The Lord can give some an insight into their vocation very early and assuredly, while for others it is a great mystery to be lived and discerned day by day until their final commitment. Each and every vocation is a gift given by God for the growth of the soul and the building up of His Church. In Religious Life discernment is an effort by both the young woman herself and the community, remembering that a vocation is always a call and not simply our choice. Our main focus as Religious is seeking intimate union with God through a deep personal relationship with Him, which overflows into a genuine love for our neighbor. Through our vows of poverty, chastity and obedience we let go, in a radical way, of all that could detract from our love for God and His people. In a wholly contemplative way of life we also forgo any active ministries. This is so we can respond to God's call to devote our time completely to a life of prayer within a specific community; loving Him with our whole heart and asking His graces upon the world. In Carmel this is lived out especially in our times of mental prayer in the solitude of our hearts, as well as our recollection through the whole day. It is also lived out through our Sisterly love for one another in community with the virtues Saint Teresa encouraged so much, humility, detachment and charity!
We do not expect an applicant to be a mature contemplative from the beginning, but she must have the qualities necessary for living our way of life and growing toward the fullness of the Carmelite vocation:
Before beginning postulancy, a candidate must be at least 17 years old and have completed high school.
It is generally difficult for older women to adjust to the life of Carmel. A candidate over 40 should show exceptional preparation in in all of the areas noted above.
"Remember that you have only one soul, that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life, which is short and has to be lived by you alone; and there is only one Glory, which is eternal."
~ Saint Teresa of Avila ~
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