The Carmelite Order is included by the Church among the clerical institutes. It is composed of friars who profess the three vows of obedience, poverty and chastity, and who share a common purpose: to live the consecrated life according to the spirit of Carmel.
The Order is structured into Provinces, General Commissariats, and houses under the direct jurisdiction of the Prior General. (Consititutions O.Carm. no.174,177)
Each entity has houses of formation in accordance with the phases which the candidate has to go through.
The pre-novitiate: Generally lasts from six months to one year.
The novitiate: Lasts one year, after which the candidate makes his religious profession.
The scholasticate: This is the time when the candidate, after his profession, intensifies and deepens his experience of following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ in the Order and the Church. It includes the philosophical-theological studies and the specialization in the various sciences, the formation to the different ecclesial and specific offices of the Order, the preparation of those who are candidates to the priesthood.
The principles, indications and programmes for initial and ongoing formation are explained in the Ratio Institutionis Vitae Carmelitanae (Carmelite Formation: A Journey of Transformation), published by the General Curia of the Carmelites in Rome, 2000.