This Question-and-Answer Series was begun in the attempt to clarify questions and/or concerns that came up during the 2019 Lay Carmelite Convocation in Chicago, IL.
Can a member serve as both Director and Formation Director?
Being both Director and Formation Director would be appropriate (and often necessary) in a new or very small community. Ideally, there is enough leadership able to accept the various duties held by the community council in an average size community during an election. If this is not the case then the health of the community needs to be examined and steps must be taken to improve the situation.
Can the forms in the Community Manual be given to us in digital form?
That would be very helpful, I’m sure. I will add this to my upcoming projects list and will check into the capabilities with our website guru, Ken Pino. For the upcoming several months the Lay Carmelite Office (LCO) will be focusing on transferring our data onto a new database. This will be our primary focus and a huge task as we enter 2020.
Given the rich teachings in Carmel, why do we not have a spiritual direction program based on Carmelite Spirituality?
Reputable spiritual direction programs address a variety of spiritualties. Many directors do not focus on one spirituality or even exclusively on the Catholic Church. One reason for this type of training is that a director will more than likely be approached by potential directees from various faiths and even sometimes no faith at all and a good program will address this.
Of course, most spiritual directors have the background of one faith and/or one spirituality and are free to only accept those that may fall into their category of expertise. Having said this, it is up to those who seek a spiritual director to interview them and discover these facts and others to ensure a good fit with the director. I would think that most of us would find it ideal to have a Carmelite as a spiritual director. They are hard to come by.
On last thought. In my experience, the spiritual direction programs that are highly regarded throughout the U.S. are all steeped in the contemplative orders with the Carmelite Order being highly regarded and given much attention in any given program.