The difference between Dominican, Franciscan and Carmelite Spirituality
Dominicans have a much more bookish spirituality. They were a preaching reform movement that was focused on academic and intellectual renewal. They were formidable debaters and made their mark in making the gospel accessible to the common man in forms and words they could understand.
Franciscans came from St. Francis who was more pastoral. He wanted reform, but wanted more peace and harmony with nature, solidarity with the poor, being contrary to clerical privilege, etc. It was certainly more evangelical in flavor. They were more about preaching the truth through works and example and not so much in preachy words and erudite theologizing.
Carmelites are much more contemplative, interior prayer, contemplation of holy mysteries, interior life, etc. It is more focused on the inward spiritual journey. It is rooted in the life of Elijah the prophet (on the original Mount Carmel in Israel, which is a beautiful place to visit), when he went to the mountain and finally found God not in the fire or storm or rushing wind, but in a tiny quiet whisper.
My sister, who entered a religious community in October, came for a home-visit this weekend. I’m feeling the same emotions of depression and loneliness when she left to the convent the first time. The home visit made me realize how much I really miss her and how our relationship has changed, because we didn’t get a lot of alone time together and I am missing those one-on-one moments. If anyone has any support resources for family members of people who have entered religious life, it would help so much.
Also, please pray for her because she is having doubts about her particular community and is feeling like she might be called to a more contemplative/cloistered community; I know it is stressing her out to be unsure and not know if it is a true calling or if it is just a temptation. I just want her to be in the right place, wherever God wants her to be.
“All life is liturgy. All words are creeds. All times are
Sabbaths. All places are churches. But we all have attention deficit
disorder; we are forgetful. And unless we see God in special places and
times, we will forget to see Him in any place and time.”