior Provincial shall ensure that vocations are a priority in the Province's plan. He shall ensure that a specific programme for the promotion of vocations is developed, implemented and monitored in his Province.

67.       The vocations promoter

            In each Province there shall be one person responsible for promoting vocations. He shall have the following responsibilities:

a) to encourage communities to develop the vocational dimension of their lives and of their various forms of service, so as to promote vocations;

b) to promote and coordinate vocational initiatives together with local assistants - involving, in particular, Carmelites who are in initial formation;

c) to discern the signs of a vocation in others, and to invite them to join the Order;

d) to accompany individuals on the journey of vocational growth196;

e) to liaise with diocesan and national agencies responsible for the promotion of vocations197.

C. Structure and content

68.       The vocational path

            Invitations to the Carmelite life may be made to individuals who are searching and trying to give meaning to their lives. To such individuals we offer the person of Jesus, his word and his lifestyle. Involvement in the life of the Church - through parishes, groups, movements and work experience - can help these individuals to evaluate their own progress and their growth in maturity, both in human and in Christian terms. Participation in the sacraments, prayer and spiritual direction are all necessary for authentic discernment of a vocation. The discovery of and introduction to Carmel and its values can attract individuals and motivate them to respond positively and concretely to the Lord's call.

69.       Methodology, means and instruments

                        a) It is for communities to develop their Carmelite character, making it recognisable and attractive. They can then say "Come and see!" to individuals who are asking questions or searching; they can invite them to experience concretely the Carmelite way of life for a more or less extended period of time. Thus communities become the environment in which individuals can begin the process of decision-making, as they recognise in themselves attitudes and values which are typical of our charism.

                        b) Each Province may assign this ministry of vocational reception to one particular community. Under the leadership of the provincial vocations promoter, such communities shall organise projects, gatherings and events designed to promote the proposal, the accompaniment and the discernment of vocations.198

            In some provinces, this task may be entrusted, at least in part, to minor seminaries or to various associations which may encourage individuals to join the Order.

                        c) The vocational dimension, like the capacity to generate, is intrinsic to our lives; we must therefore make it visible in all that we do. Parishes must promote their Carmelite character; pilgrimage centres and  places of devotion must be sources of spiritual life inspired and enlivened by Carmelite values; schools and colleges must not forget that part of their educational mission is to help their students in their vocational orientation. Even in those activities which we undertake individually, we must be mindful of communicating the fact that we are Carmelites.

            Certain means are particularly suited to the promotion of vocations: assistance with spiritual growth, and especially spiritual direction, to which every religious shall give adequate time; the spread of Carmelite publications, books and audio-visual materials; the Internet; and so on.

            d) The vocations promoter shall accompany individuals who are searching, through regular meetings and conversations, encouraging them to take time for reflection and discernment with other candidates.

            e) What we say to those who show interest in joining the Order must set out all the possible options for life and involvement within the Carmelite Family.

D. Criteria for discernment

70.       Discernment of vocations

            To be admitted to the pre-novitiate, candidates must show signs of a certain degree of human maturity, a living relationship with Jesus as Lord of their lives, a definite ecclesial and social awareness, and a Carmelite vocation. The evaluation of these signs shall be made by the vocations promoter, or by the person who has accompanied the candidate on the journey, in dialogue with the vocations promoter.

            It is important that the person responsible for this evaluation should know the candidate through contacts with his family, his neighbourhood, his parish, and the movements or associations which have had a formative role in his life. In cases where candidates have had previous experience in diocesan seminaries or other religious institutes, information and letters of recommendation shall be obtained from those responsible for their previous formation.199



A. Objectives and description

71.       The nature and purpose of the pre-novitiate

            The pre-novitiate is intended to prepare candidates for entry into the novitiate, where their journey of Carmelite religious life will begin200.

            Pre-novices deepen their faith and learn to own it more personally, so that they can listen to the voice of Jesus, who calls them to follow him.

            They deepen their knowledge of themselves, of their personal and social history, of their backgrounds, and of their Christian communities. This first experience of communal life provides them with an opportunity to test their ability to live with others.

            Their first awareness of their own Carmelite vocation is tested against the first stages of knowledge and experience of Carmelite values, charism and spirituality. Through this encounter, and through the general discernment of their vocations, pre-novices are enabled to make an initial, tentative response, and to ask to be admitted to the novitiate.

B. Persons responsible for the pre-novitiate

72.       Pre-novices

            Individuals who ask to begin the journey of Carmelite formation feel themselves to be called by God and wish to respond affirmatively. They must be willing and able to take the steps and make the choices proposed by the vocational and formative process. To this end, they must be willing to entrust themselves to the guidance of those responsible for the process; to the host community or the community with which they are in contact; and to the companions the Lord will give them to journey along side them. Above all, they must learn to become disciples of the Lord, who invites them to follow him in concrete and visible ways.

            Pre-novices must be able to accept the demanding challenges of the formative process, and to choose to follow, freely and responsibly, their Carmelite vocation, for which they feel sufficiently mature.

73.       Formators

            Formators are the pre-novice's most direct points of reference. Formators help pre-novices to discern and to recognise the hidden inner signs of a calling to Carmelite life, so that they may follow Christ in a personal way. Formators act as links between pre-novices and communities; they make communities visible and intelligible to new candidates.

            Formators accompany pre-novices in their human and Christian growth, helping them to discover within themselves the values and possibilities which will make them able and sufficiently mature to live the Carmelite life. In those cases where they recognise the absence of such values and possibilities, formators must know how to direct their brothers towards paths which are better suited to them.

74.       Communities

            During this stage, the function of host communities is to help pre-novices to experience for the first time the values which characterise our Carmelite fraternity. To this end, they must be flexible rather than rigid, welcoming rather than oppressive or intrusive. At this stage, there must still be a distinction between the life of the community and that of the pre-novices. The example that the community members give to the pre-novices in their daily life is of fundamental importance.

75.       Formation commissions

            To guarantee a unified approach to the journey of formation, communication among formators is important.

            Dialogue with vocations promoters will assist formators in accompanying pre-novices and in completing the discernment of their vocations. In the same way, discussions with the novice directors will help them in their task of guiding pre-novices. Pre-novices should be brought into contact with the novice director and, if possible, with the house where the novitiate takes place.

76.       The Prior Provincial

            It is the prerogative of major superiors, or their delegates, to admit candidates to the pre-novitiate, after hearing the views of those in charge of the pre-novitiate. It is also their duty to provide the appropriate environment and the necessary resources and formative opportunities for the proper unfolding of the pre-novitiate.201

77.       Other participants

            During the pre-novitiate, the presence of a spiritual director, chosen in consultation with the formator, is essential. The spiritual director contributes to the process of discernment and accompanies pre-novices on their spiritual paths.

            The input of a psychologist/counsellor to facilitate the development of self-knowledge and the discovery of capabilities, possibilities, talents, inconsistencies and weaknesses is also recommended.

            It is also desirable that the pre-novitiate programme should include some input from experts and from lay and religious collaborators.

C. Structure and content

78.       The pre-novitiate journey

            For young people who are beginning to discover Carmelite life, the pre-novitiate is primarily a time of human and Christian growth. They need to become fully aware of their identities, of their gifts and of their weaknesses; they must open their eyes and look at the human environment in which they live, with its particular social and cultural realities, and enter into relationship with it; they need to grow in the area of interpersonal relationships.

            Older people, on the other hand, enter the pre-novitiate with a certain experience of life, and we must keep in mind that their accumulated human, Christian and professional experience must be valued and utilised. Rather than simply encouraging human growth and maturity in the narrowest sense, we must help them to restructure their value system in preparation for the new lifestyle they are choosing. Those who were accustomed to living alone will need special help to become integrated into a community. They will need to work on their acquired personality traits, enhancing the positive aspects and identifying weaknesses. Professional skills and capacities for initiative, cooperation and involvement in projects must be taken into account.

            All pre-novices must deepen their journeys of faith, growing in a relationship with God which is ever more authentic and personal, and developing an ecclesial consciousness. They must acquire the appropriate basic information and the necessary experience to support the choice they are preparing to make.

            Each Province shall organise its pre-novitiate in whatever way seems most appropriate and responsive to local needs.202 The duration of the pre-novitiate will depend on the individual's growth and maturity.

79.       Methodology, means and instruments

            a) Pre-novices are not yet consecrated religious. They must therefore be introduced to the Carmelite experience, and to communal living, gradually. In addition, practical and financial arrangements shall be made, according to individual circumstances, by means of an agreement to be signed by each candidate before admission.203

            b) Formators shall have regular meetings with each candidate. During such meetings, they shall assist candidates  to reflect on their personal experience and, through this reflection, to understand themselves and their fundamental choices, to estimate their strength in regard to God's calling, and to reflect on the possibility of living out this calling in a free, objective and personal way.

            c) Special attention shall be given to the candidates' participation in a healthy sacramental and liturgical life and to their attention to personal prayer.

            d) Integration into the life of the community, with the particular events and activities which characterise it, shall be attempted gradually, thus giving candidates a chance to become familiar with the life to which they feel called from within, in all its concreteness and with its particular demands.

            e) Dialogue and meetings with other pre-novices promote exchanges of experience, contributing to the development of bonds which will grow in the future; they help to clarify the choices each pre-novice is making, as well as providing opportunities for a first exercise in fraternity.

            f) During the pre-novitiate, special times shall be set aside for the experience of service, both within and outside the community; preferably, these shall be services of an ecclesial or social nature.

            g) Candidates must acquire a basic level of education and general knowledge corresponding to that of individuals who have completed the normal level of schooling in the candidate's own country of origin204. In cases where candidates have not completed this level of basic education before entering the pre-novitiate, it is necessary to ensure that they complete it within this phase of their formation, before being admitted into the novitiate.

            h) The prescribed content of the Programme of Carmelite Studies shall be presented at the appropriate times and according to the established schedule. These courses may be organised and managed in cooperation with other Institutes.205

            i) From the beginning, efforts shall be made to develop in candidates a healthy balance between the various dimensions of life - prayer, fraternal life, work, study, service, free time, and health and exercise.

D. Criteria for discernment

80.       Discernment

            The pre-novitiate is by definition a time of discernment. Candidates examine their own vocations against the experience proposed by their formators and by the Carmelite communities. Retreats and spiritual exercises help to create the right climate for an evaluation of the call.

            During the pre-novitiate - and with particular attention and clarity at the time of the evaluation for admission into the novitiate - the formators, having heard the views of the community, shall involve the candidate in the evaluation, applying the criteria defined below, in addition to those indicated in canon law206 , in the Constitutions207 and in the Appendix.

            The first questions we ask are whether the candidate shows the signs of a vocation to Carmelite life, and whether he appears to have the human and Christian qualities required to live this life.208 It is important to be very clear from the beginning: if signs of a non-authentic or misdirected vocation are noticed, we must direct the candidate to his proper path; if, on the other hand, what we note is a premature response to God's call, it is important to give it time to grow.

            Pre-novices are free to leave the pre-novitiate at any time, and the major superior is free, in consultation with the formator, to send them away at any time.



A. Objectives and description

81.       Nature and purpose of the novitiate

            The purpose of the novitiate is to initiate candidates gradually into life in the Spirit according to the Carmelite charism, with a view to a first commitment through simple profession. Religious life in the Carmelite Order begins in the novitiate.209

            The novice's initiation involves growth in Christian maturity. This is growth in depth, in that the novice's experience is firmly anchored in the mystery of God. It is growth in scope, in that novices do not limit themselves to devotion or formal worship, but are encouraged to develop a contemplative attitude and are invited to strengthen their vocation, their apostolic zeal, their faith, their hope and their charity.

            Throughout this process, comparisons, controls, and purification of motives and of personal perspectives on life are important so that novices may learn to ground their existence in God.

            Novices therefore need time and space to clarify their vocation and to confirm their ability to live the religious life in the Carmelite way. This implies a process of identification with our way of life, and it is effected in a concrete community of brothers engaged in prayer and in service, rather than through indoctrination and communication of concepts. The actual experience of a new way of life on a daily basis is intended to lead to a first decision to choose the Order.

B. Persons responsible for the novitiate

82.       The novices

            The principal responsibility for formation lies with the novices themselves: in responding to the Father, who calls them to follow Christ in the Carmelite way of life, they receive his Word and choose to model their lives on his and to live in discipleship. Thus the fundamental quality of a novice is docility to the motions of the Spirit. In dialogue with their formators and with the community, novices shall allow themselves to be guided and accompanied in the daily experience of Carmelite life. They shall develop their capacity for discipleship by learning, day by day, to attune their lives to the Word, as Mary did. Novices shall gradually deepen the contemplative dimension within themselves, growing in their personal relationships with God through prayer and attentive listening to the Word. They shall set out decisively on the path of internal transformation which will lead them to walk every day in God's presence, to recognise him in their brothers, to see people and things with his eyes, and to proclaim him among the people.

83.       The novice director

            The responsibility for accompanying novices rests primarily with the formator, who is appointed by the Prior Provincial with his Council. 210 The personality, the formation and the personal qualities of the formator are important factors in the novices' journey. In view of the importance of this service, formators shall dedicate themselves primarily to their work in the novitiate. For the novices, the formator does not only communicate knowledge; he is above all the one who accompanies them and helps them, by the way he lives, to clarify their own vocation and to come to a decision. Formators accompany novices along the path of inner transformation, helping them to discern the signs of the action of the Spirit in their lives, and to acquire and develop a contemplative attitude.

            Formators are the novices' primary points of reference with regard to their personal journeys, their daily lives in the novitiate community, and their reflection on their experience as novices.

            Every three months, formators shall report to the members of the community on the situation in the novitiate and on the progress of each novice, and shall hear their comments and suggestions.

84.       The community

            The novitiate is a particular period in religious life; nevertheless, it must be lived in the ordinary daily context of a community. Only in this way will novices gain a realistic impression of how brothers live together in a Carmelite community. They will also have an opportunity to observe their own behaviour in community, and to reflect on it. This experience is particularly important for novices who until entering lived alone.

            Jointly, the brothers in a novitiate community have a serious responsibility as regards the witness they bear, the example they give, the atmosphere of the house and the success of the novitiate.211 Such co-responsibility - which is exercised in a special way at the periodic briefings concerning the progress of the novitiate, and at the time of the evaluation of novices - shall be taken into account when assigning members to the community.

85.       The formation commission

            To ensure continuity within the formation process, there must be ongoing communication among the members of the provincial commission for formation. While formators remain responsible for the novitiate year at all times, these exchanges can be helpful to them in resolving difficult or problematic situations.

86.       The Prior Provincial and his council

            The provincial government is co-responsible for the accompaniment of novices. This responsibility is not limited to legal matters; 212 it concerns the entire process of formation and personal development of the novices. For this reason, the provincial government -  always taking into account the principle of subsidiarity - shall organise visitations and meetings with the novices, the formators and the members of the novitiate community.

            The Prior Provincial and his council are also responsible for providing the proper conditions, including financial support, to ensure the good functioning of the novitiate community. The Province must train and make available the necessary personnel, provide the appropriate means, and monitor their functioning.

87.       Other participants

            Each novice, in consultation with the formator, shall select an appropriate spiritual director.

            Formators may enrich the formation they offer by requesting the cooperation of lay and religious experts, bearing in mind that there may also be cooperative projects undertaken in conjunction with other Institutes213.

C.  Structure and content

88.       The novice's journey

            In the novitiate, novices begin to know Carmelite life, its values and its concrete expression. The community, in turn, begins to know the novices - their personalities, their potential and their capabilities.

            During the novitiate, ample time and space shall be given to the presentation of the charism, the models, the tradition, the history and the present life of the Order. Novices shall learn to respect the values of Carmel and to make them their own, gradually identifying with them. They shall have the opportunity to take their first steps in following Christ according to the evangelical counsels, and to test their real capacity to live according to these counsels.

            It is important to help the novices to express these values concretely, in attitudes and in a lifestyle which will allow God to gradually bring about their transformation. Novices need to realise that their primary goal, beyond the profession which they will make at the end of the year of novitiate, is a constant commitment to conversion, which is to last throughout their lives and open them to the possibility of a transformative union with God so that they may bear witness coherently to his presence in the world.

            To be valid, the novitiate must last twelve months.214 It may be extended, but not beyond two years.215

89.       Methodology, means and instruments

            a) The novitiate is neither a continuation nor a new kind of school; it is a process in which theory and praxis interact, each shedding light on the other.

            The organisation of the novitiate shall depend, to a large extent, on who the novices are and on what they bring to the process.216 Thus, theoretical knowledge, practice of Carmelite life, activities and opportunities for practical experience must be viewed as parts of a unified process. To promote responsible behaviour, it is useful to involve the novices in the development of the programme for the novitiate and of the community's activities. The capabilities and personal interests of the novices must be taken into account.

            b) The novitiate is an ongoing dialogue between the Order's vision of itself and the novice's capacity to make a free decision based on his experience of God, of himself and of the community.         Periodically, the relationship between these two realities needs to be re-examined:

            - in the context of certain moments of community life in which novices participate and in which they begin to concretely experience Carmelite life: the eucharistic liturgy and the liturgy of the hours, lectio divina, community meetings, joint work, recreational activities, and so forth;

            - in the context of personal prayer and spiritual reading, for which novices shall set aside significant amounts of time;

            - in the context of retreat days and spiritual exercises;

            - in the context of regularly scheduled conversations with the novice master, during which novices shall discuss their vocation, their motives, their current state, and their expectations and future plans, as well as their weaknesses and their strengths. In order to establish a genuine relationship between daily life and the values of our charism, it is necessary to discuss with the novices their concrete experience of daily life and their behaviour in specific situations. Novices also need to be helped and accompanied in dealing with their new situation as Carmelites living in community. It is important to provide support in difficult situations and to encourage openness in times of crisis. At certain times it may be important for novices to have access to specialists and to a spiritual director.

            c) The themes suggested and described in detail in the Programme of Carmelite Studies for the novitiate shall be adapted by the provincial formation programme in accordance with the needs of particular cultural situations, and shall be presented in the ways and at the times that are best suited to the personal circumstances of the novices.

            d) The establishment of a joint novitiate may be advisable in view of the particular situation of a given Province, or of the existence of a common language in two or more Provinces. The organisation, the personal and legal issues involved, and the forms of communication shall be agreed beforehand by the provincial superiors concerned.

            e) In order to enrich the experience of the novices, cooperation and exchanges with the novitiates of other Institutes are recommended.  These meetings with male and female religious will broaden their horizons, develop communication and, through comparisons, contribute to the growth of a Carmelite identity.217

            f) Novice directors shall take part in meetings of formators organised at the diocesan, national and international levels to discuss issues concerning ongoing formation and exchanges.218

D. Criteria for discernment

90.       Discernment

            At regular intervals, formators shall meet with novices to evaluate their progress, possibly in writing. This will help to identify both positive and negative points, as well as possibilities for further growth.

            As regards the evaluation with a view to admission to simple profession,  the fundamental questions - keeping in mind the suggestions included in the Appendix - are whether the novice has come to know the Carmelite charism, whether he recognises it in himself, whether he has experienced it and whether he has begun to identify with the Province and with the Order.

            Moreover, we must ask whether he has reached a sufficient degree of maturity - both human and spiritual - to live the Carmelite consecrated life with sufficient fidelity, and whether there is sufficient reason to hope that he will grow in the contemplative path in a community of brothers in the service of the Church.

91.       Procedure

            Each novice shall submit to the major superior a written request for admission to simple profession; the provincial formation programme shall determine how long before the end of the novitiate this shall take place. The major superior, after examining the novice master's report and hearing the local chapter, shall decide on the matter with a deliberative vote from his council. Full procedures and requirements for admission to simple profession can be found in the code of canon law and in the Constitutions.219



A. Objectives and description

92.       Nature and purpose of the period of simple profession

            Through simple (temporary) profession, novices come to participate in "the consecration proper to the state of religious"220, are incorporated into the Carmelite Order221 and participate in its life and mission to the extent of their capabilities. The temporary nature of this commitment guarantees the gradual progression of the journey of formation.

            During this period, the professed continue to develop the contemplative dimension according to the style that is proper to Carmel. The brothers deepen their dialogue with God in personal prayer and by participating in the liturgy and listening to the Word; integration into a community encourages them to live a fraternal life in a concrete and responsible way; through their first experiences of service and apostolate, they learn to share the experience of God with their brothers.

            Formation within the community shall be complemented by studies in theology, humanities and sciences and by practical experience and service, all of which are necessary to complete the process. Usually, during this period, novices shall also receive training in various aspects of service; this is discussed in the following chapter.

            B.  Persons responsible for the period of simple profession

93.       The simply professed

            The story of each vocation continues along the path set by the candidate's daily response to God's call. He listens to the voice of the Father who speaks to him; he recognises God present and active in his own life and in that of his brothers; he deepens and intensifies his experience of following Christ; and he lets himself be guided by the Holy Spirit along the path of inner transformation.

            An authentic and true journey of formation requires the following attitudes from the novice: openness both to his brothers within the community and to his brothers and sisters outside; willingness to share in their joys, their hopes, their sorrows, their expectations and their needs; and participation in the journey of holiness and purification of the Church, as well as in the Church's mission.

94.       Formators

            It is the specific task of formators in this stage to help the novices to deepen their awareness of their Carmelite vocation, so that their following of Jesus Christ may be expressed concretely in the various dimensions of personal and communal life. Formators accompany them and guide them, helping them to identify specific areas which require deepening, and experiential paths which require exploration, in various important disciplines - human, spiritual, Carmelite, technical, intellectual or service-related.

            Formators are also responsible for the candidates' studies; they assist novices on their journey of cultural, professional and theological formation, suggesting choices which correspond to the candidates' personal inclinations and are in harmony with the orientation of the Province and of the Order.

95.       The community

            The simply professed journey together with the religious community to which they belong. The community receives them with all their uncertainties and all their potential. The other members of the community gradually make themselves known to the newly professed, and help them to become integrated into the rhythm of communal life and service. For their part, the simply professed bring with them new ideas and new energies, which the community must value and utilise.

            Formators shall inform the community of the novices' progress at regular intervals, and shall listen to their suggestions and comments.

            When the time comes for the candidates' admission to solemn profession, the Prior Provincial shall call on the community to express their views.

96.       The formation commission

            In order to ensure continuity throughout the process of formation, communication with those in charge of the other stages of formation is necessary. This helps the formators to know the candidates and to accompany them through difficult and critical times towards the goal of solemn profession.

97.       The Prior Provincial and his council

            The Prior Provincial shall take care to know the simply professed, in preparation for periodic evaluations in view of the renewal of temporary vows, and for the final review before admission to solemn profession - at which time he must decide, with the consent of his Council, whether to admit these candidates.222 He shall be assisted in this by the formators' periodic reports.

98.       Other participants

            The simply professed are active participants in the ecclesial community; in dialogue with the rest of the people of God, they discover their specific charismatic and missionary characteristics. Formators may be assisted by experts and specialists, who shall make their own particular contributions to the human and spiritual development of the professed. Possibilities of cooperation with other religious Institutes shall be considered.223

            Spiritual directors, chosen with the consent of the formators, help to accompany the candidates on God's paths, so that these paths may be recognised jointly by means of discernment, in order that the inner life and the external life of each candidate may increasingly be in harmony.224

            When it seems necessary, the support of a psychological counsellor shall be offered, to assist individuals to know themselves better, overcome and integrate conflicts within themselves, deal with the demands of their new state in life, and mature in their interpersonal relationships.

C. Structure and content

99.       The journey beyond simple profession

            The period of simple profession must provide the candidates with opportunities to deepen their knowledge and experience of the essential values of Carmelite life. Candidates shall be helped to gradually own religious life - and, consequently, consecration, the vows, fraternal life, and the life of service - according to the vision offered by the Carmelite charism and by the lived spirituality of the Carmelites who came before them.225

            During this period, the simply professed shall continue to focus on the vitally important areas of human development, spirituality, Carmelite studies, practical and academic studies, and  service-related subjects. It is important that candidates should understand the intrinsic unity of these areas of concentration, and that, as they mature, they should progressively and gradually integrate them.226 Growth in contemplation fosters such integration. It is essential to form candidates to fidelity, generosity and self-giving, which help us to deal with and overcome moments of crisis.

            For a solemn profession to be valid, the candidate must have completed at least three years of temporary profession.227

100.     Methodology, means and instruments

            a) The simply professed shall be involved in the development of their formation programme, and shall begin to assume responsibilities within the group and within the community.

            b) Liturgical life, personal prayer, annual spiritual exercises and days of retreat shall nourish the spiritual life of the professed and contribute to their growth in the contemplative dimension, which enables us to recognise God's ways, even on the crooked paths of human history, in life's contradictions and inconsistencies as much as in its beauty.

            c) Integration into community life will contribute to the candidates' growth; it will make human and fraternal relations more concrete and real; and, where necessary, it will enable candidates to attain maturity in relationships, and to acquire the capacity to make decisions and to assume responsibilities.

            d) This is the appropriate time for more specific experiences of apostolate, proclamation and involvement in issues of justice and peace.228 These experiences shall be chosen and undertaken in agreement with the formator, so that there may be joint reviews and evaluations. Preference should be given to those sectors of evangelisation closest to the Carmelite spirituality and charism. An area which is frequently appropriate for the simply professed is that of promoting vocations. Through this, the simply professed will remain in contact with the social environment in which they work, dialoguing with the people, learning about their problems and circumstances, and walking with them.

            e) Through regularly scheduled meetings with their formators, and assisted by appropriate experiences and input, the professed continue to grow in self-knowledge. They learn to recognise their own potential and capabilities, and to deal with and integrate possible conflicts; they learn to re-appropriate and in time to reconcile themselves with their own history. They grow in the serene and positive integration of their emotions and their sexuality into their spiritual lives; they develop the capacity to build mature relationships and to live and work with others. The spiritual journey helps them to purify their image of God. In addition, they shall review their journey of appropriation of the religious life according to the Carmelite charism, their gradual unification of the various dimensions of life, and their preparation for future tasks.

            f) Every Carmelite should have, according to his capabilities, at least a basic knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and of theology, and the central issues of spirituality and religious life.229 All Carmelites must be able to develop the gifts and aptitudes which they have received from the Lord. Technical, artistic and musical talents are gifts to the community, as well as effective means of evangelisation. All candidates shall receive a formation which is appropriate to the service or activity for which they are preparing. Those who are called to the ordained ministry shall receive appropriate preparation in the areas of philosophy and theology. The specific content of this preparation is described in the Programme of Carmelite Studies.

            g) Candidates shall have the opportunity to learn practical housekeeping skills and the necessary skills for the maintenance and upkeep of buildings and equipment. An understanding of the finances and management of the community and of the Province will contribute to responsible and active participation in community life.

D. Criteria for discernment

101.     Periodic and final evaluations

            The simply professed shall review their progress with their formators once a year; this review shall be communicated to the community and to the Prior Provincial.

            At the appropriate time, before the end of the three-year period of simple profession, each candidate - having completed the process of discernment with his formator - shall decide whether to submit to the Prior Provincial a request for admission to solemn profession230 or a request to renew the simple profession231. Such renewals are authorised for up to six years, and extensions may be allowed in special cases; however, the total period of simple profession shall not exceed nine years.232

            The major superior, with a deliberative vote of his council and a consultative vote of the chapter of the candidate's community, shall decide whether or not to admit the candidate to solemn profession.233 Details concerning the relevant conditions and requirements may be found in the code of canon law and in the Constitutions.234

102.     Discernment with a view to solemn profession

            The central questions to be addressed are whether the simply professed can prudently commit himself to live forever in the Order, and whether the Order is prepared to accept him.

            These are vital, fundamental and definitive questions. Therefore, the report which is presented to the candidate must be precise, detailed, realistic and honest. His strengths and weaknesses must be pointed out clearly, and the ways in which the religious dealt with and accepted them must be reported. The suggestions included in the Appendix should be kept in mind.

            It is useful to refer to reports submitted at the end of previous stages of formation, and to indicate progress, possibilities, limitations which have been confirmed or which have since emerged, and areas of growth.

103.     Preparing for solemn profession

            While preparation for solemn profession begins in the novitiate, preparation for the final step shall be intensified towards the end of the period of temporary profession. The candidate must be fully aware of the seriousness of this act and of the definitive nature of his consecration to the Lord and incardination into the Order. Naturally, candidates must be reminded of the continuous nature of religious life and the need for ongoing formation.

            For at least one month before solemn profession235, the simply professed shall prepare with prayer and with reflection on specific themes of Carmelite religious life. This period shall be organised by one or more persons who will monitor the candidates and accompany them in their reflection and in the process of evaluation. Relevant themes and methods are indicated in the Programme of Carmelite Studies.

            This month of specific preparation may be organised at the national level, at the regional level or even at the level of the entire Order.



A. Objectives and description

104.     Called to serve

            Service is an integral part of our charism.236 Based on the Carmelite way of understanding and living contemplation, we are open to every kind of service, apostolate or profession. However, because "we Carmelites must fulfil our mission among the people first and foremost through the richness of our contemplative life"237, we tend towards services which are more clearly spiritual. Thus, in whatever work we do, we are especially mindful of the spiritual journeys of those around us. Above all, our constant effort to live our contemplative charism is not only the source of our service238, but is in itself the best service we can offer, because it is the essence of the mission we have received from God.239

            While the Carmelite charism makes us one religious family, personal charisms enrich it, expressing its multifaceted beauty. They build up the community and define - always with due regard for the needs of the Province and of the Order - the particular service which each member is called to undertake. These charisms include the charisms of the ordained ministries; those who are called and accepted by the Church and by the Order shall be ordained to the diaconate and/or to the priesthood.

            The charisms, in all of their diversity, are essentially equal: "There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of services to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them..."240 This vision supersedes every unjustified distinction among us, in accordance with the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, which stressed that "there remains a true equality between all with regard to the dignity and to the activity which is common to all the faithful in the building up of the body of Christ."241 This echoes and highlights the seriousness of our understanding of fraternity: "For us, to be brothers means to grow in communion and in unity, overcoming privileges and distinctions."242 Each brother has his particular place and his special role in the Order and in the Church, to contribute to the spread of the Kingdom of God.

105. The nature and purpose of formation to service

            Formation to service is, rather than a stage of the formative process, a dimension which permeates all the stages. Thus, forming a candidate to service means helping him to become aware of his personal calling and of the ways in which it coincides with the Carmelite vocation, so as to avoid any dichotomy between the individual's particular service and his spiritual and fraternal life. This is in response to the modern temptation to make an idol of individual work, or to use it as compensation for other, unfulfilled human needs. Formation to service also encourages us to respond with authenticity and willingness to the Lord, who calls us to be servants to one another and sends us to evangelise through our lifestyle and through specific forms of service.

            Candidates shall be formed to assume, responsibly and competently, the services to which they are called, and to develop the particular spiritual characteristics proper to the specific service. We must also keep in mind those services which need to be performed within the community, such as those of bursar, librarian, porter, sacristan, cook, and so on. It is also important to watch for aptitudes for leadership and formation, in order to channel suitable candidates towards these ministeries and help them to develop these capabilities, which in due course may be made available to the community.

            Formation to service shall take place gradually throughout the various stages of formation. However, such preparation will usually be intensified during the period of simple profession and the period immediately following solemn profession.

            It is important to take into account the age, expectations and capabilities of each candidate. Older candidates require different approaches to formation than young people who have just left school.

B. Persons responsible for formation to service

106.     The candidates

            Candidates who are undergoing the process of clarification of their personal vocations discover that they are also called to service, and begin to respond by preparing themselves appropriately through prayer, study and experience, learning from the very beginning to live out the Carmelite charism and service in unity - as two dimensions of a single vocation.243

107.     The community

            All forms of service are performed within the community, on behalf of the community and for the good of the community. From the very beginning of initial formation, we must develop in candidates the capacity for teamwork and the conviction that the work of evangelisation is first and foremost a community effort, rather than an individual undertaking. Individual candidates shall be helped to discern which services they are to offer, in dialogue with the community and in harmony with its life. The community as a whole shall also undertake the evaluation of work that has been accomplished. Our contemplative and fraternal life shall determine the timing, the manner and the scale of our service - not vice versa.244

108.     The formator

            Formators shall help candidates to discover the dimension of service, accompanying them in the recognition and development of their gifts through pertinent experiences, and encouraging specialised training for various types of service. In addition, formators shall evaluate, together with the candidates, their attitudes, qualities and gifts, with a view to helping them discern whether they are called to the ordained ministry.

            Formators shall take care to foster in candidates the integration of the service dimension into the one Carmelite vocation. They shall also help candidates to grow in their capacity to work with others, and to feel that they are part of every aspect of the community, including that of service.

            In this, as in their other tasks, formators are assisted by the Provincial Formation Commission.

109.     The Prior Provincial  

            The Prior Provincial shall monitor the process of formation to service, about which he shall receive reports from the formators at regular intervals. The Prior Provincial shall also see that candidates to the ordained ministries receive the necessary academic and pastoral preparation, as required by canon law.245

            In his capacity as Ordinary, the Prior Provincial is responsible both for admitting candidates to the formative process with a view to the ordained ministries, and for admitting individuals to each instituted or ordained ministry, after ascertaining that the necessary requirements are met.246 It is the prerogative of the Prior Provincial to confer the ministries of lector and acolyte, 247 and to provide dimissory letters for those who are to be ordained to the diaconate or to the priesthood248

110.     Other participants

            A spiritual director, chosen in agreement with the formator, shall, in particular, assist candidates to unify the various dimensions of Carmelite life, to find the proper balance among them, and to grow in those spiritual attitudes which are necessary to service.

            Professors of theology and other instructors play an important role during this phase, through their input towards the growth and maturation of each candidate.249

            Families, Christian communities, parish and base communities, and groups and movements in which religious are active all contribute to their growth; these groups help them to engage with the reality of the human network in which they live and function, and to learn to walk together with their brothers and sisters, as witnesses, servants and spiritual guides.250

C. Structure and content

111.     The process of formation to service

            The process of configuration to Christ, to which the Carmelite is already committed by his vocation, is in itself the best preparation for service.

            Each candidate must receive the theoretical knowledge and the practical skills which he requires in order to perform his particular service in close correlation with Carmelite life and spirituality. The guidelines of the universal church251 and of the episcopal conferences concerning studies and pastoral preparation shall be taken into account for candidates who are preparing to become lectors, acolytes, deacons or ordained priests.

112.     Methodology, means and instruments

            a) Each Carmelite shall be conferred with the ministry, or entrusted with the service, which most closely corresponds to his personal vocation as revealed in the process of discernment described above. However, care must be taken not to diminish the dignity of the religious vocation, which has intrinsic value in the Church, beyond its relationship to any ministry or service.

            b) During the stages of initial formation, and in particular during the period following solemn profession, candidates shall be involved in collaborative projects in various areas of service and in the apostolate. Working with others in these areas increases the sense of communion and cooperation to which candidates must be formed.

            c) All Carmelites, and in particular those who are called to the ordained priesthood or to the diaconate, must be formed to the sense of ecclesial communion, so that they may serve in communion with the local Church, bringing it the richness of their own charism and the Church's call to universality.252

            d) For candidates who are preparing for the ordained ministries, the ministries of lector and of acolyte have pedagogical value253: they help candidates to develop a sense of ecclesiology, of communion and of the sacramentality of the Church. Moreover, these ministries allow candidates to experience the complementarity between the common priesthood and the ministerial priesthood. These ministries must not be diminished or considered merely as obligatory steps; they must be exercised fully and authentically. The ministry of lector is an opportunity to develop the essentially Carmelite capacity of listening to and proclaiming the Word. The ministry of acolyte highlights the central role of the Eucharist, making it more intimate and concrete, while also encouraging candidates to serve the weak and the sick.

            Because they are essentially lay ministries, the instituted ministries may also be conferred upon friars who are not called to the ordained ministry or to the permanent diaconate254, if the need is felt and if they have a true calling.

            e) Some candidates are called to the permanent diaconate; others are called to the ordained priesthood, and receive the diaconate in preparation for Holy Orders. All candidates must have some concrete experience of the services of charity, of the Word and of the liturgy. The diaconate should therefore be exercised in all its dimensions, not limited to liturgical service.

            f) In addition to academic and pastoral preparation, the fundamental elements of Carmelite life are valuable resources for those candidates who are called to the ordained priesthood. The Eucharist as the centre of communal and personal life, as the fulfilment and source of the Church's life, helps them to grow in the capacity to give themselves to God in service to the community of brothers and sisters. Listening daily to the Word, they are gradually transformed and become more capable of proclaiming the Word through their lives and through their service. Continuous prayer increases their sensitivity to intercession and praise, for the good of the entire community. Involvement with the people of God and participation in their lives allows the necessary pastoral charity to emerge and grow within them. Spiritual direction and confession, as well as providing support for their personal spiritual journeys, help them to develop qualities such as the ability to listen and to welcome - qualities which will be useful to them in future, when they are called to serve others in their ministry.

D. Criteria for discernment

113.     Discernment with a view to admission to services and ministries

             A candidate to any ministry or service shall submit a request to the Prior Provincial. After hearing the formator and the members of the community, the Prior Provincial shall, with the advice of his council, and taking into account the results of the candidate's experience during formation, make an evaluation and a decision255.

            As regards admission to the ministries, discernment shall focus primarily on the candidate's specific aptitude for the ministry in question. Any opinions and feelings expressed by the broader community of believers, regarding the candidate's character and his capacity for the service, shall be taken into account.

            With regard to votations, the guidelines of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments shall be applied 256; the Appendix offers criteria which can be useful in relation to ministries. Naturally, the requirements of canon law shall always be taken into account.257



A. Objectives and description

114.     The nature and purpose of ongoing formation

            Formation is a lifelong task. Seen in this light, ongoing formation is not a specific stage, but the context within which the entire process of formation, in all its aspects, must be developed. It follows that ongoing formation is our way of living out our Carmelite identity as a continuing process of transformation towards full maturity in Christ: "The consecrated person can never claim to have completely brought to life the 'new creature' who, in every circumstance of life, reflects the very mind of Christ."258

            The Father calls us each day, along paths that are always new and not always linear, to follow Christ and to be attentive to the promptings of the Spirit259; for our lives are constantly changing, and it is normal that we should go through difficult times and crises. We must therefore learn to be creative in our fidelity, attentive to what the Spirit says to us through the events of our lives and of the world in which we live.260

            Our journey is not a solitary one. We belong to the Carmelite fraternity; we must therefore care for the renewal of the Order, and be attentive to and interested in all that happens within the Order. We are part of the Church; in her and with her, we serve the world. For this reason, each of us, together with the entire Order, must be sensitive to change; we must respond, in ways that are always new, to the expectations of the Church and of the world, renewing our spirituality, our lifestyle, our apostolates and our pastoral methods.

B. Persons responsible for ongoing formation

115.     Carmelites

            Each and every Carmelite is personally responsible for his own formation, for his own good, for the good of the Church, and for the good of the Order and of the people whom he serves. He must learn to grow in a holistic and unified way.261

            We need to foster and to develop within ourselves an attitude of humility and poverty: religious must never think that their formation is completed; they must always remain open to new experiences, open to whatever the future may have in store for them, accepting whatever changes may happen.

116.     The Prior Provincial and the Province

            The Prior Provincial is responsible for the well-being and the spiritual health of the brothers. He shall therefore arrange for appropriate initiatives and projects to provide for the continued growth of each member. His meetings with the brothers offer opportunities to promote this process.

            Each Province shall have a programme for ongoing formation, which shall establish objectives in line with the Province's priorities, and shall analyse possible focuses for growth and renewal.262 One of the provincial councillors shall be given responsibility for the programme for ongoing formation. The Prior Provincial shall entrust one of the brothers with the task of accompanying through the early stages those who have recently completed their initial formation.

117.     The local prior and the community

            The local prior shall promote gatherings, meetings, retreats and opportunities for renewal and spiritual growth; he shall keep members informed, and shall provide opportunities for participation in formation events organised at other levels.263

C. Structure and content

118.     The journey of ongoing formation

            Ongoing formation is a process which requires continuous and daily effort; occasional activities are not enough. A holistic approach to formation must cover every aspect: the human and the communal dimensions; spirituality and the charism; and the apostolic, cultural and professional dimensions.264

            There are specific moments and circumstances when it is appropriate and sometimes necessary to offer opportunities for special formation, to accompany individuals in their transition from one situation in life to another, or in the assumption of new responsibilities.265

119.     Methodology, means and instruments

            A well-integrated approach to growth requires the following elements.

- At the personal level, we must:

            a) nourish our personal spiritual journeys through participation in the sacraments and in communal prayer, assiduity in personal prayer, annual spiritual exercises, and spiritual direction;

            b) participate from time to time in renewal courses on scriptural, theological, pastoral and spiritual themes, and especially on Carmelite spirituality; set aside time for reading and study; read the publications of the Province and of the Order; and keep abreast of events within the Carmelite Family, the Church and the world;

            c) be mindful of our physical and psychological well-being: eat appropriately, exercise regularly and adequately, build friendships, make time for leisure activities and develop artistic interests and hobbies.

- At the local level, we must:

            a) build lively and dynamic evangelical communities;

            b) give each member opportunities to take part in formative events organised at various levels;

            c) keep community libraries well-stocked and up-to-date.

- At the provincial level, we must:

            a) provide organic formative activities, possibly assigning the organisation of such activities to a particular community;

            b) organise formative activities specifically designed for homogeneous groups (priors, parish priests, formators, and so forth);

            c) build up in every Province a specialised library on Carmelite issues.

- At the level of the Order, we must:

            a) organise meetings of homogeneous groups (priors, formators, parish priests, rectors of sanctuaries, and so forth);

            b) organise international courses for ongoing formation;

            c) coordinate Carmelite institutes for culture and research.

D. Times requiring special responses

120.     Transition from the house of initial formation to another community

            The end of initial formation coincides with the move from a formation community to another community, which often includes older members whose attitudes and behaviour may be different; from the idealism of the formation period to the reality of life within a community and within a Province; from a structured and accompanied journey to the responsibilities of autonomy; from theoretical reflection to concrete experience. These examples highlight the fact that, during this time of transition, it is particularly important for each new member to be accompanied by a brother to whom he can turn with questions, difficulties and problems. This person can also organise exchanges, meetings and formation opportunities for brothers in this particular stage.

121.     When habit sets in

            A few years after making solemn profession and entering into a life of service, we need to take stock of our lives and to renew our motivation and our enthusiasm, so that we may avoid becoming set in our ways, giving in to individualism, habit or temptation, becoming discouraged by the meagre results of our efforts, or succumbing to indifference. We must always seek to unify our lives around our vocation and the person of Christ, allowing ourselves to be further transformed towards full maturity in him. This is a time for renewal courses, for a sabbatical year, or for some other specific formation project, which may be undertaken in cooperation with other provinces.

122.     Times of crisis

            Being serious about our spiritual lives means that, in our journey of ever-growing intimacy with God, we must expect to experience spiritual crises, some of which may have an existential dimension. The path of inner transformation is far from linear; it involves frequent breaks and leaps. Nor is spiritual growth simply a matter of renewing our prayer life or some other activity: it involves our whole being.

            In times of crisis, when we experience darkness and dryness, we are always tempted to stop praying or to reduce prayer to a mere formality. For this reason, it is important to reflect on crises with the help of a spiritual director or of a spiritual companion. This will help the individual to understand whether the crisis is a sign that he has reached a turning point on the path of transformation: God may be inviting him to persevere in personal prayer, to move on with complete openness and trust in God's transforming love to guide him to a new experience of God.266

            In addition to such normal crises of the spiritual life, it is also possible to experience times of existential crisis. Every situation, however tragic, can be an opportunity for growth and further transformation, if it is lived in a mature way.

            A spiritual director can help the person to understand this and to be open to God's action. Input from other experts, such as psychologists and psychotherapists, can also help him to understand himself better and to continue on his journey. At such times, it is important to have the trust, the support and the affection of one's brothers. The community should never judge or induce feelings of guilt; rather, it should offer encouragement and urge the brother to rediscover and renew his inner resources.

123.     Assuming new responsibilities

            Assuming a new ministry or a new service requires appropriate preparation. Those who are called to assume new functions or responsibilities need to internalise the necessary spiritual qualities and practical or professional abilities required to perform their new tasks.

            In view of the particular delicacy of their task, formators especially must receive special training before they begin their service, and should have periodic opportunities for renewal.267

            A religious who completes an assignment also requires special attention from superiors and confreres, to provide support during the period of transition, so that this may be for him a time of setting out purposefully towards new goals.

124.     Advanced age

            We must learn how to grow old and how to prepare ourselves to let go of things, roles, and attachments. We must learn to rejoice in the younger generations and be glad to give them space and freedom of action. The ability to communicate wisdom and experience of life gently and respectfully, and the ability to hand down memories and traditions, are gifts which characterise this stage in life.

            Older members must be included in the life of the community; they must be cared for with attention and affection.268 Special meetings may be organised for the elderly, and opportunities for fraternal sharing and spiritual growth may be provided specifically for them.

            The contemplative journey of transformation will have brought the Carmelite to be configured to Christ in the paschal mystery, making him ready to go in hope into the embrace of the Father, to the goal of transformative union with God towards which he once set out.269



125.     The purpose of a Programme of Studies

            The present Programme of Studies provides a frame of reference describing and situating the subjects and areas which must be covered to ensure a complete formation in the Carmelite life.

            The means by which the content is communicated, and the organisation of the various items, shall be decided by the formators, in accordance with the requirements and needs of individual Provinces and of particular cultural contexts.

A. The pre-novitiate

126.     The human person: foundations of personal and communal spiritual life

            - Fundamentals of Christian philosophy of the human person

            - Elements of psychology

            - The dynamics of human and spiritual growth

            - Group dynamics

            - Emotional development and sexuality

            - Understanding of one's personal social background

            - Awareness of reality on a global scale

            - Awareness of environmental issues and issues of justice and peace

127.     General education

            - Adequate academic preparation, preferably in the humanities. A certificate giving access to third-level education in a university or an institute of higher education, or completion of a technical or vocational course

            - Knowledge of the culture and history of the candidate's country or of the country in which he is receiving his formation. Knowledge of the cultures of fellow candidates in the formation programme

            - Knowledge of relevant Christian literature

            - Languages: at least one of the three official languages of the Order (Italian, Spanish and English); the classical languages; languages required for mission work within the Province

            - Development of technical, practical, professional, artistic and musical skills

            - Basic computer skills

            - Where necessary, basic etiquette, health and personal hygiene

128.     Elements of Christian life

            - Familiarity with Christian formation, in particular concerning the sacraments of initiation and reconciliation

            - Introduction to the Scriptures

            - Jesus and his Gospel

            - Overview of Biblical history and of Church history

            - Introduction to the liturgy

            - Introduction to prayer

129.     Carmel

            - Basic elements of the theology of consecrated life (vocation, discernment, decision, vows, and so forth)

            - General information concerning the Order and the Province

            - General information on the history of Carmel

            - Introduction to significant figures and texts

            - Introduction to the charism and the spirituality of Carmel

            - Elijah and Mary in the Scriptures

            - Study of the Ratio Institutionis Vitæ Carmelitanæ (Part I and the pre-novitiate)

130.     Practical experience

            - Some experience of the main apostolates of the Province

            - Some experience of social service, followed by discussion and reflection

B. The novitiate

131.     The human person: foundations of personal and communal spiritual life

            - Deepening and development of areas covered during the pre-novitiate, with a view to internalisation and integration into life

132.     Elements of Christian life

            - Scripture: introduction to the Psalms, the prophetic writings and the gospels

            - Elements of Christology

            - Elements of ecclesiology

            - Elements of spirituality

            - Elements of liturgy

133.     Theology of religious life

            - Consecration and discipleship: biblical foundations, theology and spirituality

            - The vows: biblical foundations, theology, spirituality, canon law and practice

            - Community life: biblical foundations, theology, spirituality and practice

            - History, forms, and legislation of religious life

            - Conciliar and post-conciliar documents on religious life270

            - The ecclesial character of religious life and its mission in the Church and in the world

134.     The Rule, Constitutions and documents of the Order

            - The historical context, the author, and the final approval of the Rule

            - The central values of the Rule

            - Various interpretations and readings of the Rule

            - The Constitutions

            - Study of the Ratio Institutionis Vitæ Carmelitanæ (Part I and Novitiate)

            - The main documents of the Order since the Second Vatican Council

135.     The Carmelite charism

A) Contemplation

            - Dynamics of inner life

            - Contemplation in the Carmelite tradition

            - Asceticism and purification

            - Spiritual direction

B) Prayer

            - Theology of prayer

            - Prayer in the Carmelite spiritual tradition

            - The Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours

- Initiation to the various forms of prayer important to our tradition (lectio divina, experience of the presence of God, the prayer of aspiration, silent prayer, meditation, and so forth)


C) Fraternity

            - Structures and dynamics of fraternal life suggested in the Rule and in Carmelite tradition

- Formation to dialogue in the Spirit: the communal project, revision of life, fraternal correction


D) Service in the midst of the people

- Learning to listen to and interpret the reality which emerges from the Church, from the world and from a specific area: possibilities and problems

            - Unity of the charism and diversity of services

            - Types of services emerging from the Carmelite tradition

            - If appropriate, some concrete experience of service, followed by discussion and reflection

136.     The History of Carmel

            - From the origins to the full affirmation of the Order (thirteenth century to early fourteenth century)

            - Development: life, legislation, spirituality, culture, mission and service

            - Ancient and modern geography of the Order

            - The reforms:

                        a. Why reform the Order?

                        b. The Congregation of Mantova

                        c. The reform of the generals (Soreth, Audet, Rossi, the Council of Trent)

                        d. The Teresian reform

                        c. The reform of Touraine and the "strict observance"

            - Major events: the Protestant Reformation; the French Revolution; suppressions (Napoleonic and national); the Spanish Civil War

            - Rebirth (nineteenth to twentieth centuries)

            - The Carmelite Family (nuns, sisters and lay people)

            - The Order since the Second Vatican Council (documents, facts and trends)

            - Historical trends in the candidate's Province

137. Elijah and Mary

            A) Elijah

                        - Elijah in the Bible

                        - Elijah in the Jewish, the patristic and the monastic traditions

                        - Elijah in the Carmelite tradition:

                                    a. Elijah as a model for life

                                    b. Elijah as "founder"

                                    c. Historical criticism

                                    d. Elijah for Carmelites today

            B) Mary

                        - Mary in the Bible

                        - Elements of Mariology

                        - Mary in Carmelite tradition:

                                    a. The Lady of the Place

                                    b. Patroness and Mother

                                    c. Most Pure Virgin and Sister

                                    d. The Virgin of the Scapular

                                    e. Mary's role in the contemplative journey of Carmelites

                                    f. Mary for Carmelites today

138.     Saints and significant figures

            - Carmel's saints: the lives and works of those who are included in the Order's liturgical calendar, in particular:

                        a. St. Albert of Jerusalem

                        b. St. Teresa of Jesus

                        c. St. John of the Cross

                        d. St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi

                        e. St. Térèse of the Child Jesus

                        f. Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity

                        g. St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross - Edith Stein

                        h. Bl. Titus Brandsma

            - Some information concerning the following Carmelite writers:

                        Nicholas of France

                        Sibert di Beka

                        John Baconthorpe

                        Philip Ribot

                        Michael Aiguani

                        Arnold Bostius

                        Miguel de la Fuente

                        John of St. Samson

                        Michael of St. Augustine

                        John Brenninger

                        Bartolomeo Xiberta

            - significant figures in the candidate's own Province

            - Suggested readings:

                        Nicholas of France – The Flaming Arrow

                        De institutione primorum monachorum

                        St. Teresa of Jesus - The Life

                        St. John of the Cross - an anthology

                        St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi - an anthology

                        St. Teresa of the Child Jesus - Autobiographical manuscripts

                        Bl. Titus Brandsma - The Beauty of Carmel

                        Lawrence of the Resurrection – The Practice of the presence of God

C. The period of simple profession and formation to service

139.     General knowledge

            Review and more in-depth study of subjects introduced and covered during the pre-novitiate and the novitiate, with particular emphasis on languages, music and/or the arts, computer skills, housekeeping and archive-keeping.

140.     Theology and philosophy

            Those who do not attend a regular theology course shall take part in a basic course of theological formation, according to individual abilities.

            As regards preparation for the instituted and ordained ministries, see instructions from the Holy See and from the relevant episcopal conferences.

            Ongoing formation for religious life must be provided.

141.     Carmelite formation

            Further in-depth study of all the subjects covered during the novitiate.

            - Study of the Rule, the Constitutions and the Ratio Institutionis Vitæ Carmelitanæ (Part I: simple profession, formation to service, and ongoing formation)

            - Major texts of the Carmelite tradition:

                        a. Nicholas of France – The Flaming Arrow

                        b. De institutione primorum monachorum

                        c. Medieval Carmelite Heritage, ed. A. Staring, Rome, 1989

                        d. Arnold Bostius - De patronatu et patrocinio B. V. Mariæ

                        e. Bl. John Soreth - Expositio paraenetica in regulam carmelitanam

            - Mary and Elijah: review and more in-depth study of themes outlined during the novitiate, through texts  such as:

                        - on Elijah: Emanuele Boaga - Nello spirito e nella virtù di Elia. Antologia di documenti e sussidi, Rome 1990

                        - on Mary: Emanuele Boaga - Con Maria sulle vie di Dio. Antologia della marianità carmelitana, Rome 2000

                        - on both: the liturgical texts

            - Spiritual masters: continued study of the spirituality and works of :

                        a. St. Teresa of Jesus

                        b. St. John of the Cross

                        c. St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi

                        d. John of St. Samson

                        e. St. Térèse of the Child Jesus

                        f. St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross - Edith Stein

                        g. Others

            - History of the Order

            - Carmelite liturgy

            - Spirituality

- The various apostolates and services of the Order in relation to the charism

- The contribution of the Order in relation to the mission ad gentes

            - Relationships and cooperation with other members of the Carmelite Family

142.     International experience

            - Study of foreign languages abroad

            - Participation in regional and international meetings

            - Study exchanges, as appropriate

143.     Practical and pastoral experience

            - Opportunities for extended experience of Carmelite life and service outside the house of formation

            - Opportunities for work experience

144.     The month of preparation immediately preceding solemn profession

            - A climate of silence and prayer

            - Review and evaluation of personal vocational history in the light of the Word of God

            - Review and integration of the fundamental themes of consecrated life, the vows, the charism and Carmelite spirituality (Rule, Constitutions, Ratio Institutionis Vitae Carmelitanae, Part I)

            - Eight days of spiritual exercises

D. Specialisation

145. Special training

            Those who have the ability and the opportunity shall always be encouraged to continue whatever studies and occupational or vocational training are necessary for their formation and for service to the Order and to the Church. The concrete needs of the Province, as well as personal aptitude and interests, shall be kept in mind.

            In choosing a theological specialisation, priority should be given to the following areas, which are close to the charism and the life of the Order:

            - Scripture studies

            - Spirituality

            - Mariology

- Liturgy

- Religious Life

- Missiology

            - Church history

            - Patristic studies

            Adequate preparation shall be provided for every service and apostolate. The formation of future formators is of fundamental importance.


            The guidelines and criteria below are intended to serve as a frame of reference to help formators with their periodic evaluations of candidates, in particular with evaluations for admission to the novitiate, to simple profession and to solemn profession. These guidelines are neither exhaustive nor complete, and they must be adapted to individuals and to local and cultural situations.

            Furthermore, formators must always keep in mind the principle of gradual progression in the process of formation, and the potential for growth, maturation and change which is present in every individual. In other words, it is not expected that the qualitites indicated below should be fully developed in pre-novices, although it is required that at least the potential for these qualities be present. Naturally, there will be a different degree of expectation with regard to these dimensions and qualities when evaluating candidates for simple profession and for solemn profession.

            Specific issues concerning passage from one stage to the next are discussed in the articles dealing with criteria for discernment; these issues must also be taken into account.

a. The human dimension

The candidate:

1. is willing to enter into a process of human and spiritual growth and to allow himself to be guided through it; is able and willing to examine realistically his personality and his personal history; has attained a certain level of self-knowledge; has achieved a certain balance between emotional and intellectual capabilities;

2. recognises and accepts his sexuality and is willing to integrate it; is willing to enter into mature relationships with women and men, and to communicate openly and sincerely; is sensitive, capable of wonder and of empathy, and capable of accepting  difference;

3. has a sense of responsibility; knows how to make decisions; is capable of finishing the tasks he undertakes; shows stability and self-control; is capable of dealing with conflicts, criticism, frustration and moments of crisis; shows a proper balance between attention to personal needs and attention to others;

4. is able to accept other cultures; is tolerant, or struggles to overcome his prejudices; shows an interest in the life, the history and the society in which he lives, and in that society's problems; is attentive to social realities, politics, culture, problems of justice and peace, and the protection of the environment;

5. is capable of integrating harmoniously a life of prayer, fraternity, service, study and recreation, and organising his time in constructive ways; knows how to be alone;

6.  has proved, during the preceding stage of formation, to be hard-working and responsible in various contexts.

b. Spiritual and Carmelite dimensions

The candidate:

1. has a good prayer life and nurtures his personal relationship with God present in the Word, in the Eucharist, in the candidate's inner self, in God’s people and in the events of daily life; has made a clear choice for Jesus Christ, which is evidenced in his daily life; has a strong ecclesial sense;

2. accepts, in a personal and active way, religious consecration as it is expressed in our Rule, in our Constitutions and in the other documents of the Order; has true conviction with regard to each one of the vows and to the fact that fidelity to the vows contributes to the full development of his person; recognises in himself the capacity to live out the Carmelite charism;

3. lives community life with commitment and imagination; shows an interest in the life of the Order and of the Province, with which he is familiar and whose life and mission he shares.

c. The intellectual dimension

The candidate:

1. shows an aptitude for study and studies regularly, with satisfactory results; nurtures a variety of interests, including some that are not strictly academic;

2. has begun to study one or more foreign languages;

3. is capable of integrating theory and practice at a personal level in theological, social, professional and other areas.

d. The practical dimension

The candidate:

1.         has recognised, welcomed and developed the gifts he has received from the Lord, and has placed them at the disposal of the community;

2.         has shown an interest in the house and in its management; has acquired some practical and technical knowledge or skills useful in communal life.

e. The service dimension

The candidate:

1.  understands the mission of the Order, and indicates his willingness to participate in the various forms of service performed by the Province and by the Order as a whole; appears to have capabilities, qualities and interests which can be developed and utilised;

2.  is sensitive to the cry of the poor, and wants to become involved in evangelisation and in the promotion of justice and peace; is interested in mission ad gentes;

3.  has attempted, during the period in question, to become involved  in particular forms of service - his efforts must be evaluated as appropriate.

            At the end of his report, the formator shall express his personal judgement and provide an evaluation of what can be expected from the candidate. In addition, he shall note the views of the local community, providing a clear explanation of any conflicting evaluations.


References are to article numbers



Acolyte, ministry of: the guidelines of the universal Church must be taken into account 111; educational function 112d; may also be conferred on friars who are not called to priestly ordination or to the permanent diaconate 112d.

Admission: prerogative of the Prior Provincial 62; to the pre-novitiate 70; to the novitiate 80; to simple profession 90, 91; to solemn profession 95, 97, 101; with a view to the ordained ministries 109, 113; appendix.

Affectivity: in relationships with others 13; owning values 15; in relationship with God 25; growth in serene and positive integration 100e; programme of studies: pre-novitiate 126; appendix; see also sexuality.

Age: differences in age among members of a community 17, 37; of candidates in the pre-novitiate 78; must be taken into account during formation to service 105; transition from community of formation to another community 121; old age 124.

Anthropological foundations of spiritual and communal life: programme of studies: pre-novitiate 126; novitiate 131.

Apostolate: see mission, service in the midst of the people.

Asceticism: the ascetic path 26; the ascetic effort 27; the work of building community 35; Mary as model 49; programme of studies: novitiate 135.


Call: to participate in trinitarian community 1; the same as that of our brothers 2; to a spiritual experience of deep attraction to and love for Jesus Christ 5; is addressed to individuals with their particular stories of sin and of grace 10; free gift of God 10, 19a; psychological growth helps us to respond 13; responding to the call 19, 51; God renews it every day 19h; the charism and the spirituality find an echo in the heart of the person who is called 20; participating in the one charism, each according to a particular calling 22; called to walk together as brothers 35; common call to holiness 36; Mary helps us discover its beauty 48; the story of a vocation 50; growth in response 51; complementarity of vocations 54; assistance provided by the formator 58, 73, 79b; the vocational ministry helps to discover it 64; the mediation of Carmelites 66; reasons for attraction which motivate a response 68; of the pre-novice 72, 80; call to service and its consonance with the vocation to Carmelite life 105, 106; to the instituted ministries 112d.

Carmelite Family: the response to God's call is lived out in communion and complementarity with it 19f; cooperation during formation 60; courses of ongoing formation open to all the members of the Carmelite Family 60; promotion as part of vocational ministry 69e; programme of studies: novitiate 136; period of simple profession and of formation for service 141.

Carmelite formation (in general): principles and criteria 19; see also the charism of the Order.

Carmelite Order: unity in diversity 4; growing in love 16; identification with the Order 18b, 37, 58c, 90; our response to the call is lived in communion and in complementarity with it 19e; its charism and its spirituality resonate in the hearts of those who are called 20; participating in a long history 21; enriching, developing and renewing the Order 21; formators must have a thorough knowledge of and a profound sense of identification with the Order 58c; formators evaluate candidates on behalf of the Order 58d; incardination 60; responsibility during formation 60; prerogatives of the Prior General 61; meetings of all the formators 61; life in the Order begins in the novitiate 81; dialogue between the novice and the Order 89b; entry into the Order at the time of simple profession 92; discernment with a view to solemn profession 103; ongoing formation 119; programme of studies: pre-novitiate 128, novitiate 134-138, period of simple profession and formation to service 141.

Charism of the Order: description 20-49; is one 4; identifying 4; potentially present in individuals 18; lived out in communion and complementarity with other charisms 19g; criteria for concrete expression 19h; resonates in the heart of the one who is called  20; participating in the same charism, in accordance with each person's specific calling 22; elements of 23; contemplation as a dynamic element 23; the apostolate as an integral part of the charism 38, 45; enriching the Church by its specificity 38; the need to inculturate it 41; enriched by every culture 41;  mission ad gentes reveals its heart in new ways 42; mediated to the candidates by the community 55; transmitted by formators 58c; expressed in cooperation 60; attentive so as to recognise its signs in others, in the vocational ministry 65; all Carmelites are mediators and witnesses 66;  initiation to the charism in the novitiate 81; providing abundant opportunities for presentation during the novitiate 88, 89; deepening understanding and experience during the period of simple profession 92, 99; giving priority to those areas of evangelisation which are closest to the charism 100d; evaluation of internalisation of the charism during the period of simple profession 100e; as source of our service 104; first encounter in the pre-novitiate 129; programme of the novitiate 135.

Chastity: Jesus as model 5, 9; expression of a liberating dynamic 16; frees our capacity to love 25; see also evangelical counsels.

Church: journeying with and in 2; called in 7; religious communities as eloquent signs of 7; our vocation participates in her mystery 7; accomplishing our mission in union with her 8; learning to assume functions of service 15; coming from particular ecclesial backgrounds 17; our vocation involves a new and deeper bond with her 19b;  the Carmelite charism is lived out in union and complementarity with her other charisms 19g, 54; entering into a long ecclesial history 21; in union with the Church in the celebration of the liturgy 32;  the Eucharist as fulfilment and source of her life 32, 112f; with the Church in the service of the Kingdom 38;  integration into the local Church 38; is missionary 42; developing ecclesial awareness 45, 78, 112c, d; Mary is a sign of what we wish to be in the Church 49; environment in which religious vocations emerge 52; close relationship between the Church and consecrated life 52, 112a; formators evaluate candidates in her name 58d; sharing in God's gift to the Church through Carmel 65; integration in ecclesial life as a help to the vocational journey 68; pre-novices must have ecclesial awareness 70;  pre-novices undertake experiences of ecclesial service 79f; participating in her journey of sanctity and purification 93; the simply professed are an active part of the ecclesial community 98; those who are called and accepted by the Church receive the ordained ministries 104; every brother has his place and his role in the Church 104; being mindful of her guidelines for ministries 111; responding to the Church's expectations in new ways 114; the importance of self-renewal for the good of the Church 115; keeping informed of Church events 119b; programme of studies: pre novitiate 128; novitiate 132, 133, 135; specialisation 145; appendix.

Community: modelled on that of Jerusalem 2; chooses Jesus as its only Lord 5; eloquent sign of the Church 7; need to gradually learn to assume functions of service within the community 15; composed of different people 17, 37; identifying with it 18b; our response to the call is lived out in community 19f; a sign of the praying Church 32; fraternal attitudes in the Rule 34; gift of the Spirit 35; building community with the constant effort to step out of our egos 35; contacts with other communities in the Province 37; sign of the Lord's liberating presence 40; founded by Elijah on Mount Carmel 43; mediates the charism 55; environment in which  initial formation takes place 55; promotes the living memory of the charism 55; the place of ongoing formation 56, 119; responsibility in the vocations ministry 66, 69a; responsibilities in the pre-novitiate 74; integration into community life during the pre-novitiate 79d, f; responsibilities in the novitiate 84, 88, 89; responsibilities during the period of simple profession 95, 100c; formation to responsible and active participation in communal life 100g; services to be performed within the community 105; responsibilities in the area of formation for service 107; transition from the house of initial formation to another community 120; integration of elderly members into the community 125; see also fraternity.

Contemplation: fashions and supports our life of prayer, fraternity and service 4; the heart of the Carmelite charism 23-28; is the inner journey of Carmelites 23; dynamic element of the charism 23; leads to free and disinterested service 23; develops through an inner process 24; grows in the desert 27; it is important to incarnate a contemplative attitude and lifestyle 28; the Rule challenges us to live out our contemplative vocation together with our brothers 34; helps us to discover the presence of God 34, 43; motivates us to mission 38; witness and invitation to the men and women of our time to share in our experience of God 39; and commitment to justice and peace 43; Elijah is the model for all contemplatives 47; formators must have some personal experience of the contemplative journey 57; novices are encouraged to develop a contemplative attitude 81, 82; assistance from formators during the novitiate 83; during discernment in the novitiate 90; development during the period of simple profession 92, 100b; and service 104, 107; at a more advanced age 124; programme of studies: novitiate 135.

Contemplative attitude: see contemplation.

Conversion: a gradual and progressive journey 5; to attain vocational maturity 12; makes us free to hear God's call and to respond to it 13;  at various levels 13;  to Kingdom values 17; in order to build community 35;  the need to create a climate of conversion 45; ongoing formation is a labour of conversion of the heart 63; a continuous effort which must last all through life 88; see also : transformation, purification.

Cooperation: in communities 37; during vocational discernment 54; in coordinating formation 59; with the Carmelite Family 60, 141; structures for cooperation at all levels 60-62; between the vocations promoter and his assistants 67; the pre-novice's capacity for 78; with other Institutes during the pre-novitiate 79h; between religious and lay experts during the novitiate 87; with novices from other Institutes 89e;  formation to cooperation 112b; formation initiatives taken jointly with other provinces 121; see also spiritual director, Carmelite Family.

Crisis: in the inner journey 24, 122; times of growth 28, 122; purify the response to God's call 51; in the novitiate 89b; formation assists us to face and overcome moments of crisis 99; seeking professional help in times of crisis 122; existential crises 122.

Cultural diversity: effects of cross-cultural encounters 3; expressing and incarnating our charism 4, 41; socio-cultural dimension of formation 17; can enrich our understanding of the gospel message and of our charism 41; the formator's sensitivity to cultural diversity in accompanying candidates 58b.

Cultural, professional, practical and theological formation: shall be sufficient to ensure the full development of each individual 45; during the period of simple profession 92; the formator's responsibility during the period of simple profession 94; the formator's responsibility during formation to service 108; programme of studies: pre-novitiate 126, 127, 128, 130, novitiate 131, 132, 133, period of simple profession and formation to service 139, 140, 143.


Delegate of the Prior Provincial for formation: member of the commission for formation 59; responsibilities 62.

Desert:  God leads us into the desert 1, 27; our journey in the desert 27; Elijah hiding in the desert 46; see also: crisis.

Diaconate: one of the charisms 104; formation in accordance with the Church's guidelines 111; formation to the sense of ecclesial communion 112c; permanent diaconate 112e; see also: ordained ministries.

Discernment: in formation 14; in the Rule 34; to recognise the presence of the Spirit 51; vocational 54; in community life 56; responsibility of the formator 58d; in the vocations ministry 65; discernment of vocations 70; role of the spiritual director 77; in the pre-novitiate 80; in the novitiate 90; in view of solemn profession 102; reveals vocations to specific types of service 112a; in view of admission to services and ministries 113; appendix; see also: evaluation.


Elijah the prophet: led into the desert 1; as a model for spiritual accompaniment 2; as a model of life in God's presence 3, 31; as a model in the struggle for justice and peace 43; founds on Mount Carmel a community in which justice and peace reign 43; Elijah and Carmelites 46-47; "Elijah's spring" 46, 47; ""Father" 47; programme of studies, pre-novitiate 129; novitiate 137a; period of simple profession and of formation to service 141.

Eucharist: source and fulfilment of the life of the Church 32, 112f; at the centre of personal and communal life 32, 112d, f; source of the strength which enables us to continue on our journey 32, 35; wherein the Lord joins us to himself in his offering to the Father 32, 112f; motivates us to welcome and serve others 32, 35, 112d; source and climax of our relationship with Christ 33; importance of guaranteeing communal celebration of the Eucharist 33; in the Rule 34; builds and expresses fraternity 35;  the community celebration of the Eucharist is a means to achieving knowledge of one another and formation 55; in the exercise of the ministry of acolyte 112d; in formation to the ordained ministry 112f.

Evaluation: of growth in freedom 16; of the community plan 35; of the Province's vocational project 66; during the vocational journey 68; involvement of pre-novices 80; of novices' motivation and potential 81; of novices' ability to live out the evangelical counsels 88; with a view to admission to simple profession 90; responsibilities of the Prior Provincial 97; of specific experiences of apostolate 100d; of the journey of appropriation of religious life in accordance with the Carmelite charism 100e; periodic and final evaluations of the period of simple profession 101; during preparation for solemn profession 103; of achievements is to be conducted together with the community 107; see also: discernment.

Evangelical counsels: Jesus as model 5, 9; the life of special consecration through the evangelical counsels belongs to the life and holiness of the Church 7; concrete and radical way of following Christ 9, 19c; gift of the Trinity 9; transform us and conform us to Christ 9, 25; they make of us a leaven for the transformation of the world 9; they express a liberating dynamic 16; a means of growing in love and thus attaining the fullness of life in God 25; contemporary understanding 28;  taking the first steps of discipleship in accordance with the evangelical counsels in the novitiate 88; deepening understanding and experience of the evangelical counsels during the period of simple profession 99; programme of studies; pre-novitiate 129, novitiate 133, period of simple profession 144; appendix; see also: chastity, obedience, poverty.


Formation to contemplation: 28; programme of studies: pre-novitiate (dynamics of human and spiritual growth) 126, novitiate 135A.

Formation to fraternity: 37; programme of studies: pre-novitiate 126, novitiate 135C.

Formation to prayer: 33; programme of studies: pre-novitiate 128, novitiate 132, 135B.

Formation to service: 45; goals and description 104; nature and purpose 105; the candidate 106; the community 107; the formator 108; the Prior Provincial 109; admission to the journey of formation with a view to the ordained ministries 109; other participants 110; preparation 111; methodology, means and instruments 112; vocation to a particular service 112a; practical experience 112b; programme of studies: pre-novitiate 126, 127, 130; novitiate 135D, 136, period of simple profession 139-143.

Formator: the person and his role 57; responsibilities and requirements 57-58; cooperation and coordination for formation 59; assistants and teams 59; member of the commission on formation 59; gathering of all the formators of the Order 61; in the pre-novitiate: function and role 73; cooperation with the formation commission 75 and 96; choice of a spiritual director 77; individual meetings with pre-novices 79b; discernment 80; in the novitiate: in dialogue with the novices 82; function and role 83, cooperation with the commission on formation 85; dialogue with the Provincial 86; choice of a spiritual director 87; individual meetings with novices 89b; discernment and procedures 90-91; during the period of simple profession: function and role 94; informs the community 95; informs the Provincial 97; may be assisted by experts 98; in the choice of a spiritual director 98; individual meetings with the professed 100e; periodic and final evaluations 101; discernment with a view to solemn profession 102; during formation to service: function and role 108; in the choice of a spiritual director 110; discernment 113.

Foundations of Christian life: programme of studies: pre-novitiate 128, novitiate 132.

Fraternity: journeying together in fraternity 2, 3; Christ leads us to communion with himself and with our brothers 5, 6; we meet Christ in our brothers 6; an element of our charism 23; testing ground of the authenticity of transformation 23; the role of chastity 25; built by the liberating presence of God 27; the role of silence and of solitude 30; the role of the Eucharist 32, 35; general description 34-37; in the Rule 34; tension between the common project and the personal journey 35; requires continual conversion 35; prophets of community 36; sharing 36; formation to fraternity 37; brothers in the midst of the people 40; brothers in mission 41; the experience of fraternity during the pre-novitiate 79e.; in the novitiate 89b; deepening the understanding and the experience of fraternity during the period of simple profession 92, 99, 100c; avoiding any dichotomy between service and fraternity 105; defines the times, the means and the intensity of our service 107; programme of studies: novitiate 135C; see also: community.

Freedom: conversion is a journey toward freedom 13; formation to freedom 16; being attentive to the will of God is a path to freedom 25; the story of a vocation as an exchange between two freedoms 50; in community, all members are invited to develop their personalities in freedom 56; space and freedom of action for the new generations 124.


General Councillor in charge of formation: responsibilities 60, 61.

General education: programme of studies: in the pre-novitiate 127; during the period of simple profession and during formation to service 139.

God : see: love of God; image of God; Word of God, presence of God, Kingdom of God, union with God.


History of Carmel:  entering into the Carmelite experience means entering into the history of Carmel 21; identifying with it 37; relationship with Mary throughout the history of the Order 48;  introduction during the novitiate 88; programme of studies: pre-novitiate 129; novitiate 136; period of simple profession and formation to service 141.

Holy Spirit, action and guidance of: inspires us to listen to the Word of God 1; the Father calls us, transforms us and conforms us to Christ by the action of the Spirit 5, 9, 24, 57; inspires the Church 7; guides us to maturity 13; formation must help us to become open to the action of the Spirit 16; sharing the Spirit's gifts in community 23; allowing ourselves to be moulded by the power of the Spirit 23; gives us the strength to respond to Christ's radical call 26; the fruits of the Spirit 26; draws us into the desert and sustains us during spiritual struggles 27; invites us to turn our attention towards God 29; prayer is the work of the Spirit 29; communion with Jesus and with the Father in the Spirit 29; religious community is the gift of the Spirit 35; Carmelites follow the paths marked out by the Spirit 40; available and free to go wherever the Spirit leads us 45; Mary allows herself to be transformed by the action of the Spirit 49; Mary teaches us obedience to the workings of the Spirit 49; Mary, model of the praying Church always open to receive and share the gifts of the Spirit 49; the action of the Spirit awakens the desire to respond to the call and guides its growth 51; those who are called entrust themselves to the action of the Spirit 51; spiritual discernment to recognise the presence of the Spirit 51; the gifts of the Spirit are invoked in the rite of religious profession 52; Mary is associated with the mysterious action of the Spirit who generates and forms Christ in believers 53; through the Spirit, the Father forms the mind of Christ in the hearts of consecrated individuals 57; has gifted the Church with the Carmelite charism 65; gradual initiation of novices to life in the Spirit 81; the essential quality of novices is docility to the Spirit 82; formators accompany novices in discerning the signs of the Spirit's action in their lives 83; the Spirit's guidance on the journey of inner transformation 93; a variety of charisms but one Spirit 04; being attentive to the promptings of the Spirit 114; fidelity to what the Spirit says to us through the events of our lives and in the world around us 114.

Human person: story of sin and of grace 10; dimensions 10, 30; self-knowledge 11; in the process of formation 14, 15; adapts to God 30; formation must allow the full development 45.


Image of God:  present in each and every human being 2; loving each brother as an image of God 56; the spiritual journey contributes to the purification of one's image of God 100e.

Instituted ministries: admission to 109; special formation and instructions from the Church 111, 140; educational function in preparation for the ordained ministries 112d; possibility of conferring them on all members who are called to them; see also the ministry of acolyte, the ministry of lector.

International Commission on Formation: established by the Prior General with his Council 60; responsibilities 60; meetings called by the general councillor or delegate in charge of formation 61.

International dimension: international experience 37, 142; collaborative structures 60; meetings of formators 89f; ongoing formation courses 119; see also international experiences; cooperation.

International experience: programme of studies: period of simple profession and of formation to service 142.


Jesus Christ, conforming to: the new person in the image of Christ 1; conformed to Christ by the Holy Spirit 5; at the centre of our formation 6; taking on the spiritual features of Christ and putting on his personality 6; by means of the evangelical counsels 9, 26; conformed to God 25; better preparation to service 112; the final goal 126.

Jesus Christ, following of: following Jesus Christ 4; commitment to follow him and relationship with him 6; in the Church 7; following him in fraternity for mission 8; realised and expressed through the evangelical counsels 9; first steps during the novitiate 88; the simply professed deepen their experience of discipleship 93.

Justice and peace: building a new world 17; living in the midst of the people is a prophesy of justice and peace 40; prophets of justice and peace 43; justice and peace and our contemplative charism 43; an urgent challenge 43; our fraternal style is founded on just and peaceful relations according to the plan outlined in the Rule 43; sensitivity to the poor, the sick, the marginalised, the least, and protection of the environment 45; special experiences during the time of simple profession 100d.

Kingdom of God: cooperating with God in the transformation of the world 1; conversion to the values of 17; conforming to Christ in order to build up the Kingdom 25; proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom 38; with the Church, in the service of the Kingdom 38; cooperating with others in the service of the Kingdom 45; each brother has his special place and role in the work of spreading the Kingdom 104.


Lectio divina: form of prayer 32; to be encouraged 33; inspires us to be a living and prophetic presence 36; in the novitiate 89b; see also Word of God.

Lector, ministry of: guidelines of the universal Church must be respected 111; educational function 112d; may also be conferred on a friar who is not called to the ordained priesthood or to the permanent diaconate 112d.

Liturgy: as source of spiritual growth 32; communal prayer 32; in the Rule 34; liturgical awareness in Mariological renewal 44; participation of pre-novices 79c; in the novitiate 89b; during the period of simple profession 92, 100b; during formation to service 112e; programme of studies: pre-novitiate 128, novitiate 132, 135B, period of simple profession and of formation to service 141; specialisation 145.

Local prior: custodian and guarantor of the common plan expressed in the Rule 34; responsibility for ongoing formation 117.

Love of God: calls and transforms 1; to experience 1, 6, 51; growth in 16; hidden in love 26; transforming love 26.


Major superior: see Prior Provincial.

Mary: Sister, Mother and Teacher, accompanies us and guides us on our spiritual journey 2, 48, 49, 53; pilgrim in faith 2, 49; model for prayer 31, 49; model of commitment to justice and peace 43; rediscovery of the Marian tradition in the Order 44; model for discipleship 44, 49, 53, 82; Carmelites must promote an authentic Marian renewal 44; Mother and Patroness, mystical star of Mount Carmel 48; lived in full union with God in Christ 48; helps us to discover the beauty of our calling 48; the scapular as a sign and memorial of her protection 48; transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit 49; a sign of that which we wish to be in the Church 49; model of the Church 49; Carmelites live in an intimate and fraternal relationship with Mary 49; her role in formation 53; generates and forms Christ in believers 53; the scapular indicates that Mary wishes to clothe us in Christ 53; model of discipleship for novices 82; programme of studies: pre-novitiate 129, novitiate 137B; period of simple profession and of formation to service 141.

Maturity/growth: full 12; takes place under the guidance of the Spirit through a process of conversion 13; a process that is never completed 14; maturity in Christ as the object of formation 19d, 63, 114, 121; crisis in growth 24; the community within which individuals grow to maturity 56; required of formators 57; the vocations ministry accompanies along the path of spiritual growth 65, 68; in vocational discernment 70; of pre-novices, to live the Carmelite life 73; growth during the novitiate 81; in discernment with a view to simple profession 90; assistance from psychologists and counsellors 98; integration into a community promotes growth 100c; the help of a spiritual director 110; the role of theology professors 110; appendix.

Methodology: the vocations ministry 69; the pre-novitiate 79; the novitiate 89; the period of simple profession 100; formation to service 112; ongoing formation 119.

Mission: journeying together with the people of our time 2; to evangelise 8; is learned in community 37; in the Church, participating in Christ's mission 38; missionary openness 41; ad gentes 42, 141; called to mission 51; discernment of one's mission 98; missiology, 145.


Novice director: see formators, in the novitiate.

Novitiate: educational requirements for admission 79g; admission 80; general description 81-91; nature and purpose 81; the  novice 82; the novice master 83; the community 84; the commission on formation 85; the Prior Provincial and his Council 86; other participants 87; the journey of formation 88; validity 88; methodology, means and instruments 89; discernment 90; programme of studies 131-138.


Obedience: Jesus as model 5, 9; expresses the dynamics of liberation 16; enables us to attain true freedom 25; to Christ's command to "go and teach..." 42; see also: evangelical counsels.

Ongoing formation: perspective within which are situated the initial stages of the process of formation 63; of the novice master 89f; nature and purpose 114; Carmelites are personally responsible for their own formation 115; responsibilities of the Prior Provincial 116; responsibilities of the local Prior 117;  a process which requires constant and daily effort 118; methodology, means, and instruments 119; transition from initial formation to a community 120; renewal and reviews 121; times of crisis 122; taking on new roles and functions 123; old age 124.

Ordained ministries: adequate preparation in philosophy and theology is required 100f, 109; the responsibility of the Prior Provincial 109; special formation and Church instructions 111; educational function of instituted ministries in preparation for the ordained ministries 112d.


Period of simple profession: general description 92-103; nature and purpose 92; the simple professed 93; the formator 94; the community 95; the commission on formation 96; the Prior Provincial and his Council 97; other participants 98; the journey of formation 99; methodology, means and instruments 100; periodic and final evaluations 101; admission to solemn profession 101; discernment with a view to solemn profession 102; renewal is allowed for up to six years 102; programme of studies 139-144.

Poverty: Jesus as model 5, 9; expresses the dynamics of liberation 16; acceptance of our own frailty 25; the contemplative path allows us to discover it in ourselves 43; an attitude to cultivate 115; see also: evangelical counsels.

Practical experiences: of the novices 89a; necessary for the journey of formation 92; programme of studies: pre-novitiate 130; the stage of temporary profession and of formation for ministry, 143.

Prayer: in building a community modelled on the one in Jerusalem 2; fashioned by a contemplative attitude 4; encounter with Christ 6; element of our charism 23; in prayer we open ourselves to God's action 23; helps us on the spiritual journey 28; general description 29-33; often identified with contemplation 29; as a door to contemplation 29; the work of the Holy Spirit in us 29; participating in Jesus' prayer 29; silence and solitude as prerequisites 30; personal dialogue with God 31;  various ways of praying 31, 33; Mary as model 31, 49; Elijah as model 31, 46, 47; liturgical prayer and community prayer 32, 36, 37, 55; formation to prayer 33; time and space in community life 33; active and creative participation in community 37; for candidates by their families or lay associations 54; prayer in community as a means to know one another and as a means of formation 55; enlightens  the formator's discernment 58a; in the pre-novitiate 79c; in the novitiate 82, 89; during the period of simple profession 92; in every individual's spiritual journey throughout life 119; programme of studies 135B; see also lectio divina.

Pre-novitiate: general description 71-80; nature and purpose 71; pre-novices 72; the formator 73; the community 74; the commission on formation 75; the Prior Provincial 76; other participants 77; structure and content 78; methodology, means and instruments 79; discernment 80; programme of studies 126-130.

Presence of God: we help people to discover it 2; perceiving the hidden signs of it 3; loving presence in contemplation 23; the inner process helps us to acquire an attitude of openness to it 25; in the desert 27; in silence 30; we learn from Elijah to remain in God's presence 31, 46; exercise of (as a method of prayer) 33, 135B; in fraternity 34, 40; in creation and in history 43; Mary recognises it in the ordinary events of daily life 49.

Priesthood: admission 104; studies and preparation 111; ecclesial sense 112c; see also ordained ministries.

Prior general and his Council: responsibility for formation 60; duties 61; his delegate for formation 61.

Prior Provincial: is a member of the commission on formation 59; duties and responsibilities 62; must ensure that vocations are a priority in the policy of the province 66; admits candidates to the pre-novitiate 76; can dismiss candidates from the pre-novitiate 80; joint responsibility during the novitiate 86; admission to simple profession 91; admission to solemn profession 97, 101; responsibility for formation to service 109; admission to and ministries 113; responsibility for ongoing formation 116.

Profession: foundation of equality among the brothers 22; invocation of the Spirit in the rite 52; joining in Christ's self-sacrifice 52; ecclesial ratification of choice 52; incardination into the Order 60; see also: evangelical counsels.

Prophecy: to be a prophetic voice 17; prophets of fraternity 36, 40; inspired by prayerful attention to the Word 36; prophets of justice and peace 43.

Provincial commission on formation: membership and responsibilities 59; in the pre-novitiate 75; in the novitiate 85; during the period of simple profession 96.

Provincial programme for formation: applies the principles set down in the RIVC 59; approved by the Prior Provincial with his Council 59; adapts the programme of studies 89c; determines procedures for the end of the novitiate 91; for ongoing formation 116.

Purification: on the inner journey 24; on the ascetic path 26; Mary as model 49; crises purify us 51; of motives during the novitiate 81; participation in the purification of the Church 93; of one's own image of God 100e; programme of studies: novitiate 135A.


Ratio Institutionis Vitæ Carmelitanæ (RIVC): implementation in the provincial programme 59; periodic revision 60, 61; approval 61; programme of studies: pre-novitiate 129; novitiate 134; period of simple profession and formation to service 141.

Rule: invites us to the spiritual journey 2; invites us to solitude 30; prayerful listening 31; fraternity 34; common project 34; journey outlined in the Rule 40; just and peaceful relations in accordance to the Rule's project 43; paths "mapped out" by the Rule 47; programme of studies: in the novitiate 134; during the period of simple profession and formation to service 141.


Saints, mystics and significant emerging figures: Elijah as the prototype of mystics 47; have experienced and described the influence of Mary on their spiritual lives 53; programme of studies: novitiate 138; period of simple profession and of formation to service 141.

Service in the midst of the people: according to the model of the Jerusalem community 2; fashioned and sustained by a contemplative attitude 4; engaging in a continuous process of conversion for service 12; contemplation unites it with the other elements of the charism 23; the process of transformation makes us more willing to serve 23; gratuitous and disinterested 23; the liberating experience of God in the desert motivates us to serve 27; we learn to serve in community 37; general description 38-45; in union with the Church 38; formation to service 45; Mary as model 49; during the pre-novitiate 79f; deepening our knowledge and experience of service during the  period of simple profession 92, 99, 100; is an integral part of our charism 104; programme of studies: novitiate 135D; see also: Church, justice and peace, formation to service, mission, Kingdom of God.

Sexuality: serene and positive integration 100e; programme of studies: pre-novitiate 126; appendix; see also: affectivity.

Silence: is to be cultivated 30, 33, 45; silent prayer 33; in the Rule 34; as the path to acceptance of the other 39; creating a climate of silence 45; programme of studies: novitiate 135B; period of simple profession and formation to service 144.

Simple profession: goal of the novitiate 81; evaluation with a view to 90; admission to 91; integration into the Order 92; renewal 101.

Solemn profession:  admission to 95, 96, 97, 101; prerequisites for validity 99; discernment 102; preparation immediately preceding 103, 144; a few years later 121.

Solitude: ascetic commitment 27; "hiding in solitude" 30; is not isolation 30; as a means for developing an intimate relationship with God 31;  we do not walk alone 114.

Specialisation: 145.

Spiritual direction: continuous recourse to 51;  along the vocational journey 68, 69c; during the pre-novitiate 77; in the novitiate 89b; during the period of simple profession 98; during formation to service 110, 111; in caring for our spiritual journey throughout life 119.

Spiritual exercises: as an opportunity for ongoing formation 56; useful in creating the correct climate for evaluating the call in the pre-novitiate 80; in the novitiate 89b; annual; during the period of simple profession 100b; throughout life 119; during the month of preparation immediately preceding solemn profession 144.

Spiritual journey: general description 1, 51; accompanied by Mary 2; together with our brothers 2, 35; like Elijah, journeying with the people of our time 2; called to by the Rule 2; a path of gradual and progressive conversion 5; assisted by formation 12; conversion 13; contemplation constitutes the inner journey 23; gratuitous service as a help for the journey 23; inner journey 24;  evangelical journey 25; ascetic journey 26; a journey through the desert 27; encounter with the Word of God and prayer 28, 32; sharing our journey with our brothers 32; mutual help 37; allows us to discover our own frailty and builds solidarity with those who suffer from deprivation and injustice 43; Mary's role 44, 48, 49; day-by-day commitment to the journey 51; formators must have had some practical experience 57; responsibilities of the formator and those of other agents 58, 65, 77, 78, 83, 90, 93, 99, 100, 101;  is a lifelong journey 63; helping others on their spiritual journey 104; spiritual direction and confession 111;  responsibility of the Prior Provincial 116; in ongoing formation 119; crises on the spiritual journey 122; the goal 124.

Stages of the process of formation: 63-124; introduction 63-64; the ministry of promotion of vocations 71-80; the novitiate 81-91; the period of simple profession 92-103; formation to service 104-113; ongoing formation 114-124.


Transformation: the summit of Mount Carmel, the place of transformation in God 1; is accomplished in us by the Holy Spirit 5, 9, 24; through encounter with Christ 6; by means of the evangelical counsels we are gradually transformed in Christ 9, 25; the contribution of formation to the process of transformation 12; through conversion 13; we must allow ourselves to be transformed by Christ's love in a lifelong process 14; the vocation to religious life requires abandonment to the transforming action of God 19c; contemplation, the transforming experience of God 23; fraternity is the testing ground of its authenticity 23; transformation is an inner journey 24; demands an ascetic journey 26; takes place in the desert 27; images of transformation which are part of our tradition 27; the role of discernment 28; in prayer we open ourselves to God's transforming action 29; in solitude 30; of individuals into brothers by means of the Eucharist 35; in order that we may see the world with God's eyes 43; Mary, the new woman who lets herself be transformed by the Holy Spirit 49; during the stages of the process of formation 63; novices set out decisively on the path of transformation 82; the novice master accompanies them along the path of transformation 83;  incarnation of values in order to allow God to transform us 88; ongoing formation is an ongoing process of transformation in Christ 114; we must allow ourselves to be continuously transformed until we reach full maturity in Christ 121; every situation can be an opportunity for further transformation 122; transforming union with God is the goal of our lives 124.


Union with God: called to participate in the Trinitarian communion 1; is achieved by allowing ourselves to be conformed to Christ by the Spirit 5, 13; God unites us with himself at the inner core of our being, where he dwells 24; in the process of union with Christ we are clothed in him 26; in prayer Jesus unites us to himself and to the Father 29; Carmelite fraternity proclaims to the world the common calling to full communion with God 36; experienced by Mary 48; is the goal of the ongoing effort of conversion which novices must see as their objective 88; the goal of life achieved in death 125; see also: transformation


Vocation to the Carmelite life: called in the Church 7; gift of God 8, 50, 51, 65; must be considered as potentially present in those who are called 18; as a concrete expression and a development of the baptismal vocation 19b; requires total personal commitment 19c; common vocation 22, 35; God and the one who is called are the protagonists of the story of every vocation 50, 51; renewed day by day 50; demands a response 50, 51; the Church as the context 52; often emerges in families or lay associations 54; the ministry of promotion of vocations 65-70; the vocational journey 68; the discernment of vocations 70; initial awareness and introduction to Carmelite life during the pre-novitiate 71; pre-novices must follow it freely and responsibly 72; in the discernment of pre-novices 80; needs to be clarified during the novitiate 81, 83, 89b; daily response 93; the help of formators during the period of simple profession 94; personal vocation to service 105; clarification of personal vocation to service 106; integration of service into the one Carmelite vocation 108; the Carmelite vocation is in itself a preparation for service 111; reviewing the story of one's personal vocation during the month of preparation immediately preceding solemn profession 144; see also: call.

Vocations ministry: included as one of the stages of formation 64; general description 65-70; nature and purpose 65; persons in charge 66-67; structure and content 68-69; methodology, means and instruments 69; discernment 70.

Vocations promoter: member of the commission on formation 59; shall have an assistant in every community 66, 69b; responsibilities 67, 69b, 69d.

Vows:  see: evangelical counsels.


Word of God: at the centre of the community 2; that everything may come from it and be done in it 6; the encounter with it helps us in our journey of transformation 9, 28; listening and receiving 29, 31, 34; we must know how to be silent in order to hear it 30; as inspiration for a lively and prophetic presence 36; enlightened by it in our silence we learn to read the signs of the times 45; Elijah always ready to obey it 46; Mary listens to it and puts it into practice 49; formators allow themselves to be guided by it 58a; in the ministry of lector 112d; see also lectio divina.

World: cooperating with God in its transformation 1, 9; in the Church on the paths of the world 2; in constant development 3; building a new world 17; seeing the world with God's eyes 224; Carmelite fraternal life is proclamation to the world 36; prophetic presence in the world 36; mission ad gentes 42; presence of the Spirit 51; coherent witnesses to God's presence in the world 88.

1 1 Jn 4:19.

2 Cf. Acts 2:42-48; 4:32-35.

3 GS, 1.

4 Fraternal life, 4

5 Cf. VC, 1; 17-19.

6 Cf. Rule, 2,19, 23; Constitutions, 2; 3; 14.

7 Rule, 2

8 Rule, 15; see also Constitutions, 20.

9 The many references in Carmelite tradition include the following: St. Teresa of Jesus, Life, 9, 4; 22, 4, 7; St. John of the Cross, Ascent, 1.13, 3; 2.7, 8-12; Canticle B 1, 2-6, 10, Living flame 2, 16-20; St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi, Probatione, 780; Ammaestramenti, XXXVI; John of St. Samson, L'Aiguillon, 3, 854-886 (f.362r); Michael of St. Augustine, Introductio ad vitam internam, tractatus tertius, sive Brevis Instructio ad vitam mysticam, 27. 

10 Carmel: a place and a journey, 2.2.

11 VC, 31; LG, 32.

12 LG, 44; cf. VC, 29.

13 VC, 32.

14 VC, 42.

15 VC, 41.

16 Fraternall life, 9.

17 Cf.. VC, 17.

18 Cf. VC, 42, and the whole of Chapter II; Signum fraternitatis; see also Fraternal life, 10; 54-57.

19 Cf. VC, 72, and the whole of Chapter II, Servitium Caritatis; see also Fraternal life, 58.

20 VC, 20.

21 VC, 18.

22 LG, 46.

23 VC,22.

24 Cf. LG, 46.

25 VC, 20.

26 Rom 7:14-25; cf. Gal 5:13-14.

27 2 Cor 12:9.

28 GS, 14.

29 Cf. St. Teresa of Jesus, Life 13, 15; Foundations 5,16; The Way of Perfection 39, 5; The Interior Castle 1.2, 8.

30 Cf. Constitutions, 118.

31 Cf. 1 Pt 2:5.

32 Each stage of formation absorbs the preceding stages and leads the individual towards a higher level of integration and interiorisation of the values.

33 Cf. AG, 11.

34 Cf. GS, 39.

35 Cf. VC, 30-32.

36 Cf. VC, 74; see also 49-50, 52-54.

37 Cf. MR, 12; Constitutions, 120; Carmel: a place and a journey, 4.6.

38 Cf. Constitutions 175.2

39 Cf. Constitutions, 161-162.

40 Costitutions 17; see also St. John of the Cross, Canticle B, 22, 3-5; 26, 1; 39, 4.

41 Institutio primorum monachorum, 1.2.

42 Among the many texts of the Carmelite tradition, see in particular Institutio primorum monachorum, 1.2-8.

43 Cf. St. Teresa of Jesus, The Interior Castle, I.1.3; 7.1,5; St. John of the Cross, Canticle B, 1, 6-8.

44 Cf. St. John of the Cross, The Dark Night, 1.11, 3.

45 Cf. Constitutions, 15; 78.

46 Cf. Institutio primorum monachorum, 1, 3-5.

47 Cf. Constitutions, 45-49.

48 Cf. Constitutions, 50-58.

49 Cf. Constitutions, 59-63.

50  Cf. Institutio primorum monachorum, 1, 6.

51  Cf. Institutio primorum monachorum, 1.2.

52 Cf. Rom 5:5.

53 Mt 16:25.

54  Cf. Institutio primorum monachorum, 1.2.

55 Cf. Rom 13:14; Gal 3:27; Eph 2:15; 4:24; see also EE, 45.

56 Gal 5:22-23.

57 Even the place they had chosen, with their cells spread out around the oratory, can be seen as an expression of this miracle of the rebirth of life in the desert, effected by the presence of the Risen One; the liturgical rite of the Holy Sepulchre, which was celebrated for a long time in the Order, also testifies to this.

58 Cf. Is 32:15.

59 Constitutions, 17.

60 See Rule, 18-19.

61 Cf. St. John of the Cross, Canticle B, 36, 5; see also 2 Cor 3:18.

62 Cf. St. Teresa  of Jesus, The Interior Castle, 1,7.

63 Cf. Hos 2,16.

64 Cf  Dominic of  St. Albert, Exercitatio, 24: "Cultivating holy prayer consists in genuine, total, and real attention to God."

65 Cf. St. Teresa of Jesus, Life, 8, 5.

66 Rom. 8:26.

67 Cf. Jn 1:1.

68 St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi, I Colloqui, 50, 922.

69 Cf Jn 14:15-23.

70 Rule, 10.

71 Bl. John Soreth, Expositio Paraenetica in Regulam Carmelitanam, 13.

72 Cf. Ibid.

73 Cf. St. Teresa of Jesus, the poem "Seek yourself in me"; St. John of the Cross, Canticle B, 1, 6-10.

74 Cf. Institutio primorum monachorum, 1.5.

75 St. John of the Cross, Words of Light and of Love, 99.

76 Cf. 1Kings 19:12; St. John of the Cross, Canticle B, 15, 26.

77 Cf. St. John of the Cross, Ascent, 2, 9, 1; The Dark Night, 2, 5, 3 and 5.

78 Cf. Rule, 10; Constitutions, 80.

79 St. Teresa of Jesus, Life, 8, 5.

80 Rule, 15; see also Constitutions, 82.

81 Lk 2:19, 51.

82 Cf. 1 Kings 17:1; 18:15.

83 Michael of St. Augustine, Introductio ad vitam internam, tractatus quartus, seu Fruitiva Praxis vitae mysticae, 14.

84 St. Teresa of Jesus, Foundations, 5,2; The Interior Castle, 4, 1, 7.

85 John of St. Samson, Le vrai esprit du Carmel, 122,1; St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Ms. C, 25r.

86 Cf. SC, 10; LG, 11; Constitutions, 70.

87 Constitutions, 70; see also SC, 48.

88 Cf. 1 Kings 19:5-8.

89 Cf. Constitutions, 72.

90 Cf. Constitution, 64.

91 Cf. Constitutions, 82.

92 Cf. Constitutions, 66.

93 Bl. Titus Brandsma, Godsbegrip Rede uitgesproken..., 26.

94 Cf. Constitutions, 67.

95 Rule, 5, 6, 8, 12, 15, 22, 23.

96 Cf. Constitutions, 19.

97 Rule, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 22, 23.

[185] Cf. Constitutions, 20.

99 Cf. Rule, 7, 14.

100 Cf. Rule, 11, 14.

101 Cf. Rule, 14.

102 Cf. Rule, 12.

103 Cf. Rule, 12, 15, 16, 17.

104 Cf. Rule, 15.

105 Cf. Rule, 4, 5, 6, 15.

106 Rule, 21.

107 Cf. Rule, 7.

108 Cf. Rule, 20.

109 Fraternal life, 8.

110 Cf. Rule, 15; Constitutions, 31e.

111 Cf. Fraternal Life, 24-25; see also Constitutions, 30.

113 Cf. Rule, 14; see also Constitutions 20, 31a.

114 Cf. Fraternal life, 54-55-; see also VC, 25; 42; 46.

115 Cf. Fraternal life, 56.

116 Cf. PI, 25.

117 Cf. Constitutions, 20.

118 Cf. Fraternal life, 56; VC, 51.

119 Cf. Constitutions, 32-33.

120 Cf. Constitutions, 91.

121 Cf. Constitutions, 21. Love for the Church and for its mission is a constant element of Carmel. We mention only a few of the numerous references: St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi, Renovazione della Chiesa; St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Ms B, 2v-3v.

122 Cf. VC, 31; 46-56.

123 Cf. VC, 48-49; Constitutions 97-98.

124 Carmel: a place, a journey, 3.3.

125 Cf. Constitutions, 96

126 Cf. Constitutions, 95, 99.

127 Cf. Carmel: a place, a journey, 4.5.

128 Cf. Fraternal life, 54-56; VC, 51.

129 Cf. Rule, 9; Costitutions, 23.

130 General Congregation 1980, Called to Account by the poor, in AnalOCarm, XXXV, 1-2 [1980], 23; see also Constitutions, 24.

131 Cf. Rule, 17; see also Constitutions, 22.

132 Carmel: a place, a journey, 1.3.

133 Cf. Carmel: a place, a journey, 4.2.

134 Mt 28:19-20.

135 Constitutions, 105.

136 AG, 9.

137 AG, 29.

138 VC, 77.

139 Cf. Constitutions, 15.

140 Cf. Is 3:7.

141 Cf. Carmel: a place, a journey, 4.3.

142 Cf. 1 Kings 21.

143 Cf. Lk 1:46:55.

144 Cf. Rule, 21.

145 Cf. Institutio primorum monachorum, 3.3, 5.

146 Cf Constitutions, 86, 95.

147 Cf. Marialis cultus, 29-39; for biblical aspects, see St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Last conversations, 21 August, 3; the poem "Why I love you, O Mary!" (PN 54).

148 Cf. Nicholas of France, The Flaming Arrow, 4.

149 For this article and the following, see Costitutions, 26.

150 Rule, 1.

151 Cf. Constitutions, 27.

152 Cf. Preface II of the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel.

153 Cf. Collect of the Mass for the Solemn Commemoration of the B.V. Mary of Mount Carmel; see also Paul VI, Allocution of 22 June 1967, in AASLIX (30 Sept. 1967), No. 12, 779.

154 St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Last Conversations, 21 August, 3.

155 Cf. Preface I of the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel.

156 Bl. Titus Brandsma, Lecture to the Marian Congress of Tangerloo (August 1936); Carmelite Mysticism. Historical Sketches, Chicago (Ill.), 1936, Lecture IV, 52-53.

157 VC, 17.

158 VC, 18.

159 ibid.

160 Cf. VC, 17.

161 Cf. Mk 1:16-20; 2:14; 10:21, 28.

162 VC, 18.

163 Cf. VC,19.

164  Cf. PI, 19.

165 VC, 30.

166 Fraternal life, 10.

167 Cf. LG, 63; PI, 20.

168 Cf. St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi, Probatione 728-730;  30 October 1600; I Colloqui 361-362; Michael of St. Augustine, De vita Mariae-formi et mariana in Maria propter Mariam; St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Ms A, 56v-57v; 75r; PN 5, 11.

169 Cf. PI, 27.

170 Cf. Constitutions, 120, 144.

171 Cf. PI, 27.

172 Cf. Fraternal life, 43-46.

173 Constitutions, 33.

174 Cf. ibidem.

175 Cf. Ph 2:5.

176  Cf. VC, 66.

177 Cf. PI, 30.

178 Cf. VC, 66.

179 Cf. PI, 30.

180  Cf. Eph 4:15.

181 Cf. Appendix

182 Cf. PI, 32.

183 Cf. Constitutions, 123.

184 Cf. PI, 32.

185 Cf. Constitutions, 175.

[186] Cf. Constitutions, 171.

[187] Cf. Constitutions, 125.

188 Cf. Constitutions, 129.

189 Cf. Constitutions, 303.

190 Cf. Constitutions 129, 303.

191 Cf. Constitutions 125.

192 Cf. Constitutions, 124.

193 Cf. Constitutions, 122.

194 Cf. VC, 69; Constitutions, 134.

195 Cf. Constitutions, 118.

196 Cf. Constitutions, 131.

197 Cf. Constitutions, 133.

198 Cf. Constitutions, 132.

199 Cf.CIC, c.645, 2, 4.

200 Cf. PI, 42; Constitutions, 135.

201 Cf. Constitutions, 136.

202 Cf. Constitutions, 137; PI, 44.

203 Cf. Constitutions, 415.

204 Cf. PI, 43.

205 Cf. Collaboration, 13.

206 Cf CIC, cc. 641-645.

207 Cf. Constitutions, 138.

208 Cf PI, 43.

209 Cf CIC, c. 646, 139; 151.

210 Cf. CIC, c.651; Constitutions, 144.

211 Cf. Constitutions, 144.

212 Cf. Constitutions, 138-155, passim.

213 Cf. Collaboration, 14; 16.

214 Cf. CIC, c.648.1.

215 Cf. CIC, c.648, 2-3; Constitutions, 147-149.

216 Cf. PI, 51.

217 Cf. Collaboration, 14-16.

218 Cf. ibidem, 25.

219 Cf CIC, cc. 653-656; Constitutions 153-155.

220 Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, Renovationis Causam, Instruction on the renewal of formation to the religious life, 6 January 1969, 7; Cf. PI, 59.

221 Cf. Constitutions, 175-176.

222 Cf. Constitutions, 157. 1c.

223 Cf. Collaboration, 17.

224 Cf. PI 63; EE, 11, 47.

225 Cf. PI, 59.

226 Cf. PI, 60-62; 65.

227 Cf CIC, 655, 657; Constitutions 155, 157.1b.

228 Cf. PI, 62.

229 Cf. PI, 61.

230 Cf. Constitutions, 155, 157.

231 Cf. Constitutions, 155.

232 Cf. CIC, cc. 655; 657.2; Constitutions, 155.1.2.

233 Cf. Constitutions, 157.1c

234 Cf CIC, cc. 656; 658; Constitutions, 157.

235 Cf. Constitutions, 156.

236 Cf. Constitutions, 91.

237 Constitutions, 92; see also 64, 68, 95.

238 Cf. Constitutions, 18.

239 Cf. Constitutions, 92.

240 1 Cor 12: 4-7; see also LG 7.

241 LG, 32.

242 Constitutions, 19; see also Carmel: a place and a journey, 3, 4.

243 Cf. PI, 108.

244 Cf. Constitutions, 32-34.

245 Cf. PI, 104-105.

246 CF. CIC, c.1025.

247 Cf. Ministeria quaedam, 9.

248 Cf. CIC, c.1019.

249 Cf. Pdv, 67.

250 Cf. Pdv, 68.

251 Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree on formation to the priesthood, Optatam totius, 28, September 1965; Decree on the ministry and life of presbyters, Presbyterorum ordinis, 7 December 1965; Paul VI, Ap. letter, Sacrum diaconatus ordinem, 18 May 1967; Ap. letter motu proprio, Ad pescendum, 15 August 1972; John Paul II, postsynodal apostolic exhortation, Pastores dabo vobis, 25 March 1992; Congregation for Catholic Education and Congregation for the Clergy, Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotis, 19 March 1985; Directorium pro presbyterorum ministerio et vita, 31 January 1994; Ratio fundamentalis diaconorum permanentium and Directorium ministerii et vitae diaconorum permanentium, 22 February 1998.

252 Cf. PI, 108, 109.

253 Cf. Ministeria quaedam, 11

254 Cf. Ministeria quaedam, 3.

255 Cf. CIC, c.1051.

256 Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Circular letter on Scrutinies regarding the Suitability of Candidates for Orders, 10.11.1997.

257 Cf. CIC, cc.1024-1052.

258 VC, 69.

259 Cf. PI, 67; Constitutions 168.

260 Cf. PI, 67; see also VC, 70.

261 Cf. VC, 71.

262 The responsibilities of the Prior Provincial and of the Province are outlined in art. 62 of the RIVC.

263 The responsibilities of the Prior and of the community are outlined in art. 56 of the RIVC.

264 Cf. PI, 68; VC, 71.

265 Cf. PI, 70; VC, 70.

266 Cf. St. John of the Cross, The Dark Night, 1, 9-10.

267 Cf. VC, 66; Collaboration, 23-26.

268 Cf. Constitutions, 38.

269 Cf. St. John of the Cross, Living flame, 1, 29-36.

270 In particular: Lumen gentium 43-47; Perfectae caritatis; Christus Dominus 33-35; Evangelica testificatio; Mutuae relationes; 1983 Code of Canon Law (Book II, Part III); Redemptionis donum; Potissimum institutioni; Fraternal life in community; Vita consecrata.

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