Tuesday, January 12, 2010



Formation in the Secular Order
     We undergo initial and on-going formation including formation for the Apostolate based on the teachings of the Church, of Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross and the other Saints of the Order, to develop in us our human, Christian and spiritual maturity, and to help us live our commitment as members of the Church and the Order. 

  • Initial formation generally takes six years—one year of Aspirancy, two years of Novitiate, and three years of Temporary Promise leading to the Definitive Promise. 
  • On-going formation should continue for life.
  • The OCDS Provincial Council in the Philippines (OCDS Philippines) specifies the formation programs by providing a manual to serve as a guide for all OCDS Communities. 
Observation Period. A person interested in Carmel may be allowed to sit as Observer in the monthly meetings of the community after securing permission from the Director of Formation and the approval of the President. Should the Observer desire to pursue membership in the community, he/she may apply in writing to the Council for admission and attend the monthly community meetings for at least three (3) consecutive months prior to acceptance to the Formation Program. 

Aspirancy. Aspirancy gives both the community and the candidate an opportunity to make an adequate discernment. This period usually lasts one year from entrance to the Formation Program until invited for clothing as a novice. 

Novitiate. The Novice is one who has been clothed with the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and will undergo two years of deeper formation until admitted to make the Temporary Promise. 

Temporary Promise. After making the Promise, a member will undertake for three years a more intensive study of prayer, the Scriptures, the Documents of the Church, the Saints of the Order, and formation in the Apostolate of the Order until invited to make the Definitive Promise for life. 

Definitive Promise. After making the Definitive Promise, a member shall continue with life-time formation to nourish one’s prayer life. 

Vows. A Definitive Promise member may be permitted to make the vows of chastity and obedience in the presence of the community after fulfilling all the following requirements:
  • the member manifests a strong desire to live a deeper commitment of his/her Promise and be of greater service to the Church and the Order;
  • the member’s immediate family gives its full consent;
  • the member’s personal Spiritual Director gives a favorable written recommendation;
  • the Council gives its consent;
  • the Provincial Superior gives his written approval upon the recommendation of the Council. 
      The formation period may be extended or shortened by the Council if it is for the best interest of the Community: 
  1. Aspirancy and Novitiate Programs may be extended by one year at each level. Temporary Promise may be extended by a maximum of two years. Exceptions to the above may be granted in cases where the formand takes a leave of absence for a valid reason and is allowed to come back at a later time to resume or even repeat formation, subject to the Council’s approval, under more favorable circumstances (e.g. improvement in health, family or job stability, among others)
  2. The formation period before the Temporary Promise may be shortened by the Council with the permission of the Provincial Superior for a good reason.
  3. Formators should evaluate their formands at least every six (6) months as a tool for assessing their growth. The evaluation reports shall be confidential and given to the Director of Formation who shall apprise the Council of each formand’s progress and the possible need for special attention and/or action.
  4. At the end of each level of initial formation, the formator will recommend for the Council’s approval the formand’s acceptance to the next level, or extension at the same level, or dropping from the formation program. The Council will deliberate on the recommendation of the formator and vote upon the formand/s in the following prescribed manner:
  • Proceedings must be held in a place where confidentiality can be preserved. The Secretary will also be present but will not be allowed to vote. The manner of voting should be such that the others cannot see how each Council member votes.
  • Each Council member will be given two (2) “buttons”, one black and one white; two containers will be provided, one white and the other black;
  • For a 'yes' vote, the Council member will drop the white button in the “white” container, and the black button in the “black” container. For a “no” vote, the council member will drop the black button in the “white” container and the white button in the “black” container.
  • A majority color in the white container will be considered as approval (white) or disapproval (black). A tie shall be construed as disapproval.
  • The Secretary will tally the votes in the presence of the Council and record the results in the Book of Council.
     The President should inform each formand of the Council’s decision in person and in writing. The formand not favorably voted upon should be informed in a constructive and charitable way. However, the Council and the Secretary are duty bound to maintain confidentiality of the deliberation and the voting process.

     When a candidate cannot attend ceremonials on the scheduled day for a valid reason, his/her ceremonials may be rescheduled in coordination with the Spiritual Assistant or Provincial Delegate.

               - Excerpts from the OCDS Philippines Provincial Statutes Chapter II

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