After acceptance as candidates, men who seek to join our monastic community go through several stages of discernment.
Postulant – Postulancy (from the Latin word for “asking’) is the first stage. It can vary from a few weeks to months as the postulant and community get to know each other. If the postulant wishes to continue, and the community agrees, the next stage is admission to the novitiate, a more formal period.
Novice – the Novice wears the monastic habit and lives the full monastic life. A monk called the Novice Master is assigned to take the candidate under his wing and help him understand the duties of a Benedictine monk.
Other members assist the Novice Master in formal instruction on the meaning of the vows, Benedictine spirituality, performing the Divine Office in choir, history of monasticism and the doctrines of the Church.
St. Benedict’s Rule says that during the novitiate, the candidate is tested to see whether it is really God that he is seeking. Is the Novice eager to do the Work of God, obey, and patiently endure the difficulties involved in monastic community life?
Junior – at the end of the year as a Novice, the candidate, with the consent of the community, makes three-year temporary vows of obedience, stability and conversion of life. He is now called a Junior.
Member-for-Life – When the three-year period is up and with the consent of the community, the Junior can make solemn vows and become a full member-for-life of the monastery.