Dolgellau Carmelites have always tended to rely on word of mouth, personal introductions and a good old fashioned letter or phone call when women have wanted to test their vocation. However this year they are breaking with tradition and launching a series of ‘Come and See’ weekends, to enable single women who feel they might have a vocation to get a taste of the sisters’ life of prayer.

Pope Francis has encouraged contemplative communities to share some of the fruits of their life of prayer in the document Vultum Dei Quarere. This is about sharing some of the riches that Carmel offers with others and accompanying them on their journey of faith, rather than embarking on spiritual direction.

What draws a woman to Carmel? ‘It’s a love affair’. One of the Sisters explains: ‘The love that draws you to Carmel deepens. It’s the pearl of great price, for which you’d give up everything. More than that, it is a privileged environment in which you are enabled to become the pearl that he has cradled in His mind from time immemorial, a pearl for which Jesus has paid a great price – giving up everything for our redemption. A pearl is made when a bit of grit finds it’s way into an oyster.

‘The enclosed environment, in which one is exposed to Christ’s gaze, enables a beautiful transformation to occur. That’s what we want to share. The life isn’t easy but it is joyful. We would like to give women the chance to see if they are called to it. How do you know unless you ask?’

Mother Mavis-Therese, the current Prioress, said ‘We want the Carmelite charism to flourish in the world. We want to share something of the immense riches it has given us’. Dolgellau Carmel have had two novices enter in the last 3 years. The sisters feel that women today have a lot of interesting prospects before them and may want a tentative way to explore more about religious life in general without committing themselves. This is an opportunity for them to do that.

The Carmel won’t be breaking with their age-old practice of enclosure. The women will be invited to stay in the flat and bungalow reserved for guests and visiting priests. There will be input from outside speakers and an opportunity to meet sisters and join in their rhythm of prayer.

The three standalone weekends are on:

Friday 27th – Sunday 29th March 2020
with Sr Silvana Dallanegra RSCJ

Friday 17th– Sunday 19th July 2020
with Sr. Lynne Baron FCJ

Friday 9th – Sunday 11th October 2020
with Carmelite sisters

It is possible to attend one, two or all three. Bookings are being taken through the website: www.carmel-dolgellau.uk