Today I was received into Carmelite formation – and no, I did NOT just become a nun!

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Today I was received into Carmelite formation. Really – I couldn’t be happier! ūüôā It seems as if my whole life has lead me up to this point. Now I am part of a family where I will have the space and the resources to discover and develop a part of myself that has been screaming to get out for a very, very long time.

I have been asking people to pray for me on Facebook regarding this over the last few weeks and to my great amusement, there were quite  a large number of people who congratulated me on becoming a nun! This got even funnier when they realised I was married with 3 kids!

Let me explain…

In the Carmelite (ocds) order there are¬†the First Order – the friars (who are active/contemplative), the Second Order – the nuns (who are cloistered) and the Third Order (or ‘Seculars’)¬†–¬†laypeople who continue to live in the world, and can be married or single, and diocesan priests.¬†I am becoming a Third Order (secular) Carmelite.¬†¬†The seculars are fully part of the Order, taking similar promises to friars and nuns but related to their lives as lay people.

The first part of my formation lasts 1-2 years. At the end of this time I will make my First Promise. Then there is a second period of formation lasting 4-5 years. At the end of this time I will make my Final (life long) Promise. After this I will become a fully fledged Carmelite.

The charism (or spiritual focus) of the Carmelite Order is contemplation.¬†But a very important point is to understand that¬†Carmelites understand contemplation and action to be complementary, not contradictory.¬†This is a particularly important point to grasp because¬†I am living the Carmelite charism within my vocation as a wife and a mother. The two actually fit together hand in hand beautifully, and is perfectly described in the famous quote for Teresa of Avila “God is found among the pots and pans.”

The Carmelite Order is considered by the Church to be under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and has a strong Marian devotion. ‘Our Lady of Mount Carmel’ is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order.

We wear the Brown Scapular (which is basically a tiny habit!)

We say the Divine Office morning, evening and night prayer.

We follow the rule of St Albert.

Some famous Carmelite saints you may have heard of are¬†Teresa of √Āvila,¬†Saint Th√©r√®se of Lisieux,¬†Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Saint John of the Cross,¬†St. Simon Stock¬†and many more…

It is a way of life. A spirituality focused on the interior life – prayer from the heart, relationship with God.

I am really just scratching the surface here! And lets not forget I’m just a beginner! But I hope this goes some way to explaining what I am doing in my life now and the fact that even though I have just been received into formation, I have not just become a nun!

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I’m becoming a Carmelite!

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I’m not going to go into the long and drawn out story of how i got to this point in my life, other than to say that I didn’t realise there was a name for what i experience, and that name can be condensed into one word –¬†Carmel. For those who understand no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t, I’m afraid no explanation is possible. My heart has been in Carmel since i was 4 years old and it has taken my spirit 30 long painful wrenching years to catch up! But now it seems I can be whole again and it is time for me to take my first few steps into the home i knew was out there and have been desperately searching for my whole life.

This week i was enrolled with the brown scapular (to find out more about the brown scapular click here). Look at my big happy face! 

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It will take around 6 years in total before i can make my final profession as a secular carmelite and I would ask you now to pray for me as i start this incredibly exciting new part of my life! 

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That is all i will say for now other than if you want to know who made my beautiful brown scapular – it was my amazingly patient and kind friend Lynne and you can see more of her work here.

‚ÄúThe closer one approaches to God, the simpler one becomes.‚ÄĚ ¬†‚Äē Teresa of √Āvila