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Paulus

Capuchin Vs Carmelite vocation (Male)

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Paulus

Hi all, 

I'm new to this forum, but I came to ask you guys a question regarding the difference between a vocation to the Capuchin Friars and the Carmelite Friars. 

For a while now I've been pretty drawn to both of these orders, but when I try and find out the differences I seem to not be able to find much information other than their histories. I'm aware of the historical differences and their founders (or in the case of the Carmelites, their inspirations i.e Elijah, Mary, St Theresa and St John), but not much else. 

I've read that both orders have a focus on contemplation which I find very appealing, and also a big focus on the eucharist (again, very appealing). But how would I choose between orders that have very similar emphasis on these things? Do they interpret them differently and if so, how?

Another question would be that although they are similar in the areas I've mentioned, which parts of their apostolate would differ? Do they differ in who they minister to or how they minister to others?

I have contacted Friars about this but they often seem to not know enough about the orders other than their own to give me a well rounded answer on this. I've often found myself completely frustrated at the lack of clear information on vocations pages, especially when it comes to helping you choose an order. In order to make a choice I need to actually be able to understand what makes them distinct and which one I would fit into more. So I'm hoping their are some religious on here who will be able to answer these questions (and any other differences I may not have thought about) and from those who may not be in those orders, but may know a lot about them or have discerned with either or both of them before. Thank you!

Edited by Paulus

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Luigi

Academic differences and similarities are important, but.. if two orders are similar, it could come down to which one is closer to your family (for visiting purposes), or which one sponsors a ministry that you're more interested in. If you are called to be a religious, it could be that either order would support your growth in holiness equally well. But rather than us telling you the differences, it would be better for you to see/experience the differences. Have you attended a parish staffed by either order? Have you heard their preaching? Have you gone to the schools of either order? Have you volunteered with either order? Have you been on retreats led by priests of either order? Have you read the writings of any of their friars? 

Get in the trenches with them - get up close and personal - work alongside them - watch them in action. You'll see the differences yourself, and it will make more of an impact on you than anything we can say. 

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beatitude

I completely agree with Luigi. My advice would be to stay in touch with one or two communities, Carmelite and Capuchin, and see what sense of them you get as your relationship develops. Attend Mass and Office with them. Read the writings of their saints. Chat to the brothers about their lives and their stories. I don't mean asking them questions about their similarities and differences as religious orders, but simply sharing in their life and spirituality as far as you can. Discernment 'in theory' only ever takes us so far. All you need is to find one community that feels like home, and where you will be challenged to grow in holiness.

Obviously the community has to feel like you are in the right place too. (I was so nervous when I asked to enter and I knew the council were discussing me...!) This is why vocations pages might not feel as comprehensive as you would like, because communities expect that candidates will make the decision in conjunction with them, as time goes by and everyone gets to know one another. No one can decide to join an order based on their website any more than they can unilaterally decide to marry someone based on their online dating profile. So a ton of information isn't needed, just the basics. You already know enough to realise that you're attracted to Carmelite and Capuchin ways of life, so now the best thing really would be to spend time with the friars in person.

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Nunsuch

Charism and ministry/apostolate are two very different things. You need to focus on their charism and spirituality. While both orders are mendicants, Franciscans put more emphasis on poverty/simplicity, while the Carmelites are more likely to put more emphasis on solitude and penance. These are genereralizations but, I think, legitimate ones.

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gloriana35

I agree with Luigi and Beatitude - though I know that, today, many congregations have small membership, and may not have many houses. I did know Capuchins well (in Italy - and they are deceased), and the ones I knew staffed parishes and a few boys' secondary schools. A few of their members were hospital chaplains, and some of the Brothers assisted with work around the parishes and with such efforts as second-hand shops and homeless shelters. The ones I knew were very hard-working (at anything - the superior didn't flinch at pulling the weeds), not intellectual, and engaging preachers - the sorts who might not win awards for exegesis, but who could express elements of a scripture passage in a way with which parishioners could identify. Years later, I learnt that so few friars were left that they no longer staffed the parishes.

If you can attend services at Capuchin or Carmelite churches or religious houses, perhaps attend events, get to talking with friars (I knew few Carmelites, but Franciscans tend to be friendly and talkative), and even volunteering in some small way (helping with a fund-raising party, for example), it could give you a good idea of how they perceive and live their calling. Most of the Capuchins I knew (again, years ago - and at a time when even those too young to be novices could enter as aspirants) initially recognised their vocations from having been in Capuchin parishes. 

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Lilllabettt
On 8/7/2019 at 11:01 PM, Paulus said:

Hi all, 

I'm new to this forum, but I came to ask you guys a question regarding the difference between a vocation to the Capuchin Friars and the Carmelite Friars. 

For a while now I've been pretty drawn to both of these orders, but when I try and find out the differences I seem to not be able to find much information other than their histories. I'm aware of the historical differences and their founders (or in the case of the Carmelites, their inspirations i.e Elijah, Mary, St Theresa and St John), but not much else. 

I've read that both orders have a focus on contemplation which I find very appealing, and also a big focus on the eucharist (again, very appealing). But how would I choose between orders that have very similar emphasis on these things? Do they interpret them differently and if so, how?

Another question would be that although they are similar in the areas I've mentioned, which parts of their apostolate would differ? Do they differ in who they minister to or how they minister to others?

I have contacted Friars about this but they often seem to not know enough about the orders other than their own to give me a well rounded answer on this. I've often found myself completely frustrated at the lack of clear information on vocations pages, especially when it comes to helping you choose an order. In order to make a choice I need to actually be able to understand what makes them distinct and which one I would fit into more. So I'm hoping their are some religious on here who will be able to answer these questions (and any other differences I may not have thought about) and from those who may not be in those orders, but may know a lot about them or have discerned with either or both of them before. Thank you!

Do the Carmelites have a big emphasis on the Eucharist? I didn't think they did? (I mean relatively; hopefully the Eucharist is an important part of every form of Catholic religious life.) 

Of course, I'm more familiar with the women's side of Carmel. But there is only 1 Carmel I know of that has daily adoration (in St Louis). My sense is that as an order they are more into devotion to the Divine indwelling? 

Overall, Carmel has an emphasis on the mysticism, spirituality, interior side of Christian life - whereas Franciscans are more concrete/incarnational.  The cross, the crib, the eucharist, and so on. 

 

 

Edited by Lilllabettt

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chrysostom

All these vs threads in VS. Just put the two sides in a cloister and make them fight! (just kidding)

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