In our small OCDS group, which is made up of nine men and women and includes a Catholic priest, you will be guided in the Formation program rich with prayer, study and personal spiritual reflection. Below are the formation steps as set forth by the Order of Discalced Carmelites:
Those who are interested in becoming a Secular Carmelite first undergo a period as an Aspirant. An Aspirant will meet with a Secular Carmelite Community for a period of six months. After an initial period of introduction to the Carmelite Secular way of life, one can ask to be admitted as a Candidate for formation and will receive the traditional and unadorned ceremonial Brown Scapular.
The initial formation period begins when an individual is clothed with the Brown Scapular of the Order. A candidate will spend the next two years in “formation” (Formation may be extended according to the needs of the individual). During formation, candidates will study the life and writings of Carmelite saints. Gradually, candidates in initial formation will integrate the Rule of St. Albert and the Norms into their life as they develop the habit of prayer and acts of virtue.
After initial formation, the candidate may then be permitted to make a Temporary Promise for three years (minimum).
After these three years the Secular Carmelite may make the Final Promise using the formula “for all my life.”
The Promise does not affect the rights and duties of married people, nor do they prevent single people from marrying. The Promise, in fact, is intended, in the words of the Norms, to “provide the secular Carmelite with the grace to become interiorly more responsive to the will of God.”