I. Postulancy

Although religious life, properly speaking, begins with the novitiate, a fitting preparation for it requires an earlier stage of formation which we call postulancy.

As such postulants are gradually introduced to religious life in the Teresian Carmel.  They are given classes, with obvious particular emphasis on the Carmelite Tradition and its place within the history of religious life.  They are introduced to both the liturgical prayer (liturgy of the hours) and private prayer (mental prayer) that make up so much of the life of a friar.

Postulants have a director that is assigned to them in order to help them in their process of integration. 

Postulancy usually lasts about six months. 

^ A novice is clothed in his Discalced Carmelite habit. 

II. Novitiate

The basic purpose of the novitiate, by which a novice begins his life in the Order, is to offer him a genuine experience of what it means to be consecrated to God in the Teresian Carmel.  This reality is marked by his reception of the habit and name and title.

It is an intense year when a man receives formation in the contemplative, fraternal and apostolic aspects that comprise the rich tradition that is our spirituality and way of life.

Novices receive classes to help immerse them in our spiritual patrimony and assist them in their transition to full Carmelite life.

Most of all the novitiate is ordered to be an intimate, profound, and life changing experience of God. 

The novitiate is a year of grace and an essential foundation for the whole life of a religious.  As such novices are assigned a novice master who is both knowledgeable and experienced in the spiritual life and especially in the life of Carmel.

The novitiate lasts a canonical year.   

III. Temporary Vows

If discernment and evaluations are favorable, novices at the end of their novitiate are permitted to profess temporary vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

The time of temporary vows is one of continued formation in the Carmelite life and formal study.

In this stage vows are renewed yearly, as vocational discernment and evaluation continue, for a period of three to five years.

The time of temporary vows is when the friar tests his vocation by living as fully as he can the Carmelite life as a vowed member of the community.  He is assisted in these efforts by a director of formation.

^ Men make their temporary vows at Holy Hill.  

IV. Studies

St. Teresa of Jesus always admired religious who were both spiritual and learned.  As such the friars of her reform strive to excel in each of these areas. 

  • Studies are made during the time of temporary profession and are meant to both theologically form a friar’s life and prepare him for the ministries he will perform as a friar whether priest or brother.
  • Students live in a community, under the direction of a rector, and are provided an environment to foster study as well as to continue to challenge them in their spiritual growth.
  • Students for the priesthood fulfill all the requirements as prescribed by both canon law and our conference of bishops.

V. Solemn Profession

After the years of temporary vows, a friar can petition to make their solemn profession of vows.

If accepted he will spend about three months in preparation, a time known as the second novitiate, often including a retreat at our hermit community in Hinton WV.

With solemn vows, a friar becomes a full member of the Province with all the rights and responsibilities provided by Canon Law and our Constitutions.

^ Men make their solemn profession.

VI. Ordination

Religious in the Teresian Carmel can only be ordained as transitional deacons after they have made their solemn profession.

Deacons usually spend a year serving in one of our parishes either at Holy Hill: the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians or St. Florians parish in Milwaukee, WI prior to their ordination to the priesthood.

Newly ordained friars receive their conventuality (the monastery they will live in) and ministry assignments from the provincial.