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Carmelite Monks
Frequently Asked Questions

Contact the Carmelite Vocations Director Here

1 - How do I know that God has given me a vocation to become a Carmelite Monk?
2 - What kind of men become monks?
3 - I lived a sinful life in my past. Can I still become a monk?
4 - What is the average age in your community?
5 - What are the requirements to enter?
6 - Do the monks leave the monastery?
7 - Do the monks ever talk?
8 - Do monks laugh?
9 - What do monks do all day?
10 - How old must I be to enter?
11 - Are there any educational requirements?
12 - I am thinking of going to college before discerning a vocation. What do you recommend?
13 - Do I have to know Latin?
14 - I cannot carry a tune! Can I still become a monk?
15 - How quickly can I visit?
16 - What should I do to prepare for my vocational visit?
17 - When can I enter?
18 - Once I enter will I ever see or talk to my family again?

The person with a religious vocation increasingly finds that there is a restlessness of spirit that only the things of God seem to fill. Marriage may be attractive, but there is the question of whether or not God has something more in mind. A few questions to consider include:

Are you happy, yet find that deep within you there is an unfulfilled longing? With all that you have, is there is a sense that it is not enough?
Do you feel drawn to daily Mass and more prayer than your present schedule permits?
Do you enjoy sharing your faith with others, most especially those who are searching for God?
When you first considered religious life, did the idea catch you off-guard?
Do you find that you possess a great love for the Church and her teachings?
When you have contact with priests and religious, is there a sense of connection, an attraction to the joy and conviction they possess?

Even though there may be trials and hardships in discerning your vocation, it is a good sign if you have a deep peace about considering more closely a call to the consecrated life.

Normal men. Your best friend, your neighbor, the altar server at your parish church. The religious life is not a place for misfits or oddballs, but rather for men called from the world by God to a life of prayer in the joy of the monastic community. Our monks were star athletes, prom kings, class presidents, soldiers in the military, professionals in the business world; we come from all walks of life, but share in common the desire to follow the Lord as His priests and His brothers in the cloister of Carmel.

Absolutely. Great sinners can become great saints with God's grace. Many of our monks experienced the Lord's unfathomable mercy in their conversions/reversions to Holy Mother Church after lives far from Christ. Now they are able to spend their days in reparation and in love. "He who has been forgiven much, loves much." One need only think of St. Augustine, St. Mary Magdalene, Bl. Charles de Foucauld, and countless others who experienced the Divine Mercy of God and left everything to follow the Lord. Take heart.

Our average age is 28 with many of our monks in their late teens and early twenties.

Below are listed some prerequisites for consideration as a candidate for entrance:

  • A member in good standing of the Catholic Church;
  • At least 18 years of age;
  • Sufficient health;
  • Emotional stability;
  • The ability to live happily within community;
  • The ability to live consecrated chastity;
  • Free of any bonds, such as marriage vows or sacred promises in another institute of consecrated life; and,
  • Free from any debts or loans.

Each applicant is reviewed individually. Minimally, one must be a high school graduate. Our stated age limit is 28 years of age.

No. We live Constitutional Enclosure, which means that we spend the entirety of our religious life behind the monastery walls. Our Holy Parents St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross established this hidden life of enclosure as a fruitful means of grace for the Church and the sanctification of her members. That being said, the enclosure is something we grow into and learn to love as we advance in the life of prayer and contemplation.

Yes! While we strive to observe silence throughout our day, and only speak when necessary, the monks share a daily hour of recreation where they are able to enjoy one another's company and speak freely.

Carmelite monks are men of joy; they laugh a lot. During recreation, it is not uncommon to find the monks telling jokes or roaring with laughter at the thought of a recent funny experience. The religious life is a happy life.

The monastic day passes with extraordinary rapidity as a monk's day is well balanced between times of prayer in common and in solitude, monastic labor, and rest. There is truly never a dull moment.

One must be 18 to 28 years of age to enter.

A high school level diploma or equivalent is required.

God calls us in His time, which is always perfect. Some of our monks have attended college; others have not. If you are in high school and seriously considering entering religious life, we recommend that you give serious thought and prayer to entering the monastery after high school. After all, you do not want to wait if God is calling you now and you will have an opportunity to learn and study within the context of the monastic life!

No. Learning Latin takes time and it is part of our formation process. If God is calling you to our community, you will find that by being immersed in the Latin Liturgy you will quickly begin to learn the Latin language with little effort.

Absolutely. The Lord gives each of us unique gifts and talents. We devote much time to learning how to sing and to mastering Gregorian Chant. Many of our monks who entered the monastery with little or no experience singing are now able to satisfactorily chant the Divine Office with ease.

We offer two specific vocational retreats during the year, and during the application process you will be given the earliest time available. For 2016, the final retreat of the year is scheduled for December 29, 2016 to January 2, 2017.

We suggest that you become more familiar with our spirituality by reading the writings of our Carmelite saints, particularly Story of a Soul and My Sister St. Therese. Also it is a good idea to bring work clothes and some boots, as you will get an opportunity to work with the monks.

Once the application process has been completed and the Fathers have sufficiently discerned that you do indeed have a vocation, an entry date will be arranged. Since this process is largely dependent upon your ability to compile the necessary documentation and arrange a visit, the application processing time varies from candidate to candidate.

Yes! The families of the brothers are welcome to come to the monastery once or twice a year for a few days to visit and spend good, quality time together. The brothers call home once a month and writing letters is also permitted. The monks see this as a healthy means for the young postulants, novices and their families to grow in the understanding of the deep joy that a religious possesses. We remain deeply united to our families and often times find that our parents and siblings' greatest joy is to come on a "vacation" to see their monk-son.