November 1, 2005


Officially can be found at:

Background of Formation Outline

At the beginning of his first term in office Fr. Phillip, in consultation with his OCDS Provincial Delegates, decided that the first priority was formation. To that end he decided that the first project of the OCDS Delegates would be to draw up, with the help of the members of the OCDS, a formation document which would provide the OCDS with guidance for their formation programs. What follows below is a more detailed account of how the Formation Outline was developed. It was approved by Fr. Phillip and his OCD Provincial Council on August 8, 2005 and published in the Clarion in the September-October 2005.

This Formation Outline is the result of a collaborative effort over the last three years throughout the Washington Province. Because of the size of the Province and the many OCDS communities within it, the Province was divided into four areas (New England, Mid-Atlantic, Mid-West and Florida) with an Advisory Council reporting to its Provincial Delegate.

Each Advisory Council wrote to all the OCDS communities within its boundary soliciting input for a Formation Outline. Communities sent their ideas and copies of what they were using to the Advisory Council. Each member of the council read all the material contributed and formed an Outline based on what was received. The members then met together in person to discuss the material and develop a single Formation Outline.

Each Advisory Council then sent its Outline to the other three Advisory Councils. The Advisory Councils then worked individually to produce a single Outline from the four submitted. At this point, there was very wide agreement among the four outlines. The final four Outlines were given to the Provincial Delegates who did some minor editing to get one uniform and consistent Outline to submit to the Provincial, Fr. Phillip Thomas.

Fr. Phillip and the OCD Provincial Council approved the Formation Outline August 8, 2005 and all OCDS communities were expected to begin implementing the guidelines at that time.

The OCDS Provincial Council will review and possibly amend the Formation Outline as they work on the Provincial Statutes, but until that time, all OCDS communities in the Washington Province are expected to continue implementing these guidelines. The Formation Program will be part of the Provincial Statues and will be sent to Rome for approval once they are completed.

Approved by Provincial Council

OCDS Formation Outline

I. Initial Inquiry
 Community should:

     1. Have a Vocation Brochure containing:
            a. Name of contact person
            b. Outline of Carmel Vocation
            c. Marian Character of the Order
            d. History of the Order
            e. Membership requirements
            f. Obligations of Members

                    i. Attendance at Community Meetings
                   ii. Half-Hour of Mental Prayer
                  iii. Divine Office
                  iv. Daily Mass (when possible)
                  v. Daily Devotion to Mary
                 vi. Participation in Apostolate of the Community
     2. Have a Personal Interview with the person
     3. Invite person to a restricted visit

II. Visitors (Guests)

     1. Required to attend several meetings (how many at discretion of Council)

     2. Review of requirements for membership (Already known from vocation brochure)

     3. Review of Obligation of an OCDS member (Already known from vocation brochure)

           a. Attendance at monthly meetings
           b. Half-hour of mental prayer
           c. Recitation of Divine Office
           d. Daily Mass when possible
           e. Daily Devotion to Mary
           f. Participation in Apostolate of the Community

III. Aspirancy
      (Preparing for reception of Scapular)
Goal: Preparing for reception of Scapular

Duration: A minimum of 12 months

     1. Requirements for entrance into Aspirancy:

            a. Letter of Intent (Why person feels called to Carmel)
            b. Proper OCDS form
            c. Current Baptismal certificate (within the last year)
    2. Course of Study
            a. History of the Order
            b. Overview of Carmelite Spirituality
            c. Nature of OCDS vocation
            d. Discussion of Discernment Process
            e. Rule of St. Albert
            f. Constitutions and Statutes
            g. Deepening of Teaching on:
                 i. Mental prayer
                 ii. Divine Office
                iii. Spiritual Reading (Scripture, Carmelite Authors, etc.)
            h. Ecclesial Dimension of the Teresian Carmel

IV. Temporary Promise
     (Preparation for Temporary Promise)

Goal: Deepening the life of prayer and preparation for making Temporary Promise

Duration: A minimum of 2 years. This period can be extend for one year (OCDS Stat #3a).

    1. Introduction to the Writings of St. Teresa
           a. Way of Perfection (Study Edition)
           b. Life
    2. Introduction to the Writings of St. John of the Cross
           a. Poetry
           b. Spiritual Canticle (St. 1-11)
    3. Prayer:
           a. Carmelite approach to prayer
           b. Methods of prayer:
                  i. Carmelite Method (Traditional Carmelite Method)
                  ii. Methods of other religious Orders, etc.
                iii.. Lectio Divina

    4. Additional study of:
          a. Rule of St. Albert
          b. Constitution and Statutes

    5. Theology of the Promise
          a. Evangelical Counsels
          b. Beatitudes

   6. Requirements to make Temporary Promise:
         a. Interview by Council
         b. Letter of Intent (Why the person wants to make Temporary Promise)

V. Final (Definitive) Promise
    (Preparation for Final (Definitive Promise))

Goal: Preparation for a life-time commitment to Carmel

Duration: A minimum of 3 years. This period can be extended for three years (Stat. #3b)

    1. Course of Studies:
           a. Works of St. Teresa:
                  i. Interior Castle
                 ii. Foundations
           b. Works of St. John of the Cross:
                 i. Spiritual Canticle
                ii. Living Flame
               iii. Ascent of Mt. Carmel
               iv. Dark Night
          c. Works of St. Therese:
                i. Story of a Soul
                ii. Last Conversations
          d. Other Carmelite Saints

    2. Prayer – Deeper study of prayer in the Works of Carmelite Saints

    3. Review of the Theology of the Promises
          a. Evangelical Counsels
          b. Beatitudes

4. Requirements to make Final (Definitive) Promise:
          a. Interview with Council
          b. Letter of Intent (Why the person wants to make Final (Definitive) Promise

VI. On-Going (Those who have made Final (Definitive) Promise/Vows)

Goal: To continue and deepen one’s Carmelite vocation

Duration: Throughout one’s life

 1. Course of Study (Carmelite spirituality in depth):
       a. Teaching of St. Teresa
       b. Teaching of St. John of the Cross
       c. Teaching of St. Therese
       d. Other Saints and Blessed of the Order
       e. History of the Order
       f. Christian Doctrine
       g. Scripture