Vocation

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God calls each of us to live in love with him, to have a very special relationship with him. We live that love, in that special relationship either in marriage or single life, in priestly and/or religious life.
 
 
 
“I HAVE CALLED YOU BY NAME”
 
IS THE LORD CALLING ME?
  
VOCATION DISCERNMENT AND RESPONSE
 
Introduction
God calls each of us to live in love with him, to have a very special relationship with him. We live that love, in that special relationship either in marriage or single life, in priestly and/or religious life. A call to religious life can start with a sense of emptiness and a need for something more in life or an attraction to a life of deeper prayer and community. You may know someone in religious life and feel attracted to that way of life; you may feel a call but do not really want to go there! Perhaps it is not what you had planned for your life; you may feel unworthy of a call to religious life. 

Do not be afraid!  Anyone who has ever contemplated a vocation to religious life, knows how challenging and frightening it can be.  All of us have walked this path and felt the vulnerability of not knowing what these feelings might mean for us.  But do not be afraid, a vocation to religious life, like any other worthy vocation is built on time, prayer, wisdom and friendship.  Take your time, there is no rush, talk to someone you trust, listen to your heart especially at times of prayer.  You can contact us at any time for an informal chat about who we are and our charism or simply about where you feel the Lord might be calling you.

Seeking Guidance
There are many religious Orders and Congregations in the Catholic Church and reading about them over the internet or from other sources where you can find out about their way of life and the work they do will be very helpful. As you read about these different Orders and Congregations, in all likelihood, you will feel attracted to some more than others. This is an indication of where you might explore further. If the sense of call continues and you feel you should follow it consider talking to a vocations director. He will help you recognise whether or not a particular Order or Congregation would be the best one for you.

 Above all be patient! Be patient with yourself! Recognizing or discerning a vocation is a gentle and gradual process and can take quite a bit of time. It is good to talk about the sense of call you feel. Talk to someone you trust – a family member or friend. If you know a priest or religious, you might consider sharing your thoughts with them.

The Discalced Carmelite Life
Over the centuries, men and women have answered the call to Carmel. To thousands of men and women all over the world today who follow in the footsteps of our forebears, Carmel has become much more than a geographic place: it is a spiritual home; home to both men and women all around the globe as well as some of the most important and beloved saints in history. Still, the call to Carmel is as unique as each soul who makes the journey. The common denominator that links us is the deep desire to find a way to marry both contemplation and action in the world. We invite you to join us on the path up Mount Carmel. Answering the call to Carmel and walking in the footsteps of Jesus with Mary, Elijah and indeed all the saints of Carmel is a wonderful, deeply satisfying and fulfilling life.
 
Much has developed and changed in the 800-year life of our Carmelite brotherhood, but the common thread that has always distinguished the Carmelite way is that our life is defined by prayer, fraternity (community life) and service (apostolic works). It is a balanced way of life that leads you closer to Christ while in service to His Church.
 
Our ministry is prayer. It is the source of our life. We cannot live without it. Through it we deepen our friendship with God and find his loving presence in the world. It is the very vocation of a Carmelite to bear witness to a life of prayer; prayer is the springboard for our manifold apostolates. A special part of our prayer is time spent with God in silence. Sustained by the word of God and the sacred liturgy, we are led to live in intimate friendship with God. In prayer, we are called to a ‘hidden union with God’, in a form of life and fraternal sharing in which contemplative prayer and action combine to become a single apostolic service of the Church. By growing in the virtues of faith, hope and above all charity, we deepen our prayer life, and come to resemble more closely Christ himself.
 
Undoubtedly, those interested in the Carmelite way of life will have numerous questions. Thus, you are invited to contact us with these questions. In the meantime, the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) section below can help answer some fundamental questions about who we are.
 
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: How do I know if the Carmelite way of life is the right one for me?
A: The first question to ask yourself is “do I feel drawn to that way of life, do I find it attractive”? God often works in our lives by giving us desires for beautiful things. If what we desire is good and true, the desire is likely of God. Prayer and discernment are necessary to discern the quality of a desire to see if it is of God.
 
Q: Why would someone join this Order today?
A: Carmelites are dedicated, interesting, happy, and holy people who do a lot of great things. Men join because they want to live and work with these people. The Carmelites have a rich tradition of spiritual guides – unarguably some of the best in the Church! To be a Carmelite is to be a part of something bigger than yourself. And the Carmelite life leads you into the heart of God – people like Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux, Edith Stein and Titus Brandsma!
 
Q: What does the Carmelite way of life have to offer a world torn by terror and impoverished materially and spiritually?
A: Life is so complex, a mix of sorrows, joys, sacrifices and gifts. The Carmelite life does not falsify this complexity. Recognizing our own sinfulness, we open ourselves to God’s healing love. Recognizing the incompleteness of the Kingdom of God in the world, we strive to reach out in prayer and service to all people. In all this we find inestimable joy, the joy of Mary who witnessed the joy of the redemption of the world in the sacrifice of her son.
 
Q: Where is the Order based?
A: The Order began on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land about 1200 A.D. The international headquarters is now located in Rome, Italy. The Prior General and his Councilors and support staff live there. The Order is divided into “provinces” each under the leadership of a “Prior Provincial” and his Council. There are about 40 Provinces throughout the world including North America, Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia. The Vicariate of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Nigeria belongs to the Anglo-Irish Province.
 
Q: What is a typical Day in a Carmelite Community like?
A: While the schedules from one community to another may vary a little, according to the ministries and make-up of a particular community, they will all share a basic structure which is comprised of a few key elements: daily mass, liturgy of the hours, about two hours of personal (mental) prayer, time for meals and recreation and some pastoral work.
 
Q: Does the Order have a certain habit you wear today? What does it look like?
A: The Order has a religious garment known as habit. Our habit consists of a brown tunic (held around the waist by a belt when worn) with a scapular and capuche (hood). On special occasions and when we are buried – we wear a milk cloak called mantle.
 
Q: Are Carmelites cloistered?
A: While Carmelite nuns are cloistered, Carmelite friars are not. The Carmelite Order (the friars) belong to the Mendicant Orders in the Church; that is, members of a religious Order who move about preaching and earning their living thereof. However, the contemplative dimension of our life means we must have to balance our various activities with a life of intense prayer.  Note that there are also Carmelite sisters who are not cloistered. They might work in hospitals, schools, etc. where they are out among other people.
 
Q: What are the basic requirements for joining?
A: You have to be a baptized and practicing Catholic and ought to have completed your secondary education with the desire to live the religious life in general and an interest in living the Carmelite lifestyle in particular. Other requirements are:
 
1. Being between 18 and 24 years of age with SSCE (with a minimum of six credits including Mathematics and English    
    Language) or its equivalent or slightly older with a diploma or degree.
2. Possessing good health of mind and body.
3. Having the right intention with some level of personal integration and consistency with your professed Christian ideals
 
Q: How do I apply to the Carmelite Order?
A: Application to the Carmelite Order usually signals the commencement of the process of discerning whether one is spiritually, physically, and psychologically healthy for the spiritual ascent of Mount Carmel. Depending on the part of the country where you reside, you write a letter of application to one of our following postal addresses closest to you or simply write to our email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . You can also reach the Vocations director through the following line: 09033441746.
 
The Vocations Director
P. O. Box 3612, Enugu
Enugu State, Nigeria
 
The Vocations Director
P. O. Box 143, Nsukka
Enugu State, Nigeria
 
The Vocations Director
P. O. Box 21, Ekpoma
Edo State, Nigeria
 
The Vocations Director
G. P. O. Box 4735, Ibadan
Oyo State, Nigeria
 
The Vocations Director
P. O. Box 40, Old Karu,
Abuja, FTC