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International Carmelite Novitiate begins at Aylesford Priory
10 October 2010

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During Evening Prayer on Saturday 9th October 2010 two young men were received into the Carmelite Order as novice friars and clothed in the brown habit at Aylesford Priory in Kent. Torsten Rolfes from Germany and Tiago Casaleiro from Portugal will spend the next year at Aylesford Priory. Whilst in the past candidates from abroad have made their noviciate alongside candidates for the British Province, this is the first time that a purely international novitiate has been formed.

A number of provinces have worked together in forming an international novitiate at Aylesford Priory, where the Director of Initial Formation is no less an experienced person than the former Prior General of the Carmelite Order, Fr. Joseph Chalmers, O.Carm.

Before their clothing in the habit the two candidates spent a few days on retreat with Fr. Damian Cassidy, O.Carm., a friar of the Aylesford community. Now that they have been received Torsten and Tiago come under the care of Fr. Joseph.

The Rite of Reception on 9th October was presided over by the Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm. He was assisted by Fr. Agostinho Marquez Castro (Commissary General of the Portugese Commissariate), and Bro. Günter Benker (Formator for the Upper and the Lower German Provinces), and the ceremony was conducted in Engllish, Portuguese and German. The Rite was well attended by friars and laity from the British Province.


back row, left-right: Torsten Rolfes, Joseph Chalmers, Tiago Casaleiro
front row, left-right: Günter Benker, Wilfrid McGreal, Agostinho Marquez Castro


During the Rite the postulants were called forward to state their intent: "Drawn by God's love, I have come here to live the Carmelite way of life. I ask you to teach me to follow Jesus Christ: obedient, chaste and poor. Instruct me in the way of the Gospel so that observing your Rule and Constitutions I may live constantly in the presence of God. Guided by the Holy Spirit to serve the Church, may I be one in mind and heart with all the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel."


left-right: Torsten Rolfes, Joseph Chalmers, Tiago Casaleiro

Over the coming year the novice friars will play a full part in the life of the community, learning the rhythm of work, prayer, silence, social time, and presence amongst God's people.