Monday 7th April 2003

The Second meeting of the International Formation Commission met at the General Curia of the Order, Rome. It started at 1600hrs. Members present were: Fathers Carlo Cicconetti, Alexander Vella, Christian Korner, Romualdo Borges de Macedo, Dionysius Kosasih, Emmett Gavin and Conrad Mutizamhepo. Absent with reason: Mario Alfarano.


The proceedings began with prayer led by Fr Carlo Cicconetti. Fr Alexander Vella was appointed to coordinate the meeting while Conrad was asked to be secretary.

Opening Address:

The Prior General, Fr Joseph Chalmers greeted and welcomed everyone. He stressed the importance of formation. He made reference to the General Chapter's theme: The Journey Continues as inviting all of us to engage wholeheartedly in the work of ongoing formation. He pointed out that the Order has produced very many good documents, e.g., Constitutions and the Ratio but these needed to be studied, appreciated and known. Signs point to the fact that these documents have been well received but they now need to be known. He encouraged the Commission to put up various courses for formation and to find ways of meeting and exchanging ideas. It is important that each culture translates the documents into their own culture taking into consideration the many differences in the Provinces. The General also pointed out that the role of the Commission is to encourage development of good working practices and deeper understanding of our charism. He finished by thanking all who left their busy schedules to come to Rome and deliberate on these important matters that concern our future.

Letter from Fr William Harry:

Fr William Harry wrote a letter advising the Commission to deal with matters of public speaking and the training of Carmelites in the modern means of communication which was adopted as a matter policy at the last General Chapter.

Report on Ongoing Formation for Priors:

This course took place at the Domus Carmelitana, Rome, between 29 January-14 February 2003.
Fr Christian Korner gave the report. 21 brothers participated. Each region was represented except Latin America. The course opened with the Prior General's address concerning the general vision of the Order and the reality in our communities. Other speakers were: K.Waaijman (Fraternity and the Prior emerging in the Carmelite Rule); C.Cicconetti (Juridical Aspects and Practice concerning the prior in the Constitution); Desiderio Garcia Martinez (Contemplation - Transformation and Discernment); A.Arvalli (Communication: Coresponsibility, Conflict ...). Participants enjoyed the input and were generally positive about the whole experience. Some issues that arose were those dealing with language translation as well as the lack of knowledge of the Ratio by some of the brethren. Another issue is that some communities are too small with very adverse implications for fraternity. There is also need to break down the attitudinal bias of seeing formation as referring to initial formation only. Issues about how people become priors was raised by Emmett. Practices differ. In some regions they are elected while in others they are appointed.

Ongoing Formation For Formators:

There will be an ongoing formation course open to friars only at Aylesford, England, from 28th July to 11th August 2003. We discussed the draft for this course presented by Fr A. Vella. The proposed theme is: Formation for Community. The theme will be reviewed under the broad outlines of: Our Vision, Our Reality and Forming Carmelite Communities.

There is need to cultivate a deep knowledge of our traditions. Other courses are planned for the future for example:
2005: course to deal with the First Texts of the Order - The Rule, Rubrica prima, Institution of the First Monks, the Flaming Arrow, etc
2006: course to deal with Masters of Touraine.
2007: celebration of the anniversary of St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi.

Provincial Formation Programmes:

There is need to remind Provinces to respond to the invitation to provide formation programmes. Such programmes are to be revised in accordance with the Ratio. Some regions have them, eg., USA, the Philippines, the two German Provinces and the Parana Commissariat (Brazil).

The Study of the Ratio:

We have not yet put teaching aids for the study of the Ratio on the internet. The articles presented at the Fatima Conference on the Ratio (Carmelite Formation) have been published in book form.

Manual for Carmelite Formation:

There is need to know what this "manual" is. It is some kind of guidelines for the development of Carmelite teaching materials. The manual would try to provide teaching aids to Chapter 3 of the Ratio. A problem we face right from the outset is the language problem. We have to find ways of sharing resources in the Order given our language problems.

We ended at 1900hrs.

Tuesday 8th April 2003

We began our meeting at 930hrs with a prayer led by Carlo Cicconetti.
The items we dealt with were as follows:

2006 International Congress for Formators:

This congress is to be dedicated to the Carmelite Manual. There is need for someone to start preparing for that congress. Some provinces have submitted their responses to the questionnaire. One member of the Commission needs to coordinate this preparation. Fr Desiderio Garcia Martinez can be approached so that his skills and expertise may be put to the service of the Order. Christian Korner suggested that the preparations wait until after Aylesford Formators Course in July because there is need to see the quality of the material and assess whether formators are willing to collaborate in the exercise. While at Aylesford, formators may discuss in their regional groups. To realise the Manual for Carmelite Formation the methodology used in the process of the creation of the Ratio is recommended. The steps that will have to be taken are:
(a) Stock-taking, i.e., the questionnaire
(b) Presentation of the results by Mario Alfarano at Aylesford
(c) Regional meetings on the structure and content of the Manual
(d) 2006 International Formation Congress for Formators.
There is need to establish a sub-committee to prepare a working document. Furthermore, there is need to find willing formators to take up this vital task.

Regional Meeting of Formators 2004/2005?

For the regional meetings that will take place during the course at Aylesford, we can take some of the material which we have seen and assess what we can use. Part Three of the Ratio offers some guidelines on the skeleton of the Manual. It is good to have a bibliography of what we have. The idea of the Manual is to have some basic information about Carmelite sources in order to help those in formation ministry so that they are not starved of resources when such resources are available elsewhere. One suggestion was to enlist the services of experts or the members of Institute of Carmelite Studies to provide us with an up-to-date bibliography. There are difficulties though since such an undertaking is time consuming and not many people have time to spare.
A problem with regional meetings is that due to language and political difficulties in Africa, there may only be one representative from Africa at the Aylesford Course.

Aylesford Formators Course (2003):

We need to get someone to organise the Liturgy.

Requests from Nuns to Join the Aylesford Formators Course:

Two sisters from one Sisters Congregation associated with the Order and a cloistered Discalced nun have expressed their wish to participate in the course. Given the nature of the course, it was felt that it was not appropriate for sisters to take part. This course is designed for friars only. However, in future there will be ongoing formation courses open to the wider Carmelite Family.

Preparation for Solemn Profession:

At last year's Formation Commission meeting, we made three proposals in order of preference: that preparation for solemn profession take place at (a) international level; (b) regional level; and (c) provincial level.
We notice that there is diversity among the Provinces. One suggestion was to leave it at Regional level or indeed Provincial level. For example, in the USA, they have a period of internship or regency but it is immediately after the novitiate. In Indonesia, they have a month of preparation consisting of a retreat, seminars, input from laypeople on their expectations of religious and some sharing on Carmelite life by friars. In Zimbabwe, preparation is arranged by the Student director who calls on proficient friars to give candidates input.
It would be good to have the experience of the provinces. To facilitate the sharing of experiences of the diverse practices in the Provinces we need to collect written descriptions of the programmes in use. These written descriptions of programmes should be sent to Fr Carlo Cicconetti.
The general feeling was that, while an international preparation is ideal and would be beneficial for students, it is too costly. In any case, the General Council has already decided that the preparation take place at regional level.

Meeting for People in Formation:

There have been two meetings that have been successfully hosted for students in formation. These meetings were held at (a) Lisieux - 1997 (b) Holy Land - 2000.
In the European Region they have annual meetings of Novices and Students. In the USA, O.Carm-OCD and other students in formation of affiliated or associated congregations meet every year. They cover a cycle of topics, e.g., history, Carmelite saints of the 20th century, etc. This has already been running for 10 years. They also have Student Gatherings.
In Brazil, the novitiate is interprovincial.
In the Asia-Australian region, it is too costly to arrange such meetings so much that it is not feasible. The Commission feels that it is vital to have a Students' Conference such as the one held in the Holy Land at least once every sexennium. It is proposed that we hold one such meeting this sexennium in 2005 either in Italy or Spain.

Letter from Bill Harry:

We returned to the letter written by Bill Harry. One proposal of the General Chapter which Harry thinks falls under the Formation Commission is that students need to (a) learn listening skills, public speaking and communication; (b) learn the use of modern media. The Formation Commission recommends strongly that this policy be implemented. This policy is already indicated in the Ratio (cf. no. 139). This would need to be included in the Manual.


Emmett Gavin pointed out that it is increasingly difficult to find suitable formators for too few students. Because of this difficult problem of filling formation jobs, might the Provincials consider joint formation along the lines of language group. This would combine not just students but also formators.
The Formation Commission is very much in favour of such initiatives.

We ended at 1730hrs.

Wednesday 9th April 2003


We started with a prayer led by Fr C. Cicconetti.
Conrad read the minutes of the meeting and corrections were made to his text.
Fr Cicconetti put forward the following question: Do we need to meet each year? He also suggested that there is need to determine the length of our meetings. After Aylesford a small group of the Commission needs to meet to prepare a working document (instrumentum laboris).

Evaluation of Meeting:

Romualdo pointed out that when he came for this meeting he already expected to start work on the Manual. Emmett pointed out that at this moment it was not very clear what is needed to be in the Manual. He asked the question: "what content and structure should it take?" He suggested that we present an outline of what we would like to have. This means a collection of concrete materials identifying their sources to assist formators in accessing Carmelite spirituality. There might also be need to enlist the services of experts to whom pertinent topics can be allotted so that they can write on these topics in a concise but clear way.
There was a strong feeling that we decide on the sub-committee. But due to work commitments (three of the members have been elected Provincials and the other three live outside of Europe, i.e., Africa, Asia and Latin America) it was not possible to appoint anyone at this stage.
We finally settled on presenting a proposal to the General Council:
We propose that the General Council consider funding a project to translate books that we see as important for formation. We then worked on the priority list of works to be considered for translation into the major languages of the Order. This list of books is to be presented to the Formators at Aylesford. For the areas that may not be covered in this list, we would need to identify and ask certain experts to help us.

The List of Books to be Considered for Translation:

The Rule:
BOAGA, Emanuel, In Ossequio di Gesù Cristo: Programma di Studi Sulla Regola del Carmelo (Roma: Edizioni Carmelitane, 2002) *

O'DONNELL, Christopher, Constitutions

VELLA, Alexander et al, Carmelite Formation
Ask Desiderio Garcia Martinez to write a commentary on the Ratio.

Documents of the Order:

WELCH, John, Seasons of the Heart, Carmelite Spiritual Directory Project (Melbourne: Carmelite Communications, ......)
O'CONNOR, Quinn, A Call To Transformation
Puritas Cordis
VALABEK, R.M., Prayer life in Carmel
BOYCE, J., The Spirituality of the Carmelite Liturgy,
MESTERS, Carlos, Lectio Divina,

Di GROTTO, P., Growing As Brothers,

BOAGA, Emanuel, Apostolic Dimension of Carmel
O'SULLIVAN, Tracy & PAREIRA, Justice and Peace,

Introduction to Carmelite Spirituality and History:
BOAGA, Emanuel, Come Pietre Vive...Nel Carmelo (Rome: Institutum Carmelitanum, 1993) *
BOAGA, Emanuel, Spiritualità Eliana: Schemi di attività per la formazione (Roma: Provincia Italiana dei Carmelitani, 1995)
BOAGA, Emanuel et al, Sulle Orme di Elia: Circoli Eliani Pregare - Interiorizzare - Vivere (Roma: Provincia Italiana dei Carmelitani, 1995).
O'DONNELL, Christopher, Mary, Mother and Sister
WELCH, J., The Carmelite Way
SLATTERY, P., Springs of Carmel
McGREAL, W., At the Fountain of Elijah
COPSEY, R, transl., Early Carmelite Texts.

The Commission would like to ask the General Council for an English translation of two of Fr Boaga's books as a matter of urgency. These books are with an asterisk (*).

The next International Formation Commission Meeting is scheduled for March 30th to 2nd April 2004.

We ended our meeting at 1245hrs.

Alexander, Romualdo, Dionysius, Christian, Conrad, Emmett, Antonio Silvio, Carlo.



La Comisión Internacional para la Formación se reunió en Roma del 7 al 12 de abril para dialogar sobre los programas de Formación provinciales y varias propuestas para las reuniones y congresos sobre Formación a diversos niveles. Una de las ofertas presentadas era que la Formación fuese a nivel internacional. Esta sugerencia fue acogida muy favorablemente. Otra propuesta fue que la Comisión apoyara la traducción de los libros editados en los últimos años sobre materia carmelita. La próxima reunión se celebrará en Roma del 30 al 2 de abril de 2004.

(NB: Para la versión completa de las notas ver la versión inglesa).



La commissione si è riunita a Roma dal 7 al 12 aprile per discutere i programmi di Formazione provinciali e varie proposte per convegni e congressi sulla formazione a diversi livelli. Una proposta è stata offerta che la Formazione sia fatta a livello internazionale. Questo suggerimento è stato colto molto favorevolmente. Un'altra proposta è che la commissione favorisca la traduzione in varie lingue dei libri usciti negli anni recenti su materia carmelitana. La prossima riunione si farà a Roma dal 30 marzo al 2 aprile 2004.

(NB: Per la versione completa dei verbali vedi la versione inglese).


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Last revised: 16 May 2003