Qualifications for Entry
- A firm desire for union with God through prayer and service to the Church.
- Age: 19-35 (exceptions may be made)
- Good psychological and physical health.
- Free of dependents and financial debt.
- Some college (preferably attainng a B.A.) or work experience.
Do You Think You May Have A Carmelite Vocation?
Who Are the Discalced Carmelites?
408 251-1361 ext. 323
The Oakville Monastery served as Novitiate for the California region for many years. Here, candidates for the Carmelite Order received their initial formation, before going on for further studies to San Jose, founded a few years later. Hence, Oakville could be called the cradle of the future Carmelite Province. In 1981, when the Novitaite was transferred to the San Jose Monastery, Oakville was designated as a House of Prayer and Retreat Center.
The Carmelite Order was in existence long before it came to Oakville: over seven centuries ago. Carmel has the distinction of being the only religious order in existence to have been founded in the Holy Land. It was in the vicinity of Mount Carmel, about the year, 1214, that St. Albert, Patriarch of Jerusalem, gave the original rule to the first Carmelite Monks. Very likely many Crusaders from Europe who, after serving in a military capacity against physical enemies now decided they wanted to wage a war in "spiritual combat" against the ones who as Jesus said should be the ones we should really fear, not those who have only the power to kill the body but even more importantly those who have the power to kill the soul. As a result of the adverse conditions of the crusading effort they mitigated to the West: Cypress, France and England, then eventually all over Europe, where they became part of the great mendicant movement with the Franciscans, Dominican and Augustinians.
In the 16th Century in reponse to the cal of the Council of Trent to renew religious life, two saints, and later Doctors of the Church, St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross, set about the revitalization of the Carmelite Order in Spain. This renewal spread throughout the world, to Ireland in 1625, to Alhambra, Los Angeles in 1924, and Oakville in 1955.