Last updated

A novice is a person who has entered a religious order and is under probation, before taking vows. A novice can also refer to a person (or animal e.g. racehorse) who is entering a profession with no prior experience.




Buddhist novices in Wangdue Phodrang Dzong, Bhutan NovicesWangdue.jpg
Buddhist novices in Wangdue Phodrang Dzong, Bhutan

In many Buddhist orders, a man or woman who intends to take ordination must first become a novice, adopting part of the monastic code indicated in the vinaya and studying in preparation for full ordination. The name for this level of ordination varies from one tradition to another. In Pali, the word is samanera, which means 'small monk' or 'boy monk'.



The novice is at left, wearing a white veil. The habit of a novice often differs from that of the full professed sisters. Zusters in Sevilla.JPG
The novice is at left, wearing a white veil. The habit of a novice often differs from that of the full professed sisters.
A Mandaean novice or sualia 
in Baghdad, Iraq in 2008 Mandaean priest initiation 01.png
A Mandaean novice or šualiaࡔࡅࡀࡋࡉࡀ in Baghdad, Iraq in 2008

A novice in Catholic canon law and tradition is a prospective member of a religious order who is being tried and assessed for suitability of admission to a religious order of priests, religious brothers, or religious sisters, whether the community is one of monks or has an apostolate. After initial contact with the community, and usually a period of time as a postulant (a period of candidacy in which the aspirant lives with the community), the person will be received as a novice in a ceremony that most often involves being clothed with the religious habit (traditional garb) of the particular religious community. The novice's habit is often slightly different from those of professed members of the order. For instance, in communities of women that wear a black veil, novices often wear a white one, sometimes, for example among the Trappists, also a white scapular instead of the black of the professed; among Franciscan communities of men, novices wear an additional shirt-like chest piece over the traditional Franciscan robe; Carthusian novices wear a dark cloak over the usual white habit; etc.

Novices are not admitted to vows until they have successfully completed the prescribed period of training and proving, called the novitiate. This usually lasts at least one year, the minimum required by Canon Law, though in some orders and communities it is two. Novices typically have cells or a dormitory in separate areas within a monastery or community and are under the direct supervision of a novice master or novice mistress.


In communities belonging to the Lutheran Churches, the period of the novitiate starts after postulancy. [1] In the Order of Lutheran Franciscans, this period lasts for a minimum of five years. [1]


In Anglicanism, the novitiate is the period of time where a novice is trained as a member of the religious order or monastery. [2]

Eastern Orthodoxy

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, a candidate may be clothed as a novice (Slavonic: послушник, poslushnik, literally "one under obedience") by the hegumen (abbot) or hegumenia (abbess) after at least three days in the monastery. There is no formal ceremony for the clothing of a novice; he or she is simply given the riassa, belt and skoufos. Novice nuns additionally wear a veil (apostolnik) that covers the head and neck. A novice is also given a prayer rope and instructed in the use of the Jesus Prayer. In large communities, the new novice may be assigned a starets (spiritual father or spiritual mother) who will guide his (or her) spiritual development. Frequent confession of sins and participation in the sacred mysteries (sacraments) of the church is an important part of Orthodox monastic life.

A novice is free to leave the monastery at any time, and the superior is free to dismiss the novice at any time if, for instance, they feel that the novice is not called to monasticism or if there have been issues of discipline. If, however, the novice perseveres, after a period of around three years, the hegumen may choose to clothe them in the first (beginning) rank of monasticism: the rassaphore.


In Mandaeism, novices who are being initiated into the Mandaean priesthood are called šualia (Classical Mandaic : ࡔࡅࡀࡋࡉࡀ). [3]


In National Hunt racing, a novice is a horse that has not won a race under a particular code (either chasing or hurdling) before the current season. [4]

In figure skating competitions, novice has two meanings. For the U.S. Figure Skating Association, it refers to a skill level, while the International Skating Union uses it to designate age.

Novice is a level of minor hockey in Canada. Novice players are usually between the ages of 7 and 8.

In the sport of crew (rowing), the term is used for an athlete in their first year of competition.

In many sports, a novice athlete competing in their first season or league is often referred to as a rookie, and outstanding novice athletes can win Rookie of the Year.

Online communities

With the rise of the internet, a novice is a person who is a newcomer to a particular website, forum, or other social community. These people are usually inexperienced and unfamiliar with the traditions and protocols surrounding that community.

Generally derogatory slang terms include "newbie" and the more derogatory "noob". Newbie is mostly used as a descriptor or qualifier, a name given to novices by more experienced users or community members to indicate someone who just entered the community and is eager to learn and participate. Noob is a word used to insult or deride novices who are disrespectful, uninterested, or unwilling to learn.

In gamer culture, a newbie is an inexperienced player with a low level, rank, or in-game abilities but wants to participate and improve, and a noob is a bad player who seems disinterested in learning or teamwork and trolls other players.

Dealing with newcomers

Online communities have five basic problems regarding newcomers: recruitment, selection, retention, socialization, and protection. [5]

Recruitment in online communities is about advertising to recruits and ensuring there is a healthy amount of newcomers because without newcomers, online communities can fail to survive. There many different methods that online communities use to recruit new members. For example, Blizzard entertainment used both impersonal advertisement (TV, print, online advertisement) and interpersonal advertisement (recruit-a-friend promotion) to recruit new players for World of Warcraft. [6]

Selection in online communities is about making sure that the newcomers will be a good fit in the community. This is very important because a better fit is more likely to be beneficial for the community, since better fit newcomers stay in the group longer when they join and are more satisfied with their membership. One way that selection works in online communities is through the process of self-selection, in which the potential members decide themselves to join a community based on the information about the community available to them. Another way of selection is through screening, in which the community selects certain members who they believe will be a good fit. [7]

Retention in online communities is about making sure that the newcomers stick around and stay long enough to become more committed members, who take on more important responsibilities and begin to be identify themselves with the group. One way that online communities work on retention is through the use of entry barriers and initiation rituals because making it difficult to join should increase their commitment. For example, in World of Warcraft, newcomers have to play with other guild members for at least about a month to join. [8]

Socialization in online communities about the rest of community interacting with newcomer and teaching them the guidelines and standards of the community. For example, in World of Warcraft, old member show the newcomers ropes, by coaching them, helping them with quests, and providing mentorship in general. [9]

Protection in online communities is about protecting the community from the newcomers. Since newcomers still have not established themselves with the group or still may be unfamiliar with the norms of the community, the rest of the community has to beware of the potential damage that they can cause. One way to deal with the threats is through the use of sandboxes, which allows newcomers to try out the features and learn about the tools without causing damage to the community. [10]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Carthusians</span> Catholic Church religious order founded in 1084

The Carthusians, also known as the Order of Carthusians, are a Latin enclosed religious order of the Catholic Church. The order was founded by Bruno of Cologne in 1084 and includes both monks and nuns. The order has its own rule, called the Statutes, and their life combines both eremitical and cenobitic monasticism. The motto of the Carthusians is Stat crux dum volvitur orbis, Latin for "The Cross is steady while the world turns." The Carthusians retain a unique form of liturgy known as the Carthusian Rite.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nun</span> Member of a religious community of women

A nun is a woman who vows to dedicate her life to religious service, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the enclosure of a monastery or convent. The term is often used interchangeably with religious sisters who do take simple vows but live an active vocation of prayer and charitable work.

Newbie, newb, noob, noobie, n00b or nub is a slang term for a novice or newcomer, or somebody inexperienced in a profession or activity. Contemporary use can particularly refer to a beginner or new user of computers, often concerning Internet activity, such as online gaming or Linux use.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trappists</span> Roman Catholic religious order

The Trappists, officially known as the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance and originally named the Order of Reformed Cistercians of Our Lady of La Trappe, are a Catholic religious order of cloistered monastics that branched off from the Cistercians. They follow the Rule of Saint Benedict and have communities of both monks and nuns that are known as Trappists and Trappistines, respectively. They are named after La Trappe Abbey, the monastery from which the movement and religious order originated. The movement first began with the reforms that Abbot Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé introduced in 1664, later leading to the creation of Trappist congregations, and eventually the formal constitution as a separate religious order in 1892.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Monk</span> Member of a monastic religious order

A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism by monastic living, either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decides to dedicate their life to serving other people and serving God, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live their life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Novitiate</span> Period of training and preparation that a Christian novice undergoes

The novitiate, also called the noviciate, is the period of training and preparation that a Christian novice monastic, apostolic, or member of a religious order undergoes prior to taking vows in order to discern whether they are called to vowed religious life. It often includes times of intense study, prayer, living in community, studying the vowed life, deepening one's relationship with God, and deepening one's self-awareness. The canonical time of the novitiate is one year; in case of additional length, it must not be extended over two years. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the novitiate is officially set at three years before one may be tonsured a monk or nun, though this requirement may be waived. The novitiate is in any case a time both for the novice to get to know the community and the community to get to know the novice. The novice should aspire to deepening their relationship to God and discovering the community's charism. The novitiate in many communities includes a concentrated program of prayer, study, reflection and limited ministerial engagement.

The novitiate, through which life in an institute is begun, is arranged so that the novices better understand their divine vocation, and indeed one which is proper to the institute, experience the manner of living of the institute, and form their mind and heart in its spirit, and so that their intention and suitability are tested.

A postulant was originally one who makes a request or demand; hence, a candidate. The use of the term is now generally restricted to those asking for admission into a Christian monastery or a religious order for the period of time preceding their admission into the novitiate.

In the Catholic Church, a religious profession is the solemn admission of men or women into consecrated life by means of the pronouncement of religious vows, typically the evangelical counsels.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Religious habit</span> Distinctive set of garments worn by members of a religious order

A religious habit is a distinctive set of religious clothing worn by members of a religious order. Traditionally some plain garb recognizable as a religious habit has also been worn by those leading the religious eremitic and anchoritic life, although in their case without conformity to a particular uniform style.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross</span> Catholic religious order

The Crosiers, formally known as the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross, abbreviated OSC, is a Catholic religious order of canons regular of Pontifical Right for men. It is one of the Church's oldest religious orders, and membership consists of priests and brothers who live together according to the Rule of St. Augustine.

The Community of St. Clare (OSC) is a Franciscan Anglican religious order of nuns, and part of the wider Franciscan movement within the Anglican Communion. The community, founded in 1950 and based at Freeland near Witney, Oxfordshire, England, is one of several associated with the Society of Saint Francis. It forms the 'Second Order' of the Anglican Franciscan movement, commonly known as the 'Poor Clares'. The community, in common with other Second Order Franciscan communities, is an enclosed and contemplative one, and the sisters provide for their own needs through a variety of activities. The sisters believe that their 'enclosed' life does not mean being 'shut in', but rather an opportunity to live and work together on one site in real community. The community runs a guest house and retreat centre, and the sisters engage in various works including sewing, painting, printing, and manufacturing altar breads.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia</span> Catholic religious institute

The Congregation of St. Cecilia, commonly known as the Nashville Dominicans, is a religious institute of the Roman Catholic Church located in Nashville, Tennessee. It is a member of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, one of the two organizations which represent women religious in the United States. The sisters combine a monastic communal lifestyle of contemplation in the Dominican tradition with an active apostolate in Catholic education. As of 2018, the congregation has 300 sisters.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Veronica Giuliani</span> Italian Roman Catholic saint

Veronica Giuliani was an Italian Capuchin Poor Clares nun and mystic. She was canonized by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit</span> Roman Catholic monastic order

The Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit, commonly called the Pauline Fathers, is a monastic order of the Roman Catholic Church founded in Hungary during the 13th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Degrees of Eastern Orthodox monasticism</span>

The degrees of Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic monasticism are the stages an Eastern Orthodox monk or nun passes through in their religious vocation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Company of Mary</span>

The Missionaries of the Company of Mary is a missionary religious congregation within the Catholic Church. The community was founded by Saint Louis de Montfort in 1705 with the recruitment of his first missionary disciple, Mathurin Rangeard. The congregation is made up of priests and brothers who serve both in the native lands and in other countries. The Montfortian Family comprises three groups: the Company of Mary, the Daughters of Wisdom and the Brothers of Saint Gabriel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maria Crescentia Höss</span> Religious sister and saint (1682–1744)

Maria Crescentia Höss (Höß), TOR (1682–1744) was a religious sister of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. In 1900, she was beatified by Pope Leo XIII, and she was canonized in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Robert E. Kraut</span> American social psychologist

Robert E. Kraut is an American social psychologist who studies human-computer interaction, online communities, internet use, group coordination, computers in organizations, and the role of visual elements in interpersonal communication. He is a Herbert Simon Professor of Human-computer Interaction at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

The Little Franciscans of Mary (P.F.M.) is a Catholic congregation of women. Founded in Worcester, Massachusetts, the motherhouse is in Baie St. Paul, Quebec.

Mary Ignatius Hayes, O.S.F., also known as Mother Mary Ignatius of Jesus, was an Anglican religious sister who was later received into the Catholic Church and became a Franciscan sister. Her lifetime of religious service, in the course of which she traveled widely, led to the establishment of three separate religious congregations of Franciscan sisters and the establishment of the Poor Clare nuns in the United States.


  1. 1 2 "Vocations". Order of Lutheran Franciscans. 2021. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  2. Armentrout, Don S.; Slocum, Robert Boak (22 May 2012). "Novitiate". Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America . Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  3. Buckley, Jorunn Jacobsen (2002). The Mandaeans: ancient texts and modern people. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-515385-5. OCLC   65198443.
  4. "National Hunt races". BBC. 3 March 2003. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  5. Robert Kraut, Moira Burke & John Riedl (2012). Dealing with Newcomers. p. 2.
  6. Robert Kraut, Moira Burke & John Riedl (2012). Dealing with Newcomers. p. 4.
  7. Robert Kraut, Moira Burke & John Riedl (2012). Dealing with Newcomers. p. 13
  8. Robert Kraut, Moira Burke & John Riedl (2012). Dealing with Newcomers. p. 22
  9. Robert Kraut, Moira Burke & John Riedl (2012). Dealing with Newcomers. p. 27
  10. Robert Kraut, Moira Burke & John Riedl (2012). Dealing with Newcomers. p. 32