Becoming a Monk
How does one become a monk or priest?
It is important in your prayer to allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct you in your discernment. Listening to the Holy Spirit, and the many ways God speaks to us is essential to discerning your vocation.
After establishing contact with the Vocation Director, Fr. Etienne, candidates are often encouraged to come visit for a weekend or an extended stay, depending on their schedule. The purpose of these visits is to allow the individual to come to know our community and to allow the monastic community to come to know the candidate. Many questions about our way of life and practices are usually answered by living it. Any initial fears or anxieties usually disappear when one experiences our life firsthand and has an opportunity to meet the monks. After a couple of visits, many men find it helpful to invite their parents to experience and learn more about monastic life, and they could be accommodated in one of our guesthouses.
When an adequate time of discernment has elapsed, if a candidate feels called to the community, and the Vocation Director sees him as a good candidate, he may request or be invited to begin the application process.
After a candidate applies and is accepted to enter the monastery, the period of postulancy may last between one month and one year, depending upon one’s background and how well the individual is acquainted with the community. The postulancy is a time of becoming accustomed to the monastic way of life primarily by living it. It is a period for discerning whether one should proceed to the novitiate.
After living as a postulant, the candidate may petition the community to enter the novitiate. The novitiate lasts one year and is an intensified period of discernment of one's vocation. During this year, the novice studies the Rule of St. Benedict, Sacred Scripture, Monastic History, is introduced to the practice of lectio divina and is engaged in a variety of work around the monastery.
Towards the end of the novitiate, the novice may choose to petition the community to make his first profession of vows, which are for three years. It is during the profession ceremony that the Abbot bestows on the newly professed brother a new name. During these three years, the monk is given a permanent work assignment and greater responsibility in the community as he continues his monastic formation.
After three years and the approval of the community, the brother is eligible to make solemn vows, a lifetime commitment, which is the total gift of self in consecration to God.