Conflicted spiritualities?


Up until now I have always felt incredibly drawn to Carmelite spirituality, being as I have a great devotion to the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and feel far more connected with Carmelite saints such as St. Thérèse, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, if that makes sense. Last week however, I visited a Benedictine community and I can’t quite describe how but it just seemed to resonate with me and I feel 99% certain that God is calling me there - there have been a lot of strange coincidences regarding it as well which have made me able to identify with the life and community and honestly, it’s so strange but fulfilling how well I fit there unlike I have with any other order.

My question is, is it wrong to feel attracted more to the life and spirituality of one order but then still have a deep connection with another? I’m very conflicted right now, as whenever I see Carmelite life now I’m almost certain that God doesn’t will it for me, but I’m still very much enamoured with it and enjoy the contemplative detachment aspect of it.


Both spiritualities lead to the same God and are of the same spirit so I down see a probably with doing both. However I suggest you only do one at a time so that you don’t become conflicted as you say. I have never practiced any of these spiritualities so I am speaking from a guess point of view


“Carmel” is for everyone. The charism of the Teresian Carmel is deep prayer life and community. The Carmelites of the Ancient Observance are more eremitical, but they do have cloistered nuns and active sisters. Their friars are mendicant.

I read a blog entry not too long ago where a Benedictine sister of Perpetual Adoration with Hispanic roots read St Teresa of Avila, and began to constantly practice the presence of God because of it. I was astonished that she hadn’t been taught to ‘pray always’.

That being said, I also find many, many converts wanting to be another Therese.

From which I conclude that all should read Sts Teresa, John & Therese. Get that mystagogy going correctly, practicing interior silence, and you’ll get to where you’re going more resigned to God’s will.



This very issue has been going through my mind for a very long time. I was raised protestant but during my pre-RCIA time where I was deciding if I even wanted to convert I learned about the Discalced Carmelites and fell in love. I just adore them, and I seriously wanted to be one. The Carmelite spirituality and charism suits the things I value very much in my own spiritual life. They dedicate their lives to exactly how I want to live and who I want to be and what I want to do. Based on logic and this purely emotional sort of infatuation, I’m destined to be a Carmelite. I still feel this way to this day. I just love them so much!

But the problem is, those are my wants, my goals, my desires. That is my will, not God’s. To be holy we must say yes to God do His will, not our own. So when God brought a different religious community and made it fairly clear that this community was His will, even though I still feel very much drawn to the Carmelites, I must say yes to my Lord. And so by the grace of God I will be entering my second choice community in September. It’s where God wants me to be, and that’s all that really matters. He knows me better than I know myself anyways.

But maybe, for you, God’s will is in fact the Carmelites. Just keep praying about it, keep as far away from sin as you possibly can, go to Confession often and Holy Communion often as well. Follow God in the moment, one day at a time, and he will make his will known to you one way or another. Be faithful in the small things, and beg him to remove your self will from the situation. Beg that his will be done and he won’t let you down.


as ive said before, carmel–john & teresas writings–are for everyone.

carmel suits us because it explains the interior garden, which is what ‘carmel’ means. when the church wants information on the interior life, she comes to carmel.

st francis de sales and carmel are the spiritualities everyone needs to get grounded in. once you realize profound humility before god, great sweetness toward neighbor, and discover the interior castle, you’ll have found the groundwork. these drs of the church are post-reformation, and much of what they had to say was god’s answer to luther.

calvinists wanted a method – hence ‘methodist’. desales gave us the introduction to the devout life. he was credited with converting thousands of calvinists.

a sister of mary reparatrix went through the same thing – ‘carmel suits me’ she said. then an interior voice said ‘be a teresa at marie reparatrice’. the smr were ignatian.

congrats, canadienne. we will be praying for you.



One suggestion:

Delve into Benedictine spirituality. Read the Rule of St. Benedict. See how the third orders practice their faith. And then give it a try. Don’t worry about “leaving” Carmelite spirituality, this is just temporary.

If you are attracted and edified by it, you can consider a vocation with the O.S.B. But you first need to spend a little more time with St. Benedict if you are going to make a more informed decision.

May Christ richly bless you and guide you!


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