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The Carmelite's spiritual journey

July 18, 2004

According to information from the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order Web site at www.ocd.pcn.net, the process of becoming a Secular Carmelite includes:

  • Interested people spend their first six months as "Aspirants," meeting regularly with other members of their Carmelite community to learn about the order and its spirituality. At the end of six months, an Aspirant may request to enter into the period of formation.

  • The formation period, which generally lasts two years, begins when an individual is clothed with the Brown Scapular of the order and given a copy of the Gospels and of the Rule. The Brown Scapular is two panels of cloth joined by strings and worn over the shoulders, which symbolizes the decision to follow Jesus. The Rule of the order is essentially a guidebook to living like a Carmelite. During formation, a member will study the Rule, Carmelite saints, Carmelite writings, the Liturgy of the Hours and contemplative prayer.

  • Individuals may then request permission to make public Temporary Promises, commitments to work toward "evangelical perfection in the spirit of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, obedience and of the Beatitudes, according to the Rule of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, for three years."

  • After three years, individuals may request permission to make Final Promises, substituting "for all my life" in place of "for three years."



For more information about Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Carmelite community, call the Hudsons at 301-790-3087.

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