The formation process in our Community at Roebuck-Dublin 14

On 29th June 2016, the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Paul, the Church, through Pope Francis, graced all contemplative nuns, with a new, long-waited, and meaningful Apostolic Constitution “VULTUM DEI QUAERERE” (SEEKING THE FACE OF GOD) on Women's Contemplative life. This Apostolic Constitution was addressed to all the female religious Congregations living an enclosed life, and that includes us Teresian Carmelites. Pope Francis then directed the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life to draft an Instruction for Application, which was approved by Pope Francis himself, and it was published as “COR ORANS” on May 15th,2018, which means “the praying heart”. On 15th August 2019, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life published another document with the title “The art of seeking the face of God”, having for subtitle “Guidelines for the Formation of Women Contemplatives” which explained its formative purpose. These three documents touched twelve important aspects of our Consecrated Life, and one of them was the importance of formation on the way to total consecration to God in a monastic way of life. COR ORANS (the praying heart) synthesizes beautifully our vocation and mission of being contemplatives in the Church and for the Church. Previous to May 2018 the time of formation in our Carmelite Communities was six years; with the issuing of COR ORANS the time of formation was lengthened to nine years minimum and not exceeding more than 12 years. This is a long period of formation and preparation for full membership of our way of life, but long enough to help the young woman to discern and to be sure that this is the way that she really desires to live for the rest of her life in complete self-giving and openness to the love of God and working for his Kingdom through prayer, contemplation, and the joy of fraternal life which characterizes our Carmelite communities. At any stage of initial formation, the candidate is free to leave.

First Step: Aspirancy, can last from one to two years. During this time the Community and the candidate get to know each other by a series of visits and communications. The candidate is allowed to experience life within the community from time to time. During this time, she will glimpse daily life spent in enclosure, silence, solitude, prayer, work and our times of joyful recreations in community. The next step is taken when the candidate and community mutually agree that she is ready.

Second Step: Postulancy, a gradual transition from lay life to the life proper to the novitiate. This stage will help the candidate achieve human and emotional maturity. The fundamental aim of this period is the discernment of the candidate's vocation, it is important from the beginning that she understands through the study of and meditation on Sacred Scriptures, the manner in which God speaks, calls, makes a covenant. The postulancy is not a phase of religious life but a preparation for it. The postulant lives in the monastery and follows the life of the community. She takes part in the daily celebration of the Eucharist and the Divine Office. The duration of this stage is one to two years. Again, the candidate takes the next step when she and the community mutually agree she is ready.

Third Step: Novitiate, begins with the Rite of Initiation into Religious Life, in which the candidate is given the habit of the Order. This period, which lasts two years, has for its chief purpose the interiorization by the novice of our spirit in following Christ in the form specific to the contemplative Teresian Carmel. The candidate comes to know the spirit of our Order, more deeply with its demands and challenges. It is a time of intense preparation for making the temporal vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Fourth Step: Temporary profession, last stage of initial formation, which lasts not less than 5 years. During these years of temporary vows, “the simply-professed sister will deepen the practical understanding and knowledge of the doctrine which she began to learn during the novitiate in order to interiorize them more completely and prepare herself in an adequate way for the definitive consecration of solemn vows”. The Art of Seeking the Face of God states “the young professed are to learn to find a proper balance between study and their commitments in community, between the life of prayer and generosity in work, between solitude and relationship with their sisters”. The Ratio for the Carmelite Nuns affirms that “they will learn to develop the ability to work on their own, with perseverance and with intelligence, thus establishing firm foundations and methods for their ongoing formation”.

Under the guidance of the Mistress of Novices and other Sisters when necessary, the newly professed sister will continue on the first years of initiation into biblical, theological, liturgical and Teresian Carmelite spirituality and charism.

Finally, having persevered this far she will make her solemn vows. She now begins her Carmelite life in earnest, she will continue to form herself in ongoing formation for the rest of her days.

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If you are considering of joining an enclosed religious life, and perhaps you are having your doubts or are not sure, please do not hesitate to contact us for further information. We are here to help and support you whole heartedly on your journey of searching, discerning and finding God's will for you.

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If you are not available on those days mentioned above, you can text us and we will be happy to give you another day that suits you.

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