The Church is a sign and an instrument of “intimate union with God and of the unity of all mankind.” That is what Carmel is about: the fullness of personal union with God, but also a living miniature of everything He means His Church and the human family to become. For the Triune God is himself a communion of persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — and we are made in His image.
Carmel is therefore a life of intense prayer lived in community. These two aspects complement and support one another. To be friends of God, we must be doers of the word, not just hearers. Genuine spiritual growth means living out the Gospel in the practical demands of daily life together. On the other hand, it would be impossible for a small group of very different women to live so closely together for a lifetime in such peace and joy if that life were not sustained by the grace of God, nourished by deep and constant prayer.
St. Teresa summarizes the demands of Gospel living in the three virtues of humility, detachment and sisterly love. The fruit of these virtues is a community life based on sincere respect and trust, mutual service, honest communication, and authentic Christian freedom.
All of us work together to build up and maintain the quality of community life we enjoy. Formation today includes solid education in the teachings of the Church and the traditions of the Order, so that a young religious is prepared to share in responsible decision making. It is essential to learn to express one’s own opinion honestly and courteously, and to be willing to listen to and learn from the viewpoints of others.
“Whoever would be a leader among you must make himself servant to the rest,” says Our Lord in the Gospel. Authority is placed in the hands of the Prioress in order that she may be at the service of each of the Sisters in the spirit of Christ Himself, and a bond of unity and charity among them.