The rule of Carmel invites us to “meditate the law of the Lord day and night and watch in prayer”. At the rhythm of the day, in each of the activities, be it silent prayer, liturgy, mass, work, fraternal meetings... leads us to a life of continual prayer which is an impulse of the heart which gives us back to each moment in the presence of God. The source is the Word of God which we make a point of reading every day, like the Virgin Mary whose name the Order bears (Order of the Blessed Mary of Mount Carmel) and who wears each of her coats.
To preserve this intimacy with God, the Carmelites choose to remain in the space of the monastery reserved for the community (enclosure) and to stay there. A balance between solitude in silence and fraternal life marks their daily lives.
Life in Carmel retains a character
- of poverty: the Carmelites have nothing of their own and are content with the necessities given to them. They live from their work. They provide community services: cooking, laundry, cleaning and others.
- simplicity and austerity : the furniture is simple, the fraternal life between different sisters always living together, a repetitive schedule broken up by the different times of prayer.
- joy : liveliness of recreations, songs, simplicity of mutual relations. Many celebrations that bring out the monotony: feast of the prioress, of the Good Shepherd, of Christmas, of Easter, etc. Decoration of the monastery, play, improved meal… help to relax the community.
- missionary as Teresa of Avila, who wanted to be a “daughter of the Church” invites her: “ A father who had just arrived from India began to tell me of the millions of souls who were lost in those countries. (…) All in tears, I begged our Lord to provide me with the means to attract a few souls to his service, to give some power to my prayers. » (Foundations, ch.1).
- Marian : the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel is entirely Marian. The Carmel contemplates in Mary a daughter of Israel united to her people in expectation of the Messiah. His yes to the Annunciation gives birth to the Messiah, the One who is the Word of God. Mary will meditate on it throughout her life in prayer and interior silence, she who is filled by the Holy Spirit and allows herself to be led by Him in obedience to God in the following of Christ. She is the model par excellence for any Carmelite.