Speaking with the Vocations Director:
If you think you may have a vocation to the Carmelite way of life, the first step is to make contact with a Carmelite in your local community or with the Vocations Director.
The role of the Vocations Director is to help those who think they may have a vocation to the Carmelite way of life to discern the best way forward. People often feel daunted at taking this step, but there is no need for concern. Any conversations with the Vocations Director are largely informal and confidential. As such, there is no real commitment at this stage. The Vocations Director can be contacted by e-mail, phone, through the website, or in person.
Having spoken to the Vocations Director, if you decide you would like to explore your vocation further, the next step will involve a ‘getting to know you’ period. This stage is designed to allow an applicant to gain a sense of the Order, and to begin to establish a relationship with the brothers. An important aspect of this stage is accompaniment.
Accompaniment is a form of spiritual direction. Basically, the Vocations Director will introduce you to a Carmelite, with whom you’ll meet on a monthly basis to discuss your vocation, your prayer life, and address any concerns or issues you may have about following your vocation. For those who have undergone the process of accompaniment, the experience has proved to be invaluable, as it encourages a deepening of one’s prayer life and a development of reflection. The period of accompaniment normally lasts from six months to a year.
During the accompaniment stage, you may also be invited to spend time in one of the Carmelite communities. This experience is designed to give you a sense of the day-to-day life of a Carmelite: an experience of community, Carmelite prayer, and to see the variety of ministries and services Carmelites are involved in. Through conversations with various Carmelite brothers, one gains a sense of the diversity of backgrounds and experiences from which Carmelites come.
Having undergone accompaniment and spent time in different Carmelite Communities, if you decide you would like to become a Carmelite, the next important step is the application process. You will be invited to write a letter of application to the Prior Provincial. Once this application letter has been received, it is normal for the applicant to undertake various forms of assessment. These include a psychological, a psychiatric and a medical assessment, as well as an interview. Having completed these, the Prior Provincial and the Provincial Council will consider the application in its entirety and respond.