This module is part of the Distance Learning Website of the Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland (CIBI)


This module is an introduction to Formation within the Carmelite Family. One hears a lot about formation these days. People speak about religious formation in schools, formation of candidates for the priesthood and for religious life, initial formation and ongoing formation and so on. The word formation comes from the word to form or to shape. Generally the word formation implies something more than acquiring certain skills or certain knowledge – formation is a more holistic concept and refers not only to knowledge and skills but a person’s attitudes and character. Indeed we often speak about the formation of character and of conscience.

In this module we will look at formation under five headings:

  1. Formation in general;

  2. Formation in the Teresian Nuns;

  3. Formation in the Teresian Friars;

  4. Formation in the O. Carm. Friars;

  5. Formation in Secular/Lay Carmel.

In each of these units there will be material supplied. The five units do not assume any previous knowledge but they should fit in with what you already know about the Carmelites and about formation. The objectives of this module are:

  1. That you have some understanding of what formation means;

  2. That you have some sense of the importance of formation within the Carmelite Family;

  3. That you have some knowledge of the different formation processes within the Carmelite Family.

Suggested reading:

It is difficult to suggest one book which covers all aspects of formation in the different branches of the Carmelite Family. It might be most useful to read something more in the general area of being formed to live under a rule of life, so I would suggest you might look at:

Roland Walls, Law and Gospel: Doing Justice without losing Gospel Proclamation. Oxford: SLG Press, n.d.g. This booklet is available by post from SLG Press, Fairacres, Oxford OX4 1TB, United Kingdom.

A closer focus on Carmelite spirituality is

John Welch OCarm, Seasons of the Heart: The Spiritual Dynamic of the Carmelite Life. Carmelite Communications Centre, 2008. This book is accessible online at:


Course Tutor: Heather Ward OCDS, Sr Mary of St John OCD, Liam Finnerty OCD, Joseph Mothersill OCarm 


The course is divided into 5 units of input and, at the end, you may complete a Questionnaire, write a Learning Journal, or write an Essay.

Once posted, each unit will be available until the end of the module. The dates on which each of the units, and the other material for this course is available in the calendar in the Student Section.



Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4

Unit 5


Learning Journal

Essay titles


Please click HERE to access the STUDENT SECTION for module start and end dates

From the date corresponding to the relevant Monday (see main web page of, you can click on the relevant unit to access it. Each module includes links to other internet sites of various kinds related to the material being covered.

    Once you have successfully accessed and studied the material in each module and received the Essay titles and the questionnaire, pleace complete either the Questionnaire, write a Learning Journal, or write an Essay based on one of the Essay titles given, and return it to to the course administrator: [email protected]




CIBI holds the copyright to this material (text, graphic and other); distribution to family or friends, or publication (including on internet) of any part of the material is not permitted without the CIBI ’s explicit written permission.


© Heather Ward OCDS, Sr Mary of St John OCD, Liam Finnerty OCD, Joseph Mothersill OCarm and Cibi