For everybody the adventure in Carmel starts with vocation discernment. This is the time when you learn about yourself, your desires, motivations, the time when you get used to prayer. It is also the time of learning about Carmel (its history, spirituality and the friars’ lifestyle). During that time the following may help: spiritual direction, days of group and individual recollection organized by monasteries, contact with vocation directors.
Initial formation begins with a year’s postulancy in Lublin. This is the time of gradually getting used to the Carmelite life. The everyday rhythm is set by prayer, work in the monastery, formation lessons and recreation spent in a group of postulants. For Christmas postulants go to their families. Easter is spent in the Community. When the postulancy is over, postulants go home for two weeks.
After a year’s postulancy in Lublin postulants arrive in Czerna, then there is a retreat and taking a habit. A year of novitiate in Czerna begins. This is the time of special isolation (limited contact with the family), the time of trial, the stage of acquiring the Carmelite charism and preparation for professing vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Having professed the first vows for one year the friars go to Cracow in order to study philosophy (for two years) and theology (for four years). They go to lectures to the diocesan seminary. This is also the time of becoming gradually involved in pastoral work at our monasteries. Both candidates for the priesthood (seminarians) and brothers renew their vows every year. After five years they profess solemn vows. Having finished their studies and undergone a deacon traineeship candidates for the priesthood are ordained.
When the initial formation (which lasts minimum 8 years) is over, each of the friars is sent by the Provincial to a particular Community within the Province. There he lives the Carmelite life and does the services he has been assigned.