Carmelite Spirituality


Hi is there anyone who is a member of Third Order Carmelites? Do they have a rigid spirituality?


What do you mean by “rigid spirituality”?


I too would have to ask what you mean by “rigid.” The secular Carmelites have daily prayer requirements but so do all the other secular orders I’ve read about. But that’s not what I would term the “spirituality” of the order…I really don’t have any way to answer your question without a bit more detail from you.


Hi I’m sorry. I wanted to know if Carmelites are strict in their formation.


Well....formation is: 6 months to 1 year as an aspirant; this is where you learn a bit about the secular Carmelites in general and the community that you are thinking about becoming part of. Then 2 years in first formation where you study more deeply about the actual spirituality of the Carmelites. Examples of what you read are selections from the Secular Constitutions, selections from the Catechism, some of Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, some church documents, etc. Most communities meet once per month and this is where you discuss and go over the assigned readings. You don't do all those things I mentioned at one time! It is in manageble portions. There are some few papers to turn in but (at least so far--I'm in first formation) they aren't long papers. If you and the community still feel that you have a vocation you are invited to make first promises and then go on into second formation. This lasts for 3 years and more or less continues on even deeper than first formation. After that, if you and the community still feel that you have a vocation to the Secular Carmelites you are invited to make final promises.

Having said all that, I will say that the time-lines are somewhat flexible; the individual community will tell you about that. Your clothing in the large scapular comes before first formation. It is important to attend all the monthly meetings (illness and major conflicts are something else). By the way, all this is for the Discaled Carmelite Seculars; regretfully, I don't know a thing about the O.Carms Third Order.

Hope that helps you! Maybe it gives you a direction for more questions....feel free! God bless you.


I second that…here in Buffalo (I live in Canada), the aspirancy is one year, receiving the scapular for the novitiate that lasts for 2 years (ours will last 2.5 years)…then riest promises (where you receive your religious name) for three years then definitive promises. There is a motto for us young ones to follow: the three ‘M’

  1. Mental Prayer: at least 30 min daily
  2. Mass. Try to go more frequently to Holy Mass
  3. Mary: we practice some devotion to Our Blessed Mother daily, ie: we look to Mary as she meditated on the Life of Christ in her heart; Rosary, Angelus, Litany of Mary; we wear the Scapular, etc.
  4. Morning and Evening Prayer Divine Office and strongly encourage Night Prayer which includes the Divine Office
  5. Meetings: monthly meetings

There is homework and we had 5 chapters to cover this month on the Way of Perfection’…with about 15 questions or so. Homework must be done. Hope this helps! :slight_smile:


OOps...and there is 30 minutes of spiritual reading...


It’s pretty much the same in the O.Carm branch.


Carmelites are amazing. Please become one!


Hey, No it’s not rigid,

I passed three years to a Carmel then i decided to leave for many reasons. But it’s a nice life, good formation. And the formation depend on the province where you enter.




Thank you for all the information! I'm considering joining Third Order Carmelites and I'm happy I asked you guys


Hi AmazingLove.

You didn’t specify which of the two branches of lay Carmelite groups you mean: OCDS or O’Carm. I understand both are similar in observance.

I belong to OCDS (Theresan secular Carmelites…Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese).

Here in Australia the practice is exactly the same. I have been in Formation for near on two years, and would be likely to continue shortly to take first-promise (whereby one is formally a member of the order.) Up till then you are trying, enquiring, aspiring… testing.

The ‘rigid’ you mention is not difficult. Daily prayer, a special devotion to Mary, following and learning the spirituality / writings of the founders (especially Theresa & John of the Cross.) The spirituality is contemplative (personal, private prayer in solitude) and communal.

May the Lord lead you where He himself chooses you to be.
Peter Murphy



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