Formation
Process

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Postulancy

After a simple welcome ceremony at the Enclosure Door, the postulant receives a short white veil and begins her first year of formation.

Under the guidance of the Novice Mistress, she lives and learns the basic elements of Carmelite spirituality and monastic life.  After a year, she receives the Carmelite habit and may choose a religious name.

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        Postulant               Trying on the habit                    Clothing Day

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When a woman passes through the enclosure door on the day of her entrance, she steps into a new world and a new life.  She must determine to begin again "in the way of perfection, in all humility and interior and exterior detachment, without childishness, and with a strong will." 

The reward of such a sacrifice is abundant joy and it is this deep, abiding joy of soul that is so noticeable to the world in its contacts with Carmel.

This is the sea of God's love upon the generous heart that lifts itself up in humility and trust, desiring only to be spent for God and for His Church, in the simplest and most hidden ways of Carmel's apostolate of love.

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Novitiate

Now, as a novice, she enters a period of more intensive spiritual, scriptural, theological and ascetical formation. 

The novitiate, by which life in our Order is begun, has for its chief purpose the interiorization by the novice of our spirit in following Christ in a form specific to the contemplative Teresian Carmel - she comes to know its demands and to experience them.

The years in the Novitiate of Carmel are a time of deepening faith, of renewed faith, until her judgment and understanding of all things are molded by faith, penetrated by faith.

LOVE, then, becomes faith put into action, for what is not done out of Love, in Carmel, is wasted.                                                                               

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The novice takes her part in community responsibilities, joins in community projects and shares in the joys and sacrifices that make up the life of any community.

At the end of two years, if she remains convinced that God is calling her to Carmel and she is approved by the community, she may request to make Temporary Vows for three years.

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Solemn Vows

After completing three years in temporary vows during which time she remains in Formation, the sister may be admitted to Solemn Perpetual Vows, committing herself until death to live her consecration to God supported by her sisters in that particular Carmel. 

At this ceremony she receives the black veil of a Chapter nun and the wreath, signifying that she is the Bride of Christ.

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It is a long and beautiful journey that lays the foundation for a life of deep holiness for those who persevere in their love for Christ as a consecrated person.