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Carmelites Vs. Franciscans


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I've been thinking a great deal about what originally drew me to the Carmelites and why I was so intrigued by them. I remember how I learned about them, and it was through watching a movie about St. Therese. Something about the habit was very interesting and I wanted to learn more about them. It was very much only about the habit at first, which I realize was a mistake. I also think that the saints and I don't really have much in common. I've never really been much for either St. Teresa or St. John, although I tried to read about them. They are very beautiful but I always felt that something was missing.

I've read a lot of vocation material, and God pulls us towards what He knows will make us truly happy. I went over my life and what my influences were and such and how I pray. I'm actually not very contemplative. I've always been more of an "act on prayer and love" type person. Although there are days when all I want to do is pray, I've always been taught that actions speak louder than words. That's where St. Francis comes in. I've been trying to read up about him and the way he taught and acted, and I think I'm very much drawn to him. I am reading a book now called "The Lessons of St. Francis" by John Michael Talbot and I'm trying to discern whether my attraction is in my heart and is because of the inside aspects of the Franciscan spirituality or if it's just based on outside attraction. So far, it's because of the inside aspects. :) I'm not simply drawn to them because of the habit or whatever.

I watched a movie last night that is one of my very favorites called "Clare and Francis" (or "Chiara e Francesco"). It's an Italian film, with English dubbing. I was very fortunate to find it at a nearby shrine's gift shop yesterday. The first time I saw it, about 3 months ago, I loved it. This time, I watched it and I tried to really analyze the spirituality of the order and if I could see myself living the same life. In all honesty, I'd fit in much more there than Carmel. :)

So, I think I've found my real place in the spiritual world. I believe I am called to the Franciscans and I was all along but I was WAY too stubborn to see it. Carmel will always be intriguing to me, but I can't see myself there anymore. It's not just because of what happened last month, although that had something to do with it.

I'm still "pounding the pavement" and sending out job applications and resumes at hospitals and nursing homes (I have 3 more to apply to tomorrow). I am continuing to pray for God's loving guidance and I only want to do His will. I hope that He wills me to get a job soon so I can go visit the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal and find out if God is calling me there or not. If not, then I'll keep trying (the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate would be next on my list). I don't intend to give up anytime soon! ;)

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I will hold you in my thoughts and prayers as you continue your journey:) I too am in the process of looking at different orders/communities, at the moment I am interested in the Carmelites and the Dominicans and I'm hoping to visit both within the next 2/3 months.

May the Lord lead us both to where he wishes us to be :))

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Laudem Gloriae

I have discerned with the PCCs for a long time and know of your conflict! Besides that movie, "Clare and Francis" which I have too, I also have these movies listed below (links from Amazon) - in case you haven't seen these. These are FANTASTIC! Yes, some have historical inaccuracies like the St. Franis movie having Clare the same age as Francis when she was 12 yrs younger than him and then when she runs off to join Francis they keep her in the Benedictine monastery (when she was only there temporarily) the WHOLE time and they never have her found the Poor Ladies! Besides things like this it is a wonderful showing of the Franciscan life and St. Francis. As is the one on St. Anthony - more inaccuracies and the older one from 1961 has it's "flaws" but they aren't heretical or anything and are a joy to watch. I have all of these.


St. Francis : [url="http://www.amazon.com/St-Francis-Raoul-Bova/dp/B000F48D8M/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1245003710&sr=1-10"]http://www.amazon.com/St-Francis-Raoul-Bov...710&sr=1-10[/url]

St. Anthony (of Padua): [url="http://www.amazon.com/Saint-Anthony-Daniele-Liotti/dp/B000MTEKGE/ref=pd_sim_d_4"]http://www.amazon.com/Saint-Anthony-Daniel.../ref=pd_sim_d_4[/url]

Francis of Assisi (1961 & with Dolores Hart who became Mother Dolores at the Benedictine community of Regina Laudis): [url="http://www.amazon.com/Francis-Assisi-Bradford-Dillman/dp/B0006GANY6/ref=pd_sim_d_5"]http://www.amazon.com/Francis-Assisi-Bradf.../ref=pd_sim_d_5[/url]

Also don't worry about thinking it is wrong to be attracted to an order by the habit! It's not silly nor superficial. I have visted PCCs, Carmelites and Dominicans in person and wrote many more and the majority of these that I wrote to (which the number is quite alot in my 14 yrs discerning!) something like 95% or so told me of a sister in each of these orders who originally was drawn to them due to their habit! One PCC told me these exact words (I remember them as they were so sweet!) by an elderly nun, "Oh yes dear, I came here because I wanted to dress like these sisters. The habit of St. Clare and St. Colette is so plain and humble. There is no need to change it - it is so comfortable"

The all pretty much said the same thing: God calls each person differently and by different means to start - whether the habit, location, etc. and not always by it's saint or spirituality or apostolate. So don't be hard on yourself! It may be God's way to get you to look at the order he wants you in! Who knows?! You might see a nun/sister in a certain habit (whether they are familiar to you or not) online, in a picture or in person, be attracted by it, look them up and find that is the order for you!

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I hope I am not being too hard on myself. I have a problem with superficiality and I'm trying to break that. I want to go deeper in to the heart of the order before making my decision, but if I were to choose an order right now, I would run and join the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal. Being with them has brought incredible and immeasurable joy to my spiritual life, which cannot be said in the same way for the Carmelites. It's strange how God leads us in completely different paths that we originally imagine, but I am so happy at the prospect of being Jesus' little Franciscan bride, if He will have me.

There were times when I was surreal-ly happy with the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus. I think that's why I applied there, but I think I was not finding the right peace with them. It didn't feel as whole as it does now. I won't say yet that this is my final decision because I am always moving and changing and God may have completely different plans than I imagine. I'm open to God's will entirely and if He wills me to be in ANY order, I will be happy. :D

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A Poor Clare novice mistress once told me that the Carmelite charism is so close to the Franciscan that vocations may have difficulty discerning between the two. She also told me that to learn and love Carmel is a great way to grow in Franciscan spirituality.

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laetitia crucis

A couple of months ago, when talking about discernment with one of the Sisters of Life, she had said that sometimes a "sign" of not being called to an order is simply not being able to see yourself in that order's habit the rest of your life. ;) If I remember correctly, I think one of the vocation directresses told her that. :hehe:

And I suppose as superficial as this may sound on my part :tomato: , I know I just couldn't see myself in a black habit for the rest of my life.

May our Blessed Mother continue to guide you in your discernment!

Pax et Bonum!

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[quote name='laetitia crucis' post='1890547' date='Jun 14 2009, 06:21 PM']And I suppose as superficial as this may sound on my part :tomato: , I know I just couldn't see myself in a black habit for the rest of my life.[/quote]

Neither can I! I hate black. It's too hot! ;)

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[quote name='she_who_is_not' post='1890433' date='Jun 14 2009, 04:02 PM']A Poor Clare novice mistress once told me that the Carmelite charism is so close to the Franciscan that vocations may have difficulty discerning between the two. She also told me that to learn and love Carmel is a great way to grow in Franciscan spirituality.[/quote]

That's really good to know. Thank God! And all this time I thought I was going crazy! ;)

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I wanted to ask, simply out of curiosity, if anyone knew what the application process was like with the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal? I doubt I'll be applying anytime soon since I really want to get to know them better, even though I've had the pleasure of their company for 3 or 4 times. I remember the Carmelites DCJ had a very short application where I had to write an autobiography that ended up as 5 or 6 pages and then, if I was accepted, I had to have medical, dental, and eye exams, which I never did because I wasn't accepted yet.

I could see myself in the Franciscan habit for the rest of my life, and I had dreams of being in a Carmelite DCJ habit as well, so I don't think that's a really good indication of where I'm called. LOL! That just makes me more confused! :rolleyes:

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For the Sisters CFR, you usually go for a two week testing with Fr Benedict where he asks questions etc and of course visits to get to know the Sisters. And medical exams etc. I know this from only what my friend had to do to enter in 2005. And their life is full of happiness, joy and sorrow as is any life, but they have the lovely life of penance as St Francis had in living out so well the Holy vow of Poverty :)

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[quote name='angelofmary' post='1890666' date='Jun 14 2009, 08:49 PM']For the Sisters CFR, you usually go for a two week testing with Fr Benedict where he asks questions etc and of course visits to get to know the Sisters. And medical exams etc. I know this from only what my friend had to do to enter in 2005. And their life is full of happiness, joy and sorrow as is any life, but they have the lovely life of penance as St Francis had in living out so well the Holy vow of Poverty :)[/quote]

Ah, yes! I had forgotten that Fr. Benedict Groeschel had a degree in Psychology! That must be absolutely wonderful to have a psychologist within the Friars that knows the spirituality firsthand. :D

I'm actually considering going back to school for a while to major in either Nursing or Psychology. I'm thinking Psychology since Social Work would come in very handy while working with the impoverished. ;)

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I just looked at my transcript from my old college to see what I needed to do to graduate and transfer to the university. It appears that the only thing holding me back from obtaining my Associate in Arts degree is 2 mathematics courses. Although I HATE math with a passion, I am very much interested in finishing these courses to graduate since I have so many credit hours (70). I really would love to go to the university to get a Bachelors in Public/Community Health. :)

Pray for me please! :D

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[quote name='InHisLove726' post='1890748' date='Jun 15 2009, 03:37 AM']I just looked at my transcript from my old college to see what I needed to do to graduate and transfer to the university. It appears that the only thing holding me back from obtaining my Associate in Arts degree is 2 mathematics courses. Although I HATE math with a passion, I am very much interested in finishing these courses to graduate since I have so many credit hours (70). I really would love to go to the university to get a Bachelors in Public/Community Health. :)

Pray for me please! :D[/quote]


I know the feeling I hate maths as well and I had to do it as part of my University course!
I will hold you in my prayers, my sister in Christ :)

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TotusTuusMaria

[quote name='she_who_is_not' post='1890433' date='Jun 14 2009, 04:02 PM']A Poor Clare novice mistress once told me that the Carmelite charism is so close to the Franciscan that vocations may have difficulty discerning between the two. She also told me that to learn and love Carmel is a great way to grow in Franciscan spirituality.[/quote]

I heard the exact same thing from a Carmelite nun.

I was going to write it, but you already have (and much better then I would).

But yeah... interesting how you heard it from a Poor Clare and I heard it from a Carmelite! :D

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