The novitiate, also called the noviciate, is the period of training and preparation that a Christian novice (or prospective) monastic, apostolic, or member of a religious order undergoes prior to taking vows in order to discern whether he or she is 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. It is a time of creating a new way of being in the world. The novitiate stage in most communities is a two-year period of formation.These years are "Sabbath time" to deepen one's relationship with God, to intensify the living out of the community's mission and charism, and to foster human growth. The novitiate experience for many communities includes a concentrated program of prayer, study, reflection and limited ministerial engagement.
Novices are not admitted to vows until they have successfully completed the prescribed period of training and proving, called the novitiate. In the Middle Ages novices typically would have dormitories in separate areas within a monastery; an early Cistercian monastery, Royal Monastery of Our Lady of the Wheel, founded in 1202, has this chamber clearly visible today.
Earlier, different orders followed their own rules governing the length and conditions of the novitiate. At the time of the Reformation, the Council of Trent legislated the length and conditions by which anyone aspiring to become a monk is obliged to be a novice; the usual period is at least one year,depending on the aptitude of the candidate.
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.
- —Canon Law 646
Conscious of their own responsibility, the Novices are to collaborate actively with their Director in such a way that they faithfully respond to the grace of a divine vocation.
- —Canon Law 652.3
Members of the institute are to take care that they cooperate for their part in the work of formation of the Novices through example of life and prayer
- —Canon Law 652.3
Novices are to be led to cultivate human and Christian virtues; through prayer and self denial they are to be introduced to a fuller way of perfection; they are to be taught to contemplate the mystery of salvation and to read and meditate on the sacred scriptures; they are to be prepared to cultivate the worship of God in the sacred liturgy; they are to learn a manner of leading a life consecrated to God and humanity in Christ through the evangelical counsels; they are to be instructed regarding the character and spirit, the purpose and discipline, the history and life of the institute; and they are to be imbued with love for the Church.
- —Canon Law 652
A novice is free to quit the novitiate at any time, and the Novice Director, Formation Director, or Superior is free to dismiss him or her with or without cause in most communities.
In some novitiate communities, mostly monastic, the novice often wears clothing that is distinct from secular dress but is not the full habit worn by professed members of the community. The novice's day normally encompasses participation in the canonical hours, manual labor, and classes designed to instruct novices in the religious life he or she is preparing to embrace. Spiritual exercises and tests of humility are common features of a novitiate. Roman Catholic communities have daily reception of Holy Communion by their novices.
A Superior will often appoint an experienced member of the community to oversee the training of novices. This may be a Finally Professed Member, novice master or mistress who is responsible for the training of all novices.
Different religious communities will have varying requirements for the duration of the novitiate. Often one must complete a postulancy before officially entering the novitiate. In many apostolic religious communities in the United States, postulancy or candidacy is one to three 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 term "novitiate" also refers to the building, house, or complex within a monastery or convent that is devoted exclusively to the needs of novices (sleeping, training, etc.).
A nun is a member of a religious community of women, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the enclosure of a monastery. Communities of nuns exist in numerous religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism, and Taoism.
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 his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his or her life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.
A novice is a person or creature who is new to a field or activity. It can be seen as a person who has entered a religious order and is under probation, before taking vows. Additionally, it can be an animal, especially a racehorse, that has not yet won a major prize or reached a level of performance to qualify for important events.
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 monastery or a religious institute, both before actual admission and for the period of time preceding their admission into the novitiate. Currently, however, common usage terms the person who has not yet been accepted by the institution as an "inquirer" or "observer".
Religious vows are the public vows made by the members of religious communities pertaining to their conduct, practices, and views.
Consecrated life is a state of life in the Catholic Church lived by believers who wish to follow Jesus Christ in a more exacting way. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it "is characterized by the public profession of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, in a stable state of life recognized by the Church". The Code of Canon Law defines it as "a stable form of living by which the faithful, following Christ more closely under the action of the Holy Spirit, are totally dedicated to God who is loved most of all, so that, having been dedicated by a new and special title to his honour, to the building up of the Church, and to the salvation of the world, they strive for the perfection of charity in the service of the kingdom of God and, having been made an outstanding sign in the Church, foretell the heavenly glory."
The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are a missionary congregation in the Catholic Church. It was founded in 1854 by Servant of God Jules Chevalier (1824–1907) at Issoudun, France, in the Diocese of Bourges.
In the Catholic Church, a novice master or master of novices is a member of a religious institute who is responsible for the training and government of the novitiate in that institute. In a female religious institute, the novice mistress plays a similar role.
The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette are a religious congregation of priests and brothers in the Latin Church, one of the 23 sui iuris churches which make up the Catholic Church which is led by the Bishop of Rome. They are named after the apparition of Our Lady of La Salette in France. There is also a parallel religious community of sisters called the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of La Salette. A lay fraternal group of associates also works in cooperation with the vowed religious. The Missionaries are dedicated to making known the message of Our Lady of La Salette, a call to healing of inner brokenness and personal reconciliation with God, especially as found in the first three commandments. The missionaries are popularly known as "the La Salettes."
The Congregation of St. Cecilia, commonly known as the Nashville Dominicans, is a religious institute within the Latin Church of the 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.
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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.
The Oblates of Notre Dame (OND) is a religious congregation based in Cotabato City, Philippines. The congregation consists of 172 sisters as of January, 2016.
A religious institute is a type of institute of consecrated life in the Catholic Church where its members take religious vows and lead a life in community with fellow members. Religious institutes are one of the two types of institutes of consecrated life; the other is that of the secular institute, where its members are "living in the world".
The Bernardine Cistercians of Esquermes are a small branch of the Cistercian Order. They follow the Rule of St Benedict, and co-operate with the apostolic mission of the Church through educational activities and hospitality. There are eight monasteries of nuns in six different countries, united by a central Government.
The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) is a Society of Apostolic Life within the Roman Catholic Church. It was founded in 1958 by Father James H. Flanagan, a priest from the United States. The Society maintains missions in various countries, describing itself as Marian-Trinitarian, Catholic, missionary, and family. Membership in the Society includes priests, permanent deacons, religious sisters, religious brothers, and the lay faithful.
San Agustin Center of Studies is a seminary located in Diliman, Quezon City. It was founded in 1984.
St. Andrew Abbey-Cleveland is a Benedictine monastery in Cleveland, Ohio.