Novitiate

Last updated
A novice is at left. The habit of a novice often differs from that of the full professed nuns or monks. Zusters in Sevilla.JPG
A novice is at left. The habit of a novice often differs from that of the full professed nuns or monks.

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. [1] 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.

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.

Monk religious occupation of Monasteries

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 religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of laypeople and, in some orders, clergy. Religious orders exist in many of the world's religions.

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.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th to the 15th century

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Monastery complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplace(s) of monks or nuns

A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monks or nuns, whether living in communities or alone (hermits). A monastery generally includes a place reserved for prayer which may be a chapel, church, or temple, and may also serve as an oratory, or in the case of communities anything from a single building housing only one senior and two or three junior monks or nuns, to vast complexes and estates housing tens or hundreds. A monastery complex typically comprises a number of buildings which include a church, dormitory, cloister, refectory, library, balneary and infirmary. Depending on the location, the monastic order and the occupation of its inhabitants, the complex may also include a wide range of buildings that facilitate self-sufficiency and service to the community. These may include a hospice, a school, and a range of agricultural and manufacturing buildings such as a barn, a forge, or a brewery.

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, [2] depending on the aptitude of the candidate.

Reformation Schism within the Christian Church in the 16th century

TheReformation was a movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Roman Catholic Church—and papal authority in particular. Although the Reformation is usually considered to have started with the publication of the Ninety-five Theses by Martin Luther in 1517, there was no schism between the Catholics and the nascent Lutheran branch until the 1521 Edict of Worms. The edict condemned Luther and officially banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas. The end of the Reformation era is disputed: it could be considered to end with the enactment of the confessions of faith which began the Age of Orthodoxy. Other suggested ending years relate to the Counter-Reformation, the Peace of Westphalia, or that it never ended since there are still Protestants today.

Council of Trent Synod

The Council of Trent, held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent, was the 19th ecumenical council of the Catholic Church. Prompted by the Protestant Reformation, it has been described as the embodiment of the Counter-Reformation.

An aptitude is a component of a competence to do a certain kind of work at a certain level. Outstanding aptitude can be considered "talent". An aptitude may be physical or mental. Aptitude is inborn potential to do certain kinds of work whether developed or undeveloped. Ability is developed knowledge, understanding, learned or acquired abilities (skills) or attitude. The innate nature of aptitude is in contrast to skills and achievement, which represent knowledge or ability that is gained through learning.

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 a hierarchy or tree structure of any kind, a superior is an individual or position at a higher level in the hierarchy than another, and thus closer to the apex. In business, superiors are people who are supervisors and in the military, superiors are people who are higher in the chain of command. Superiors are given, sometimes supreme, authority over others under their command. When an order is given, one must follow that order and obey it or punishment may be issued.

Often, in novicating, the vows are continuous through training.

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 full canonical hours, manual labor, and classes designed to instruct novices in the religious life he is preparing to embrace. Spiritual exercises and tests of humility are common features of a novitiate. Some Roman Catholic communities encourage frequent confession and reception of Holy Communion by their novices.

Religious habit 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 recognisable 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.

The term religious profession is used in many western-rite Christian denominations to refer to the solemn admission of men or women into a religious order by means of public vows.

Canonical hours Christian concept of periods of prayer throughout the day

In the practice of Christianity, canonical hours mark the divisions of the day in terms of periods of fixed prayer at regular intervals. A book of hours normally contains a version of, or selection from, such prayers.

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.).

See also

Related Research Articles

Nun Member of a religious community of women

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, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism.

Trappists 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.

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 promises made by members of religious communities

Religious vows are the public vows made by the members of religious communities pertaining to their conduct, practices, and views.

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George is a Roman Catholic Congregation of consecrated women whose spirituality is derived from St. Francis of Assisi. Mother M. Anselma Bopp and Father John Gerard Dall founded the Order in Thuine, Germany, in 1869. The Order expanded to the U.S. in 1923 with the founding of a Provincialate and Novitiate in Alton, Illinois, which continues to be the location of the Provincial House. They are also located in other areas of Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, New Jersey, Ohio, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin, as well as on missions in Brazil and Cuba.

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.

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."

Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia

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 2017, the congregation has 305 sisters.

Solus Christi Brothers is a monastic community in the state of Wisconsin. The community is part of the Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America.

Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit organization

The Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit, known also simply as Pauline Fathers, is a monastic order of the Roman Catholic Church, founded in Hungary during the 13th century. Its post-nominal letters are O.S.P.P.E.

Degrees of Eastern Orthodox monasticism

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

Company of Mary

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".

Bernardine Cistercians of Esquermes

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.

References

  1. Canon Law 653.1
  2. "Novice". Catholic Encyclopedia .