Q – How are communities to handle persons who are making an initial inquiry to Carmel? Are they considered Aspirants? What do we call them? How do we handle their entry into a formation period? Doesn’t it seem that a good screening process in the beginning would alleviate some problems down the road?
A – People who are asking about the Secular Order life can be called inquirers. Each community or group has its own way of getting to know inquirers and of introducing them to meetings. Our new vocation brochure is an excellent tool for answering inquirers’ questions. But personal contact is always best. It is always preferable to get to know an inquirer before inviting her/him to attend a meeting. Otherwise, it might be difficult to tell the person that you do not feel she/he has a calling to your community/group. Ideally, inquirers should be able to attend monthly meetings, except for the formation classes. That is how they really get to know us, and that is how we really get to know them. Ideally, it is not good to make an inquirer wait too many months before formal classes would begin for a group of inquirers. We can lose good inquirers if we make them wait too long for classes to begin for them.