This Question-and-Answer Series was begun in the attempt to clarify questions and/or concerns that came up during the 2019 Lay Carmelite Convocation in Chicago, IL.
Question and Answer #3
What constitutes being an Isolate?
Our Provincial Statutes (Carmel’s Call, Part II, Chapter 11, Nos. 8 and 9) and the Community Manual (CM p. 19) are pretty clear in this regard. I will note one difference, that in our province most people who are granted Isolate status must be finally professed. (This will be reflected in the revised Statutes) The only exception might be that their community is dissolving or has been closed prior to their making final profession. Either way, the Lay Carmelite must ask for approval from the Lay Carmelite Office (LCO). Criteria for approval usually are:
- A move that takes the Lay Carmelite more than 1 hour from the closest community or,
- Some other extenuating circumstance where joining another community is absolutely not possible.
- Becoming ill or aged is not criteria for Isolate status. In this case the Lay Carmelite simply becomes Inactive and stays connected with her/his community.
I also want to encourage Isolates to review No. 9 referenced above [Carmel’s Call, Part II, Chapter 11, No. 9]. In my opinion, Isolate status is an unfortunate circumstance although often it cannot be helped. Isolates should never become resigned to stay in this category of membership forever and if at all possible should consider forming a community in their new home town. Being part of community life is always preferred. We understand that this is just not possible in most cases so we have delegated the work of keeping in contact with Isolates to a coordinator, Anne Marie Long. Anne Marie is developing a plan to stay in touch with our Isolates through occasional newsletters, phone calls, and e-mails.