Discalced Carmelites of the Australia Oceania Region




Formation as a Discalced Carmelite Nun takes place in the Carmelite Monastery a candidate chooses to enter. In the context of religious life, the formation programme is at the service of the person and her vocation. It is a life-long undertaking, but has a special emphasis in the early years of a person’s entry into Carmel. The formation programme concerns the whole person, her socio/cultural and family background, her gifts and her spiritual journey so that the person may ‘integrate in herself, as consciously as possible, her vocation as woman, Christian and Carmelite nun.’ (Nuns’ Formation in the Teresian Carmel.)

The formation process includes discernment of vocation, spiritual accompaniment, experience of community life and instruction in appropriate subjects such as - scripture, liturgy, prayer, history and spirituality of the Order. It includes the following stages:

  • Preparatory time of guidance/instruction from a Sister designated for this purpose once a person makes contact with a Carmel
  • Possibility of a preliminary live-in before deciding to enter
  • Postulancy which may last between 6-18 months
  • A canonical novitiate year and the possibility of an extra year of novitiate
  • Temporary Vows for a minimum of 3 years before making Solemn Vows.



How do I know?

You might ask: ‘How do I know if I am called to Carmel?’ There is no easy answer to this question. Discernment of a vocation to Carmel is a process that requires time and commitment for both the candidate and community. There are some important indicators of a Carmelite vocation, but it needs to be remembered that they are characteristics that take time to develop. They are:

  • An attraction to live a life of prayer, understood as intimate friendship with Christ
  • A love for Mary, mother and model of contemplative life in Carmel
  • A willingness to listen to the Word of God and let it shape your life
  • An apostolic desire to pray for the Church, and for the spiritual good of others
  • Love for the Church, both in her mystery and her human face
  • A sense of being drawn to a life of silence and solitude, which is not an escape from the world, but a penetration into the mystery of Christ
  • A capacity to live in community
  • A growing love for Carmel and Carmelite spirituality
  • An openness to be formed.


For further information, we invite you to get in touch with any of the Carmel's communities.