Today, just shy of a full, seven calendar years, by the grace of Almighty God, I made my final promise in the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites. Below is that promise:
I, Diane Marie of the Eucharist, inspired by the Holy Spirit, in response to God’s call, sincerely promise to the Superiors of the Order of the Teresian Carmel and to you my brothers and sisters, to tend toward evangelical perfection in the spirit of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, obedience, and of the Beatitudes, according to the Constitutions of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, for the rest of my life. I confidently entrust this, my Promise, to the Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Carmel.
From time to time I get people making inquiries from different parts of North America, and abroad, about the secular Carmelites.
First, there are many secular orders, as well as lay associations. Each one of these has it's own charism and role in the Church. My suggestion is to explore various orders and lay associations to understand where you gravitate - often a sign the Holy Spirit leads you in that direction. If you are very much into service, then you be sure to explore the secular Franciscans. Even if you are a great Marian devotee, it does not necessarily mean you are called to Carmel. It could be the Legion of Mary to which you are called or any number of other Marian-based options. Marian devotion in any community is a healthy sign, and it is not exclusive to Carmel. If I didn't see some basic devotion to Mary, and to the Eucharist, I would not explore other options. If you explore a community and encounter new age practices, radical feminism, or dissident attitudes, look elsewhere. If you visit a website and can't find links to the Holy See or the local diocese, that may also be a problem. I was devoted to the Blessed Mother, but was very attracted to the Carmelite works of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, as well. So, it was a perfect fit for me. You have to explore. Here is a list at the Vatican's website. Obviously, most people need something in their community. Your diocese may or may not be able to help.
All of these will require some lifestyle changes. There are requirements and in your state of life, you should be able to meet all of those requirements, most of the time. This takes adjustments and formation programs consider that by giving you time to incorporate them. In time, if you are called to a particular way of life, God will give you the graces to work through the challenges and get comfortable with it. If God calls you to something, those requirements become as natural as the hair on your head after several years of practice in formation.
Fr. Aloyisius Deeney, OCD, the OCDS Delegate in Rome, has a blog with addresses he has made in recent years with some information that should be useful in discernment. The blog has not been updated in recent years, but the information is timeless. These addresses have been included in a recent book worth getting if you are seriously considering life as a secular Carmelite. Welcome to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites is in book form, and now, in Kindle.
Now, if you are looking to see if there is a community in your area, here are two links I can give you for North America, and one link that may help people in other countries.
Update: I was just alerted to an article at OSV by Elizabeth Scalia on the subject of lay vocations. Check it out: The Continuum of Oneness. Scalia is a Benedictine Oblate.
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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.