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Mystical Rose of Carmel - Third order Lay Carmelites

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The Mystical Rose of Carmel Lay Carmelite Community had its start six years ago when a group of interested people got together as a Carmelite Spirituality Study Group. That is how an official Carmelite Third Order Community gets its start. After about three years, we were given approval as an established Community, and we have continued since that time. As of today we have 2 finally professed members, 3 professed members, and one member in her second year of formation.

Formation is a six-year process that mirrors the formation for the Carmelite Friars, Nuns and Sisters. Formation has several steps:

Phase I: One year in duration; at the completion of this year, the new Carmelite receives the Ceremonial Scapular, the visible sign of membership in the Carmelite Family;


Phase II: Two Years in duration; at the end of this phase, the Carmelite makes their Profession of First Promises to the Prior Provincial of the Carmelites of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Province, and to the Prior General of the Carmelite Order in Rome. (During these first three years, the discerning Carmelite attends one 2.5 hour formation Session each month, as well as a 2.5 hour Community Meeting each month.)

Phase III: Three years in duration; at the end of this phase, the Carmelite makes their Profession of Final Promises to the Prior Provincial of the Carmelites of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Province, and to the Prior General of the Carmelite Order in Rome.

About half of the monthly Community Meeting includes Ongoing Formation using books written by Carmelite Saints as well as contemporary Carmelite authors. At meetings we also experience Lectio Divina, and we pray the Liturgy of the Hours.

We meet for our Formation Classes on the 4th Saturday of the Month at 11:30am, and for our Community Meeting on the 4th Saturday of the Month at 2:00pm in the Parish Hall, 1024 West Main Street, Forest City, NC 28043.

For information, contact: Penny Watkins, T.O.Carm., (828) 436-5161, or at pjwlmg@gmail.com

How is Lay Carmelite living meaningful in the church today?

The Lay Carmelite is called to the Family of Carmel to be deeply involved in the mission of the Church, to contribute to the transformation of the secular world. A Lay Carmelite does this by sharing in the charism of the Carmelite Order. We find in Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and in the Prophet Elijah the models for this way of Gospel living, Profession of promises as a member of the Lay Carmelites is an intensified commitment to the living of one’s baptismal promises. Being a Lay Carmelite is not just a devotion added to life; it is a way of life, a vocation. By entering the Order, the Lay Carmelite takes upon him/herself the Carmelite charism of prayer, community, and service to others. The call to Carmel, a call to seek God’s will in the ordinary circumstances of everyday life, roots Lay Carmelites in a love of those with whom they live and work, in the recognition of God’s presence in all circumstances, and in solidarity with God’s People everywhere.

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What is this relationship that Carmelites have with Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and the Prophet Elijah?

Mary is Patroness, Sister and Mother to all Carmelites. Lay Carmelites have to live this relationship, imitating her virtues, listening to the Word of God in and through daily life. Lay Carmelites stand with Mary, cooperating with the mysterious will of God who desires salvation for all people. Elijah is an example of prophetic action, a life spent in service of God, a service that finds its source in a profound experience of God in prayer. Lay Carmelites see in the prophet of Carmel a model for a life spent testifying in deeds of love to God’s presence in the world.

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What are the requirements for admission to formation?

A candidate must be a Catholic fully participating in the sacramental life of the Church, who feels called by God to live more deeply one’s baptismal vo-cation as a member of the Carmelite Family. A candidate must be at least 18 years of age when seeking entry to the formation program. A person is ad-mitted to formation through an existing Lay Carmelite community.

What is expected of a Lay Carmelite?

• To participate in the daily celebration of the Eucharist when possible
• To spend about ½ hour in meditation each day, reflecting on the Scriptures, using Lectio Divina, or some other appropriate method of personal/reflective prayer
• To pray the Liturgy of the Hours – Morning and Evening Prayer – in union with the Church throughout the world
• To spend some time doing spiritual reading each week
• To attend the monthly community meetings and other (periodic) community activities
• To wear the Brown Scapular daily as a sign of dedication to Mary, trust in her motherly protection, and as an expression of one’s commitment to live in allegiance to Christ by serving others

Candidates studying to become a Lay Carmelite are also expected to:

• To meet monthly with the formation director for a two-hour class in the Phase 1 formation program, which consists of 12 lessons in preparation to be received into the Lay Carmelites
• After Reception, to meet monthly with the formation director for a two-hour class in the Phase 2 formation program, which consists of 24 lessons in preparation to make temporary profession as a Lay Carmelite

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