This article describes in brief the process of monastic formation that a man goes through to become a monk. This is how it happens at Conception Abbey. Other monasteries may have different procedures or terminology.
Those just visiting the community may be termed “prospects” or “candidates.” Either term may be used interchangeably. Vocation guests may be allowed to eat with the monks or to sit with us in our choir stalls at prayer. They may also get opportunities to work with one or more of the monks.
After a period of discernment and communication with the vocation director, a man may decide to ask to test his vocation within the community. After completing an application process and being accepted by the vocations committee, he may come to live with us. At this point we call him a postulant. He has “postulated” himself as a potential member of the community.
Becoming a Novice
If the postulant and the community discern that it is God’s will, he may next proceed to a more formal period of monastic formation or training as a “novice.” According to church law, the “novitiate” or period of being a novice must last at least one year. So if you enter novitiate in August, you could, God willing, profess vows a year and a day later, the following August.
A new monk first professes vows that will last for three years. During this time, he is a “junior” monk. He receives a new name at profession and is called “Brother.”
Supporting Those in Monastic Formation
Young men in the process of discernment and monastic formation need lots of prayers. Please pray for our novices. Pray, too, that God will send us more good men to seek God in the monastic life. If you know someone making vows, send a card.