The Vilma Seelaus, OCD Prize for Carmelite Spirituality is inspired by the life and legacy of  Sister Vilma of the Infant Jesus, OCD, a Carmelite nun of the Barrington Carmel.  A well-known and highly respected authority on Carmelite Spirituality, she was known for her insightful lectures as a member of the Carmelite Forum.

A gifted scholar, her particular interest explored how Carmelite Spirituality speaks to the contemporary world.  Her writings combine an understanding of contemporary psychology with the spiritual depth of the Carmelite tradition.

  • How can you further the legacy of Sister Vilma Seelaus, OCD?
  • What does Carmelite spirituality have to offer young people today?
  • How does a contemplative spirituality enrich an active life and contribute to Christian mission?

We are calling for submissions from all academic areas:  historians, theologians, ministry leaders, philosophers, sociologists, and other scholars and practitioners. Submissions from young scholars are especially encouraged, as are papers with a focus on  Saint Teresa of Avila as we approach her fifth centenary.


  • The competition is open to any interested scholar.
  • No registration fee is required.
  • Deadline for submission: June 30, 2014.
  • Author notification: after September 30, 2014.


  • The paper must be between 5,000 – 10,000 words in length.
  • The paper’s title, the name of its author, address, telephone, and email information should be provided on the application form in a separate attachment. The author’s name should not appear on the paper.
  • Only one submission per person is admissible and must be accompanied by a statement confirming that the paper is not under copyright by any party other than the author and that it has not been previously published.
  • Papers previously presented orally are eligible as long as they have not been or are not scheduled to be published in any publication.
  • The jury will consider the clarity and quality of the writing, the adherence of the writing to the Carmelite tradition as well as the work’s ability to further that tradition. The jury will also judge the suitability for publication in a Carmelite journal.


The author of the first prize paper will receive $500 and consideration for publication in The Sword, a Journal of Historical, Spiritual and Contemporary Carmelite Issues.

The top three papers will be posted on-line on, the Internet presence of the Carmelite Institute.

Submission Procedure

There is no application fee for the competition.

Papers must be submitted electronically in Word or a PDF file.  Send a completed application form along with the paper, and any inquiries about the competition to:

Joan Knetemann, Executive Director, The Carmelite Institute