July 24, 2020

What are the requirements for admission to the Secular Order?

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The Rule states that “any member of the Church, who is called to the Lord, is free from impediments, and conscientiously accepts his/her own vocation and the Rule of Life offered by the Secular Order, can apply to a fraternity.” Local Statutes also impose minor requirements.

Above all else, the individual should have a strong attraction to the spiritual life proposed by the Rule; that is, a vocation. This should be coupled with availability of time to spend with the Lord on a regular basis. Also, there should be indications that the person is seriously considering a lifetime commitment. In other words, he/she is not just ‘shopping around’ out of curiosity or seeking an experience or so-called fulfilment.

In general, an applicant must be at least 18 years of age, be a practising Catholic in good standing in the Church, and may not be a member of another secular order. If he does belong to another order, he must obtain a letter of release before consideration is given to his application. The reason for this is that a vocation to any secular order is a serious matter and should not be set aside lightly.

Extract from an article titled Spiritual Preparation for Being Received into the Order  by Marie Janine’s OCDS, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Community, Washington D.C., in the book Welcome to Carmel, a Handbook for Aspirants