Ongoing Formation Programme

The Ongoing Formation Programme is:

  • Intended for religious who wish to explore and deepen their knowledge of the Carmelite tradition of prayer with a view to furthering their ongoing formation in the Carmelite tradition.
  • Designed to enable participants to engage with the Spirituality associated with the Carmelite charism. (Please note: this programme is not designed to provide training for spiritual direction)
  • Delivered online
  • Part-time
  • A modular programme with six modules, each module being delivered over two semesters (one academic year, September to November and January to March).
  • Run and Certified by the Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland (CIBI).

This programme is a means of engagement with the Carmelite tradition and of facilitating the ongoing formation of the participants within that tradition, presuming the norms of the Roman Catholic Church.

The programme is designed for individuals:

  • who wish to engage with the Carmelite tradition in a structured way at third level (European Qualification Framework level 6).
  • who have already completed their initial formation and wish to continue engagement in the Carmelite tradition by deepening their understanding and lived participation in that tradition

The programme participants will have the opportunity to study and reflect on individual modules at their own pace in a structured yet flexible way. The range of subject areas on offer provides background from which candidates can engage critically in the ongoing dialogue between the Carmelite tradition and the contemporary world. Participants who complete this programme will be able to describe, present and critically engage with the principal elements of the Carmelite tradition.

On successful completion of the Ongoing Formation programme, the participant should also be able to:

  • Exhibit a knowledge and understanding of some of the significant topics, figures and sources relating to the tradition Carmelite tradition and spirituality that they have professed or adopted
  • Identify, gather and analyse some of the historical material relating to the Carmelite tradition of spirituality.
  • Display the capacity to identify some of the significant elements in the tradition of Carmelite spirituality and to present and communicate those elements with some degree of critical evaluation
  • Present a coherent and well-structured written presentation of some of the elements of the Carmelite tradition and spirituality.

The Ongoing Formation certificate is structured to enable candidates to become more familiar with the history and traditions of Carmel, its Saints and Blesseds, and their approach to prayer and Christian living.
In addition, the programme is designed to help participants to develop the essential skills needed for research, practical writing and presentation at undergraduate level. Academic guidance is provided through individual assessment(s), feedback and formal training in the writing of academic essays. Support is available to students from the CIBI office.
The academic year comprises in two semesters:

  • Semester 1: Early September – Mid November
  • Semester 2: Early January – Mid March

The programme is delivered in the form of a phased release of reading material, reflection questions are included, and the candidates are encouraged to keep a private reflection journal. To ensure that the participant has a good understanding of the material, there is also a questionnaire to be completed at the end of each of the four sections of the module and an essay to be written at the end of the module. The questionnaire and essay will be viewed by a specialized member of the CIBI team, who will give the participant a comment sheet, advice and direction and general feedback on their points made and on their critical evaluation. All aspects of the programme are made available through the CIBI website.

To complete the Ongoing Formation programme, participants must read, assimilate and reflect upon the following six taught modules, completing all the required assignments for each module (or their equivalent as approved by the Director of Studies).


OCD participants will undertake the six modules in the following order:

H05: Carmelite Reform and Renewal in the 16th Century

S11: St Teresa of Avila; Doctor of Prayer

H07: The History of Female Contemplative Life and Recent Developments

S04: St Thérèse of Lisieux

S12: St Elizabeth of the Trinity: A Trinitarian Mystic

S07: St Edith Stein


O.Carm. participants will undertake the six modules in the following order:

H02: The Origins of the Carmelite Family

S09: St Albert of Jerusalem

H03: Figures of Inspiration; Mary and Elijah

S05: St Titus Brandsma

S03: St Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi

H06: The Historical Founders of the Carmelites

For the purpose of advancement to any other CIBI programmes, these modules are deemed equivalent to the similarly named modules of the Certificate in Spirituality (Carmelite studies), the Diploma in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies) and the B.Th. (Carmelite Studies).

As well as having reflective questions and journaling, the course also has assignments as follows:

  • Questionnaires: (four ten-question questionnaires following the fourth, eighth, twelfth and sixteenth units)
  • An essay to be completed at the end of each module

Each questionnaire is awarded 10% of the overall marks (4 x 10 = 40%).
The final essay for each module is on an assigned topic and between 2,000-2,500 words long. The final essay in each module is awarded 60% of the overall mark.



A part-time participant could complete the Ongoing Formation Programme of six modules in six years.

While the programme can be followed by anyone, it is primarily intended for members of religious communities.  Religious should inform their religious superiors of their intention to participate in this programme and obtain their consent. CIBI will require that candidates demonstrate that they have such consent.

Certification of the Ongoing Formation Programme is available on request from the Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland (CIBI).



  • Module fee €120.00 per module
  • Contact us to arrange community participation at [email protected]

For further information please contact us by email at [email protected]



This programme will enable the Carmelite Family (which includes Friars, Nuns, Sisters and Lay Carmelites) across the world to deepen their engagement with, and understanding of, the Carmelite charism and its associated history and traditions.
Participants will explore, discover and study the essential elements of Christian living in the light of the Carmelite charism. It will familiarise participants with the basic outlines of the history of Carmel, its Saints and Blesseds, its tradition and its approach to prayer and Christian living. Having studied the material presented, having engaged with it and having presented their understanding for critical scrutiny and feedback, those who have successfully completed this programme will be able to describe, present and, to some extent, critically engage with the principal elements of the Carmelite tradition.
Although participants will not need to attend a particular campus and will normally continue with their previous commitments, the programme will enable them to engage critically with the material in a manner that maintains the standards of practice typical of third level institutions.
Candidates will be required to engage seriously with the history, tradition and spirituality of Carmel. Their participation will provide the background that will enable them to participate critically in the ongoing dialogue between the Carmelite tradition and the contemporary world and to participate in the formation or training of others interested in the field of Carmelite Studies.

Admission Criteria

Applicants will normally have completed second-level education (equivalent to National University of Ireland Matriculation) but applicants 23 years of age or over on January 1st of the year of intended entry who do not fulfil the normal matriculation requirements may apply for matriculation based on mature years.

Programme Structure

This programme is delivered in the form of a phased delivery of reading material made available through the CIBI website (www.cibi.ie) and all communication between the CIBI office and participant  is normally electronic and copies of all such communication are maintained in the CIBI office. The programme is a part-time, undergraduate-level programme.
To complete the Certificate programme, participants must normally complete assignments of the designated six modules.
The academic year for CIBI programmes is measured in two semesters, the first running from September until November, and the second from January until March. Modules will be available during the semester periods only. Each module takes two semesters to complete and it is possible to take more than one module per semester. Each module is made up of sixteen units and each unit is the equivalent of a 45-minutes lecture. Participants will need to dedicate about twice this amount of time to private reading and study based on the materials provided.