The purpose of formation is to prepare individuals inspired by the Holy Spirit to live a spiritual life according to the charism and principles of Discalced Carmelite spirituality. Intimately united with the action of the Holy Spirit is that of the Virgin Mary. Mother of Christ and our Mother, she is involved in the spiritual life of everyone, especially in one called to life in Carmel.  Under her protection, expressed in Carmel by the scapular, all those in formation in the Order are spiritually protected and formed. Mary, the Mother of believers, is for us a model of committed and prophetic contemplation.  She welcomed the Good News with enlightened discernment and promptly undertook its demands. She treasured the Word, pondering on it prayerfully in her heart, and proclaimed it freely and courageously in the Magnificat. This contemplative-apostolic example of hers is stressed in formation to help us understand and practice what it really means to follow Christ. Mary is the perfect model of a disciple of the Lord.

The Discalced Carmel, after the example of its Founders, has its own formation program and style, based on Discalced Carmelite saints and authorities for the whole Church - the Doctors: Teresa of Jesus, John of the Cross and Therese of Lisieux. 

The period of introduction to the life of the Secular Carmelite is a process of at least six years duration.  At each step of formation, the local council, by a majority vote, will discern if the candidate has a vocation to Carmel and invite him or her to receive the Scapular or make Temporary or Definitive Promise. An interview with the Council of the community and a letter of intent is required at each stage of Formation. 


Secular Carmelites are faithful members of the Catholic Church who are called by the Holy Spirit to "live in allegiance to Jesus Christ." They seek evangelical perfection and union with God in the Order of the Teresiam Carmel for his greater Glory and the good of his Church. In response to that call, members willingly submit to the "gentle yoke" of obligation and commitments contained in The Rule of Albert, our Constitutions and Provincial Statutes.

Practicing Roman Catholics, who are in full communion with the Church, may be admitted to the Secular Order provided they are:

  • at least 18 years of age.
  • able to provide a current official Church copy of their Baptismal Certificate.
  • able to provide some documentation showing proof of a valid marriage in the Catholic Church, where applicable. 
  • living the Catholic faith for a minimum of 18 months after Baptism before being eligible to enter Aspirancy.
  • are not already members of any other group that requires promises or vows.

    A person exploring a vocation in Carmel should attend a minimum of 3 meetings prior to being considered for entrance into Aspirancy. This allows the applicant to become more familiar with the community, the style of life and service to the Church proper to the Secular Order of Teresian Carmel. It also provides the community opportunity for discernment.
    The introductory Aspirancy period normally lasts one full year (12 sessions) after which a candidate may be admitted into the Community's Formation Program during an official Clothing Ceremony. The Formation Program is composed of 3 Stages detailed below:
    At the beginning of the period of formation, a large, ceremonial Brown Scapular will be given to the candidate, an outward symbol of affiliation with the Order and a sign that the Blessed Virgin Mary is both Mother & Model of Carmel. A smaller brown scapular or scapular medal is worn for everyday use.
    After receiving the Scapular, preparation to make the First/Temporary Promise is 24 sessions over a 2+ year period, deepening the life of prayer. When making the Temporary Promise, the candidate's baptismal name is retained to which the candidate may add an approved devotional name.
    Preparation for the Final/Definitive Promise is 36 sessions over a 3+ year period, preparing the candidate for a lifetime commitment to Carmel and a promise to live the evangelical counsels and the spirit of the Beatitudes for life.
    Ongoing Formation is the responsibility of each Definitively Promised member; and should be pursued in accordance with the Formation Outline of the Province. This is a lifelong program with the goal of continuing and deepening the Carmelite vocation.