In this stage, the candidate will be living in the monastery where he
will make a gradual transition from the secular to the religious life.
This is a time for him to become better acquainted with our community,
prayer life, and work. Postulants normally reside in the Abbey nine to
twelve months prior to entrance into the Novitiate.
is a time for the novice to learn the discipline and art of living the
Gospel as a monk. This happens by listening to the monastic tradition
and assimilating its values. During the Novitiate year, the novice
studies the Rule of Benedict, monastic literature and history, and
delves more deeply into the Scriptures, especially the Psalms. It is
during the Novitiate that the novice is given the spiritual tools which
enable him to live the monastic life. The novice finds this period to be
a time of deep spiritual growth.
Simple vows are a period of temporary commitment and usually
lasts three years. The period of temporary commitment is,
however, a serious commitment and is a time for continuing
growth. During these years, the monk will receive a broad
theological foundation, as well as some practical experience in
apostolic activities. By embracing humility, poverty, chastity,
stability, and obedience, he will be better able to determine
his ability to live the monastic life successfully. The
community will be able to decide whether his manner of life is
in accord with its spirit and objectives. Pronouncing vows is
easy, but the faithful living of their spiritual summons is a
life-long task. There are successes and failures, joys and
sorrows. But with self-discipline and patience, linked with
sacrifice and mortification, the road broadens as one learn to
rely more on God and less on self.
If after much discernment and four to five years of spiritual training
the monk in simple vows would like to consecrate his whole life to God,
he will ask the community to admit him to solemn vows.