Formation for Definitive Promise
To prepare those in Temporary Promises for making the Definitive Promises through a deeper immersion in the spiritual tradition of Teresian Carmel as exemplified by the Carmelite Doctors of the Church: St. Teresa of Jesus, St. John of the Cross, and St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. The candidate will work to integrate this Carmelite spirituality into their lives as lay persons.
Duration: 36 sessions in 3 years.
This can be extended for 3 years. (Provincial Statutes III, #38)
The candidate(s) will strive to maintain consistency and regularity in the practices begun in the prior levels of formation.
- Attend and participate in monthly community meetings and formation sessions
- Practice meditative/silent prayer daily for at least 30 minutes
- Pray Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours. Night prayer is encouraged.
- Participate in Daily Mass as far as possible
- Participate frequently in the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Engage in a daily examen of conscience
- Fast of the vigils of the Carmelite feasts listed in the Provincial Statutes
- Wear the brown scapular or scapular medal daily
- Participate in the community apostolate
- Share in the duties and responsibilities of the community as designated by the local council
St. Teresa of Jesus: The Interior Castle (one year)
The Interior Castle (Study Edition) is studied throughout this year of formation. It is read as Teresa’s mature teaching on the life of prayer, her last book. Fr. Kavanaugh’s introduction, summaries, notes, and glossary provide organizational helps and background information to assist in personal reading and group discussion.
St. Therese of of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face: Story of a Soul (one year)
The Story of a Soul (Study Edition) is read and studied throughout this year of formation. It is studied as the major document we have from Therese’s own hand describing her life and spirituality. The Study Edition will help to provide additional background and context to Therese’s writing.
St. John of the Cross: His Writings and Spiritual Teaching (one year)
This year of formation is built around The Ascent of Mount Carmel: Reflections by Fr. Marc Foley, O.C.D . The candidate is thus introduced to a broad spectrum of the spiritual journey, and wisdom for living it, as taught by St. John. It is expected that compatible selected chapters from The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross and the Bible would be read to accompany the brief selections to give additional breadth and context.
Requirements to Make the Definitive Promise:
- The Formation Director and Council interview the candidate and reviews the theology of the Promise
- At the invitation of the Council and after the candidate has completed 36 sessions, the Council interviews the candidate.
- At the time of the interview, a letter of intent is submitted. The candidate’s letter of intent states why he/she feels prepared and wants to make the Definitive Promise.
- The Council must then discern whether to admit the person to the Definitive Promise or recommend that the person continue an additional period of time not exceeding 3 years. (Provincial Statutes III, #38)
- Input from the Director of Formation and the Formation team is highly recommended as part of the discernment process.