Stages of Formation
Discerning a vocation to monastic life is a gradual process which involves personal prayer and getting to know the community. Over a period of time, we can exchange correspondence and arrange for you to visit us for short stays.
A longer, live-in experience of the monastic life (usually of about three months’ duration) would take place before any decision is made about entering our community. This journey of discernment involves no commitment whatsoever—it reaches a natural end if you or our community feels that your vocation lies elsewhere.
On the other hand, you might feel called to seek admission to our community, in which case canon law requires that you be a Roman Catholic woman who is free to enter. Upon admission, we will undertake together a new phase in the discernment of your vocation: the period of initial formation. This begins with the postulancy, lasting between 6 and 18 months. As a postulant, you will participate in the work, prayer, and recreation activities of the community while studying scripture, The Rule of St Benedict, and the constitutions of our congregation. In time, you may petition for admission to the novitiate, a stage of stronger attachment between you and the community lasting no less than 18 months. Novices receive the habit and take a religious name, and continue to study the life while they experience it day by day. There is no obligation to stay if it becomes clear during the postulancy or the novitiate that this life is not for you.
At the end of your novitiate, you may petition for admission to temporary profession, a stage in which you profess to live the Benedictine vows with us for a period of three years. At this point, you are considered a junior member of the community. By the end of the three years, you and the community determine whether God is calling you to make perpetual profession, in which you permanently commit yourself to living the monastic life with us. This is the conclusion of the lengthy discernment process but only the beginning of a new phase in your life-long search for God.