The call to the consecrated life, particularly to the contemplative life of Carmel, remains a mystery, because it is a work of the Holy Spirit. Women who desire to join the Teresian Carmel are persons of prayer who aspire to a life of love in communion with God in a sisterly community.
The purpose of consecrated life is conformity to the Lord Jesus in his total self-giving, taking on the attitude of Christ towards the Father.
Formation concerns the whole person. It seeks to harmonise the gifts of nature and grace in such a way that a Sister might live out her vocation as woman, Christian and Carmelite nun.
When a woman wishes to discern whether God is calling her to our way of life, she contacts us and a time of initial discernment begins. Regular contact with the community continues over an extended period, either by visits if she lives nearby, otherwise by letter, email or phone. If there are signs of a vocation, she may then be invited to come to live in the monastery for a period of up to 3 months. After reflecting on her experience, and confirming that God may be calling her to our life, she may ask to be admitted to postulancy in our Order.
Initial formation extends for at least 6 years. Its purpose is to enable candidates to have practical experience of the Teresian Carmelite life and to interiorize its spirit. This time is made up of 3 stages:
Postulancy: Lasting 6 -18 months. At the end of this time of discernment, the candidate receives the habit in a private ceremony in community and becomes a member of the Carmelite Order.
Novitiate: Lasting 2 years.
When the Novitiate is completed, if the Sister and the community believe that God is calling her to the Order, she makes her temporary profession of the vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience during Mass. This is renewed annually.Temporary Profession: Lasting at least 3 years. The purpose of this period is to give time for the growth in the young professed, both as regards their spiritual life and personal study. If, at the end of the period of temporary vows, the Sister and the community believe that God is calling her to commit herself completely to him, she then makes her Final Vows.