Enquirers: Lesson 1 – Orientation

Posted on behalf of Kevin


  1. To have an initial experience of a life of prayer that is liturgical, devotional and personal;  and
  2. To be able to draw out the core experience of attraction to the Order generated by a prayerful and cordial atmosphere.

Structure of Formation

Enquirers (Candidates) – A six month period of contact with the Community which can be extended to one year.  The purpose of this stage is to become familiar with the style of life and service to the Church proper to the Secular Order of the Teresian Carmel.

Novitiate – After the initial period of contact, the Council of the Community may admit the applicant to a more serious period of formation that usually lasts for two (2) years leading up to the First Promises.

At the end of this period the applicant may be invited to make the first promises to follow the Evangelical Counsels and to live in the spirit of the Beatitudes for a period of three (3) years.

Temporary Promise – In the last three (3) years of initial formation, there is a deeper study of prayer, the Scriptures, the Saints of the Order, principally Teresa, John and Therese, and formation in the apostolate of the Order.

At the end of these three years the applicant may be invited by the Council to make the Definitive Promise to live the Evangelical Counsels and the Beatitudes for life.

Formation Syllabus for Enquirer Year

General Objective

To become familiar with the community, the style of life and service to the Church proper to the Secular Order of the Teresian Carmel that will provide the community the opportunity to make an adequate discernment (OCDS Constitutions 36a).

Requirements  (refer to 6 M’s)

  1. Mental Prayer – 30 minutes daily
  2. Morning & Evening Prayer – Daily prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours: Morning Praise, Evening Prayer and if possible Night Prayer.
  3. Mass – daily if possible
  4. Mary – devotion through imitation
  5. Meetings – Involvement in the Community Monthly Meetings and participation in the monthly formation programs.
  6. Mission – we know God so that God may be known.

Our Identity (OCDS Constitutions 3)

We, the members of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites are:

  1. Faithful members of the Church;
  2. Called to “live in allegiance to Jesus Christ” through “friendship with One we know loves us” and in service to the Church;
  3. Under the protection of Our Lady of Mount Carmel;
  4. In the biblical tradition of the prophet Elijah;
  5. Inspired by the teachings of St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross;
  6. Seeking to deepen our Christian commitment received in baptism.

I have come to light a fire on the earth. How I wish the blaze were ignited.”     Luke 12:49

The central object of the process of formation in the Secular Order is to prepare the person to live the charism and spirituality of Carmel in its following of Christ and in service to its mission.

OCDS Constitution 32

There are only two duties that Our Lord requires of us – the love of God, and the love of our neighbour.  And, in my opinion, the surest sign for discovering our love to God is our love to our neighbour.  And be assured that the further you advance in the love of our neighbour, the further you are advancing in the love of God likewise.       St. Teresa of Avila

Meditation  –  Conversation with Christ – by Peter Thomas Rohrbach

A good deal of the confusion surrounding meditation results from a failure to recognise its basic, fundamental purpose.  Simply stated, the aim of meditation is to provide a framework or setting for a personal, heart to heart conversation with Christ.

St. Teresa sums up the whole matter:-

Mental prayer is nothing else than an intimate friendship, a frequent heart-to-heart conversation with Him by whom we know ourselves to be loved.    St. Teresa of Avila

Meditation then is interior prayer without the aid of rosaries, prayer books, or missals. It is the prayer in which we talk to God in our own words.

The habit of meditation should bring us into loving contact with Christ, and our affection for Him may be expressed with or without words.

Take my advice and let no one mislead you by pointing out any other way than prayer.  I am not discussing here whether mental or vocal prayer are necessary for everybody; but I contend you require both.  St. Teresa of Avila



About Les

I'm Les Walters, President in our OCDS Community from 17 July 2016 to August 2018. Now Councillor - August 2018 till August 2011
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One Response to Enquirers: Lesson 1 – Orientation

  1. Marcelle says:

    Thanks Kevin, this sets out the information really well for enquirers. I found the final part on the purpose of prayer very suitable for other formation groups as well.

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