Q - How long does a convert have to be a Catholic before they can attend the aspirant program or be clothed?
A - The governing criteria for admission into the Order can be found in OCDS Constitutions #1, #36 and #47a and OCDS Provincial Statute, Section IX, paragraphs 1 through 3.
In no case is a specific period of delay specified for a newly confirmed member of the Church. On the other hand, a newly confirmed member of the Church will be required to have an aspirancy of not less than one full year which may be extended for up to one additional year, but in no case longer than two years [OCDS Provincial Statute, Section IX, paragraph 3].
The local Council must therefore be prepared to make an assessment of the aspirant's viability and potential vocation, as a member of the community, within two years.
This is not easy to answer definitively because so much depends upon the convert involved. However, it is safe to say that a new convert needs to take time to live as a Catholic. Conversion is a tremendous step in which the Holy Spirit is particularly present to the new Catholic in guiding his or her commitment and growing maturity in the faith. If there is a true vocation to Carmel, a convert will be willing to wait until the Council decides the appropriate time to accept him or her into the aspirancy program. At least six months after being confirmed in the faith is not an unreasonable time to ask a convert to wait. While waiting, the person can be given the legislation, the Statutes, guidance on saying the Liturgy of the Hours, and general information on the Carmelite Order's history and saints.