Any secular carmelites here?


#1

I have been thinking for several years now about joining a religious order. When I was in college I was involved with a franciscan youth group that is connected to the lay order. I found it to be a wonderful experience and it helped me grow spiritually but I never really felt their charism. I am more inclined towards quiet and prayer and have been looking in that direction. I find carmelite spirituality beautiful and inspiring and am very much interested in pursuing this further. There is Carmel very close to where I live and I’m planning to get in touch with them and see what happens.

I was wondering if there are any secular carmelites here. I would love to hear about your experience and would appreciate advice if you have any.


#2

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:1, topic:243867"]
I have been thinking for several years now about joining a religious order. When I was in college I was involved with a franciscan youth group that is connected to the lay order. I found it to be a wonderful experience and it helped me grow spiritually but I never really felt their charism. I am more inclined towards quiet and prayer and have been looking in that direction. I find carmelite spirituality beautiful and inspiring and am very much interested in pursuing this further. There is Carmel very close to where I live and I'm planning to get in touch with them and see what happens.

I was wondering if there are any secular carmelites here. I would love to hear about your experience and would appreciate advice if you have any.

[/quote]

In 1975 a friend acquainted me with the Third Order Lay Carmelites. (O.Carm). She invited me to a meeting, as she thought I might be attracted to it. And, I certainly was! It was a small group of about twelve, and at each monthly meeting it was possible for us to have Mass said by a Carmelite priest, and he gave a wonderful talk.

In 1986 I retired to another state, and I missed the community very much. I had it in mind to perhaps start a community where I moved to but that never happened. So, I was an isolated Carmelite till the year 1999.
I then learned that a woman was going to be received into the Lay Carmelite order and that anyone who wanted to go was welcome. She had been taking instructions privately.

Well, I went and the rest is history. A new community was formed, and it was just wonderful. Here it is 2011 and we now have 44 members. There was a great hunger for that spirituality in my area. The requirements are to pray the LOTH, at least Morning, Evening, and Night prayer daily. Then we are to pray one half hour daily of mental prayer. (Scripture reading, Lectio Divina, or being with the Lord with our own words.) Devotion to Our Blessed Mother is high on the list.

Here is what one of our monthly meetings is like. We meet on the 3rd Saturday of every month.

8:00 AM - Mass
8:45 AM - Morning Prayer (Monastic style)
9:15 AM to 9:45 AM - Coffee, rolls, Business Meeting in the Hall
9:45 AM to 10:00AM - Break
10:00 to 10:30 AM - Lectio Divina as a community
10:30 to 12:00 - Book Discussion time - "Elijah, Prophet of Carmel" (with discussion questions). The discussion time is very meaningful to us.

Silent, contemplative prayer is the goal of Carmelite spirituality.

At noon all are dismissed except for those taking Candidate classes, Phase I and Phase 2. They will have teaching and discussion for two hours, on a different aspect of Carmelite spirituality, each group with their own instructor and lesson.

I so look forward to going to the meetings and being with my brothers and sisters in Carmel. It is very uplifting to be with like-minded people who give spiritual support to one another.

We have one retreat a year, and two Days of Recollection.

My becoming a Lay Carmelite came at a very turbulent time of being a wife and mother of eight. I was filled with anxiety and frustrated many times. After my friend brought me to the first meeting, it was definitely the beginning of a new time in my life. My husband had no problem with me going to a monthly meeting. I can't imagine my life now without the goal of growing in the Lord with the wisdom, instruction, and inspiration of the Carmelite Doctors of the Church.

Those who are interested in our meetings may come up to 12:00 noon and see what it is like. They may like to come for several meetings before they decide if they would like to begin at the next Candidate class. Even during the time of their coming to those classes (12 months) they will still be discerning (and so will the Council) if they should continue onto the next phase.

In Carmel,

Dorothy


#3

Dorothy,

thank you so much for your reply. It sounds absolutely wonderful. Just reading it made me want to learn about it more. It is probably not the best time for me to commit to something because I have a young baby at home and another one on the way. I'll probably have to wait for a couple of years, but that is ok. Enough time to re-read all the relevant books and to get used to praying regularly, with all the hustle and bustle of family life.

You mentioned that you have a big family. Were your children grown up when you started the formation process? Did you have time to balance your family obligations and prayer life? How did that work out?

Thanks again!


#4

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:3, topic:243867"]
Dorothy,

thank you so much for your reply. It sounds absolutely wonderful. Just reading it made me want to learn about it more. It is probably not the best time for me to commit to something because I have a young baby at home and another one on the way. I'll probably have to wait for a couple of years, but that is ok. Enough time to re-read all the relevant books and to get used to praying regularly, with all the hustle and bustle of family life.

You mentioned that you have a big family. Were your children grown up when you started the formation process? Did you have time to balance your family obligations and prayer life? How did that work out?

Thanks again!

[/quote]

I had eight children at the time, and my youngest was close to two years of age, the oldest being in high school.

It was a great blessing to me that my husband was okay with me attending the monthly meetings. The meetings were in the evenings and were not as long as the meetings are now. It is much more organized now, with lesson plans, etc.

The time I gave to prayer then was not as much as now, for obvious reasons. I was able to get up about 20 minutes before I had to wake the rest of the family to go to school, and my husband for work. That enabled me enough time to say Morning Prayer. Little by little I introduced the Rosary to my children, at opportune times. It was a struggle to form good habits, as I had to get out of the mode of anxiety, and learn how to cope with other family problems....(several children coming to be teens all at once!) All this did not happen overnight.

There are a lot of good books by the Carmelite saints, and about them by other authors. I highly recommend "The Story of a Soul" by St. Therese of Lisieux, and "The Springs of Carmel" by Peter Slattery. Studies of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila can come from CD's by priests who know how to explain their doctrine. They explain the path that all of us take as we pick up our cross and follow the Lord.

Not everyone endures the same pitfalls and graces, but basically we all need to be purified.


#5

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:1, topic:243867"]
I have been thinking for several years now about joining a religious order. When I was in college I was involved with a franciscan youth group that is connected to the lay order. I found it to be a wonderful experience and it helped me grow spiritually but I never really felt their charism. I am more inclined towards quiet and prayer and have been looking in that direction. I find carmelite spirituality beautiful and inspiring and am very much interested in pursuing this further. There is Carmel very close to where I live and I'm planning to get in touch with them and see what happens.

I was wondering if there are any secular carmelites here. I would love to hear about your experience and would appreciate advice if you have any.

[/quote]

I've been a Secular Discalced Carmelite for 30+ years; it has been a great blessing in my life and has helped me as a wife and mother (and grandmother) to live that vocation more fully through developing my interior life under the tutelage of the Carmelite heritage. I first joined the Order while living in California and eventually became Director of Formation for my Community there. We moved nine years ago to North Carolina and almost four years ago I received permission to begin a Secular Carmelite Study Group in Charlotte; our Group has grown such that in September we will be celebrating the First Promises of the first inquirers with the Group; we hope eventually to become canonically established.

I first heard of the Secular Order through a friend of mine who was herself looking into joining. (I'd known nothing about Third Orders - not unusual for a Catholic, sorry to say!). I was very interested because this was when I was really beginning to take my "born-Catholic" Faith seriously and had been desiring some further formation in the Faith, especially along the lines of prayer. I attended my first meeting and was hooked! Although I was the youngest person in attendance at that first meeting (and for several more to come!), I felt very much that I'd come home among the older people in attendance. (I'm happy to say that since that time, my original Community has expanded and the members have gotten younger as I've gotten older! ;) )

What I saw and heard very much echoed what I'd "known" in my heart for sometime - thanks be to God for His tender mercies. Discovering St. Teresa, St. John of the Cross and all our other Saints and Blesseds was a true joy. In St. John of the Cross, especially, I found a sure guide and father on the way of perfection. I loved, too, the over-arching Marian aspect of the vocation which is so strong while not being simply "devotional", if you know what I mean.

Also, the Carmelite's love of St. Joseph very much spoke to me since he's been a dear patron from childhood.

This article on the Secular Discalced Carmelites is a good introduction:

helpfellowship.org/secular_carmelite_info.htm


#6

Hi, Dorothy! :wave:


#7

[quote="FCEGM, post:6, topic:243867"]
Hi, Dorothy! :wave:

[/quote]

Hi Frances, good to see you here!.....and so glad to hear a new community has begun with the Holy Spirit using you as the instrument!

In Carmel,

Dorothy


#8

Hi Frances,

thank you for your reply.

I understand what you mean when you say you felt at home. I've never even been at a meeting but just through reading the Carmelite saints I feel like I'm at home too. No other order has attracted me in such a way.

I'ts great to hear that being a secular carmelite has helped you live your vocation more fully.

Thank you very much for the article.


#9

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:8, topic:243867"]
Hi Frances,

thank you for your reply.

I understand what you mean when you say you felt at home. I've never even been at a meeting but just through reading the Carmelite saints I feel like I'm at home too. No other order has attracted me in such a way.

I'ts great to hear that being a secular carmelite has helped you live your vocation more fully.

Thank you very much for the article.

[/quote]

My pleasure, Contra. Let us know how your meeting with the local Community goes.


#10

[quote="Dorothy, post:7, topic:243867"]
Hi Frances, good to see you here!.....and so glad to hear a new community has begun with the Holy Spirit using you as the instrument!

In Carmel,

Dorothy

[/quote]

Dorothy, the Holy Spirit had to give me a good kick in the pants to do what He wanted me to do; I was content to "rest on my (California) laurels". ;)


#11

[quote="FCEGM, post:10, topic:243867"]
Dorothy, the Holy Spirit had to give me a good kick in the pants to do what He wanted me to do; I was content to "rest on my (California) laurels". ;)

[/quote]

:) The Holy Spirit is good at that!


#12

I am a 3rd Order Discalced Carmelite or OCDS. This is my first year! It has been one of the best decisions in my life. We meet every 4th Sunday from 1:30-5:00

We have 30 minutes of prayer/meditation/contemplation in the chapel
Then we have Divine Office
Food and fellowship
then we break up into classes depending on your level. We study works by St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux and other Carmelite Saints. We also study the history of the order with Elijah.

I can’t recommend it enough, at least going as a visitor to a couple of meetings.


#13

I also am in the third order of secular discalced carmelites in buffalo, ny. I do feel at home after such a long time waiting. It is also an intense internship. We meet every 3rd saturday of the month.

Divine Office
Divine Liturgy
Meditation
Chaplet of Divine mercy
Community teaching on the Way of Perfection
Business Meeting
Lunch
Formation groups are held.

It lasts from around 9AM to 2PM. There are about 50 0f us. There is another group that gets together in the same place every second sat. of the month. About 80 in all.

I praise God for such a great gift! May His Holy Name be praised!


#14

It is really encouraging to read about your positive experiences. I think this will be just the right place for me.


#15

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:14, topic:243867"]
It is really encouraging to read about your positive experiences. I think this will be just the right place for me.

[/quote]

YAY So Happy to hear that! Do you think you might visit a community soon?


#16

[quote="FaustinaClare, post:12, topic:243867"]
I am a 3rd Order Discalced Carmelite or OCDS. This is my first year! It has been one of the best decisions in my life. We meet every 4th Sunday from 1:30-5:00

We have 30 minutes of prayer/meditation/contemplation in the chapel
Then we have Divine Office
Food and fellowship
then we break up into classes depending on your level. We study works by St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux and other Carmelite Saints. We also study the history of the order with Elijah.

I can't recommend it enough, at least going as a visitor to a couple of meetings.

[/quote]

We're neighbors! ;)


#17

[quote="Shoshana, post:13, topic:243867"]
I also am in the third order of secular discalced carmelites in buffalo, ny. I do feel at home after such a long time waiting. It is also an intense internship. We meet every 3rd saturday of the month.

Divine Office
Divine Liturgy
Meditation
Chaplet of Divine mercy
Community teaching on the Way of Perfection
Business Meeting
Lunch
Formation groups are held.

It lasts from around 9AM to 2PM. There are about 50 0f us. There is another group that gets together in the same place every second sat. of the month. About 80 in all.

I praise God for such a great gift! May His Holy Name be praised!

[/quote]

Our Group usually meets on the second Saturday of the month, but in July we'll meet on the third Saturday so as to be together on our big FEAST DAY. :bounce:


#18

[quote="FaustinaClare, post:15, topic:243867"]
YAY So Happy to hear that! Do you think you might visit a community soon?

[/quote]

I think so. But the problem is that I am expecting a baby this december and won't be able to regularly attend meetings for a few months. (I already have a baby and family obligations will have to come first for a while). It would make sense for me to go a few times, see what it is like and if I really want to carry on I will explain my situation and come back next spring when circumstances allow me some free time.


#19

:tiphat: Howdy Neighbor!


#20

Is it possible to be an isolated member of the Carmelite community of sisters? There is no order near me at all and I would just love to be part of the Secular community. I suffer with a mental disorder so I would never be able to enter the Carmelite order of nuns. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.