The first stage for a prospective candidate is to live in our Guesthouse for a week to ten days; we might ask him to do this a few times before inviting him into the Cloister. Once in the monastery he will be expected to participate fully in the life of the community.
This stage is referred to as the Observership, and it usually lasts for a month or two depending on each individual case. Next comes the
Postulancy which has a duration of six months. Postulants attend the novitiate classes. The pre-novitiate period is completed at the end of the Postulancy. At this point the Aspirant becomes a Novice for a period of a year.
The Novice receives a new name along with the black tunic, belt and short scapular. During this period of formation he will study scripture, chant, liturgy, monastic history and the Rule of St. Benedict. At the end of twelve months, if the Chapter, that is the monks in final vows, approves his petition, he may make Simple Vows for one year.
At the time of Simple Profession he is clothed with black tunic with a long scapular of the professed monks. Classes for the simple professed cover a wide range of topics, including monastic and church history, liturgy, patristics, philosophy and theology; allowing the monk to choose a particular field of interest. The simple vows are renewed each year, normally lasting for a total of three years, but church law permits up to nine years.
The next stage in a monk's life begins with his Solemn Profession. This commitment is for life. These are his final vows: Obedience, Stability, and Conversion of Life. It is at this point that the monk is given a long black choir robe, the Cowl, and assumes the responsibility of a chapter member, those who meet with the Abbot and vote on important matters in the monastery.