The Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland
The Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland (CIBI) is a collaborative initiative of the British and Irish Provinces of Carmelites and the Anglo-Irish Province of Discalced Carmelites.
Through the provision of online courses, it is a way of celebrating and sharing the rich heritage of the Carmelite tradition – both of the Carmelites of the Ancient Observance (O.Carm.) and Discalced Carmelites (O.C.D.).
Our distance-learning courses ensure this rich heritage can be shared world-wide and being university-accredited, we do so to the highest standard. Our courses aim to enhance the student’s spiritual education through a deeper understanding of Spirituality, History and Theology as it is lived in the over 800-year old Carmelite tradition.
We welcome students of all denominations and backgrounds, who search to deepen their understanding. Accordingly, our courses cater for many levels of interest and academic pursuit: We offer courses to those looking for an introduction to Spirituality, with a Carmelite focus; those wishing to strengthen their spirituality through a deeper understanding of Carmelite history and tradition; and for those who seek Carmelite study in a more formal way, there are accredited courses at certificate, diploma, degree and masters level.
So whether you seek a Certificate in Spirituality course or a Masters in Theology, there is something here for everybody!
CIBI was founded in November 2005. In September 2006, the first students commenced their studies on two courses, a Diploma in Carmelite Studies and an Adult Education Diploma in Carmelite Studies, both accredited by the Milltown Institute, Dublin. The first graduates of the Adult Education Diploma in Carmelite Studies were conferred in October 2009 and the first graduates of the Diploma in Carmelite Studies were conferred in October 2011.
In 2011, York St John University accredited CIBI’s MA in Carmelite Studies. The first graduates of this award were conferred in October 2016.
With the closure of the Milltown Institute in 2015, CIBI requested accreditation for a Bachelor of Theology (B.Th. Carmelite Studies) and a Master of Theology (MTh Carmelite Studies) from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co Kildare, Ireland. The first students commenced their studies in September 2015.
In 2016, two exit courses from the B.Th. (Carmelites Studies) were approved by St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, namely the Certificate in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies) and the Diploma in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies). Both courses commenced in September 2016.
In 2019 CIBI introduced two new courses on Formation – The Initial Formation Programme and The Ongoing Formation Programme.
In addition to the above courses, CIBI also offers a non-accredited elementary course, the Discovering Carmel Certificate, which is awarded to students who have completed eight modules from a choice of more than forty modules on various aspects of Carmelite History, Spirituality and Saints.
The option of studying full or part-time, along with the online distance-learning delivery, has made CIBI courses in Carmelite studies popular throughout the world. Presently, students are drawn from over 20 countries. Many come from English speaking countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, U.K., USA and Zimbabwe. Students have a wide age range between the 20’s and the 80’s.
Our Mission and Values
The spiritual focus of the Carmelite Order is contemplation. Carmelites understand contemplation in a broad sense encompassing prayer, community, and service. These three elements are at the heart of the Carmelite charism (spiritual focus).
The mission of the Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland (CIBI) is to provide a pathway for student’s to explore contemplation in a modern day context, set to the back drop of a bountiful 800-year old Carmelite tradition; to provide and uphold a recognised and esteemed academic pathway in which to do so; for the purpose of enriching the lives of our students and also of providing a platform for this rich heritage to secure its pathway into the future.
CIBI’s values are:
Ease of Access: Flexible delivery allows students to study full-time or part-time; delivered by distance-learning, it allows students the flexibility to study in the time and place that suits.
Student-centric approach: Relevant and reflective of student’s needs, through the provision of a wide breath of modules tailored to multi-level courses at certificate, diploma, bachelor and master’s level.
The great diversity of humankind: While rooted in a Roman Catholic theological ethos, CIBI welcomes students from all and no religious traditions.
Acknowledging the individual and their spiritual growth: Our student’s receive individual feedback on each piece of work submitted and there is always a member of our team to advise and assist.
Excellent Academic Standards: All courses are overseen by our Director of Studies with an internationally renowned external examiner. The academic excellence of our courses has been acknowledged by both academics and students alike
The Institutes trustees are the presiding Provincial of each of the three Carmelite Provinces.
Who appoint the members of the Executive Board.
Academic Boards are drawn from renowned academics with an internationally recognised Extern Examiner who is approved by the accrediting body.
The academic standards of all courses are overseen by the Director of studies.
Students receive a prompt response to their emails for advice, support and encouragement from the institutes administrative team.
CIBI has a varied and international staff of Author and Correctors.
The CIBI course I undertook over a number of years was extremely well organised, intellectually stimulating, and an invaluable aid in my own spiritual formation. Administrative staff were always swiftly to hand when queries arose (and they regularly did) – Frank and his team were always patient and kind. Assignments were paced appropriately, and feedback provided was extremely helpful and encouraging. A most rewarding and enjoyable experience that I will reflect upon with gratitude and contentment.
Anon, Ireland, July 2021.
Not being naturally academically inclined it was with some trepidation that I commenced my studies for the Diploma in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies). But the support I received from the admin team and the corrector’s was great. Even when I had to take a break due to health issues, everybody was so flexible and enthusiastic, it enabled me to finish my last module for the diploma. Without doubt, the spirit and ethos of the Carmelite Orders is alive and manifest in the programme materials and in CIBI’s academic and administrative teams.
Kim Langridge UK. July 2020.
I have just received notification of the Conferring ceremony by post. What a great joy to see I will receive the Diploma at the Conferring Ceremony on the 9th November, 2019, although in absentia. I am so delighted and thank you with all my heart for such an honour and for the wonderful experience of studying with CIBI.
Sr Angela Buck OCD, Australia.
This CIBI course is one of the best courses which I have ever experienced. It gives lots of information and knowledge. It has had a great impact in my life and will be a great help to me as a Carmelite.
The presentation of each module is excellent. The authors presented the material in a clear and concise way. The material is very interesting and there is lots of information in each unit. Which encouraged me to want to know more and to deepen my understanding.
I am also very grateful for the excellent help provided by the assignment correctors. I greatly appreciate that my attention was drawn to areas where I needed to improve and I had the opportunity to go back over the material and to deepen my knowledge and understanding.
The Student Support team at CIBI were always very helpful and available to answer my questions and to advise me.
To all my grateful thanks.
Sr Emy. Ireland. 14th May 2019
It is with deep regret that I wish to advise you that I cannot continue my studies with CIBI………
It has been invaluable. I began my studies wanting to know something about Carmel and not sure what I should broach. The past six years with CIBI has been so valuable, allowing me to broaden by knowledge as a complement to the formation I received as a member of the OCDS.
The module units I have undertaken from the Certificate, Diploma and at master’s levels, have all been challenging and well-presented and taught me so much about the spirituality, history and saints of Carmel. It has been a privilege to study with people who have so much to offer and who provided me with insightful feedback.
A Brisbane student. 26th October 2018.
“Thank you for providing access to a high quality flexible learning programme which is a source of spiritual nourishment, which has become very important to me personally and at an affordable cost. Thank you for the wonderful range of subjects covered by highly qualified and experienced tutors and correctors. Thank you also for the encouragement, kindness and helpful support I have received from administrative staff and from course feedback encouraging me to continue to study with CIBI”
A United Kingdom Student. January 2018.
“It is good to be able to study with CIBI, because you make it easy and I appreciate your availability and encouragement very much. I also want to thank the Director of Studies, his comments were really helpful and I felt encouraged. I look forward to next semester”
A South African Student. January 2018.
As a member of the Carmelite family, I have just completed my Diploma in Carmelite Studies with the Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland. I did the Diploma on a part time basis over a six year period (with a little extension!) while working full time for the Carmelite Order in the British Province as the Provincial’s Delegate to the Third Order. I enjoyed the course tremendously and it has been invaluable as part of my Carmelite formation and helped me to grow in my knowledge of the Order and its Charism. For sure there were times when I found it a real struggle to find the time to engage with the assignments due to the, at times, heavy demands of full time job and supporting a young family. However, due to the way the on-line distance learning course is structured, with very supportive tutors – flexible in their approach, I managed to complete the course.
At times when engaging with the modules, e.g. doing the background reading of recommended material and making notes etc. it felt like I was taken to another place, so prayerful and peaceful was it! Reading and reflecting on the material, I found frequently led into prayer and also helped me reflect on how God has been at work in my own life situation, past and present! I also found at times that I would get little insights into the experiences of the saint I was studying, sharing in their thoughts and experiences. Having had the opportunity to do the CIBI course was without doubt a great blessing!
At the end of 2013, three Sisters of the Carmelite Monastery in Dysart completed the Course for the Diploma in Carmelite Studies, offered by the Carmelite Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.
One felt that, after several decades in Carmel, it was a good time to take stock: to deepen our understanding of our vocation and of the rich heritage bequeathed to our Order by those who have gone before.
Another, having enjoyed studying before entering Carmel, relished the opportunity to study once again, and with the added bonus of learning more about the Carmelite charism of both branches of the order.
The third felt that the completion of the diploma course would be an achievement as this level of study was new to her. She also enjoyed the variety of modules, all based on aspects of our Carmelite life.
The entire Course includes studies on the history of our Order, the riches of the spirituality associated with it and the life and teaching of some of the saints of Carmel. Being very different from one another, we each had our preferred kind of module, while enjoying the whole study, and found mutual support in one another’s company. Little asides such as: “Have you done your questionnaire yet?” or “Have you had your Tutor’s comments?” helped us to feel that we were not alone, and we could offer ready sympathy to anyone who was struggling to meet the deadline.
The material contained in each module was a rich source of learning, while the written assignments served as a challenge that kept us focused. The comments of the Tutors, as well as the marks awarded, were a useful indication of our progress. The material itself is not new to those who have spent many years in Carmelite formation, but it does provide a fresh look and inspire a new evaluation of our vocation and our beautiful heritage. We can imagine that a non-Carmelite would find her/himself entering a new world of unsuspected treasures of spiritual and historical significance.
This course seems especially helpful for anyone involved in initial formation, and the Adult Education course could be helpful for the novices themselves as an introduction to Carmel. Because of our experience, we were asked to lead the community sharing and discussions of the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, in preparation for the Centenary of her birth in 2015.
We now look forward to receiving our Diplomas, and hopefully meeting some of those who have helped us on our way, such as the Director of Studies, the Administrator and the Tutors.
Having now completed the Diploma in Carmelite Studies, I could look back on those five years of on-line learning with both relief and relish. Though much of learning has come from reading and reflecting on the notes provided, it has amounted to a wealth of learning benefitting both formation and community-life in my Secular Carmelite activities and responsibilities. The course modules fulfilled both academic and formative expectations. I have found in them depth and substance, reflective of the scholarly effort of the module authors and tutors. A particular tutor in assessing my essay has given me such insightful comments as to better present for coherency and quality of work.
In my learning process, I found the on-line delivery of and the content of the modules to be very well structured and user-friendly. While awaiting the clock-work release of the module reading and questionnaires, my anticipation heightened with tackling each block of units and questionnaire. Each essay assignment had its exciting moments when sourcing ideas and support literature, at times including drawing upon personal and communal life experiences. When at last the tutor’s comments were sighted, the tension gave way to an overwhelming sense of fulfilment and reward! Along the way, I have built up a collection of the module notes and secondary reading, neatly numbered and filed. Already, this accumulation is proving to be a great resource for formation work in my OCDS Malaysia Communities.
My online studying with the Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland was truly a memorable journey. As a Third Order Secular Carmelite, I began this journey in 2009 in hopes of deepening my knowledge in Carmelite studies.
Studying online with CIBI gave me the opportunity to explore in more detail the history of our Carmelite Family. At first, I was intimidated by the idea of an online course, but I can confidently say this was an amazing learning experience. The CIBI team was extremely helpful throughout my studies in developing my understanding and promoting my spiritual growth. I value the opportunity to study online because it provided me with a structured way of learning about Carmel’s rich heritage, charism and spirituality in the comfort of my home.
Personally, this experience has given me the ability to confidently speak to others about the lives of the Carmelite saints and to spread the history of the Carmelite Order. In reflecting on my experience with CIBI, I am certain that I will continue my studies by pursuing my Master’s degree online. I am very thankful for the guidance of my coordinator and tutors, which made my experience at CIBI a truly positive one.