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 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.
- —CIC, can. 646
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 novices' day normally includes participation in the canonical hours, manual labor, and classes about the religious life. Spiritual exercises and tests of humility are common features of a novitiate.
A superior should ideally appoint an experienced member of the community to serve as novice master or mistress.
Different religious communities have varying requirements for the duration of the novitiate. The novice must complete a postulancy before being admitted to the novitiate, the duration of which can be short or extend up to three years.
A novice is free to leave the novitiate at any time and in most communities, the superiors are free to dismiss them with or without cause. At the end of the novitiate, the novices are either admitted to temporary vows or asked to leave. The binding, life-long commitment to consecrated life comes at a later point.
The term novitiate also refers to the building, house, or complex devoted to the novices' cells or dormitory and other needs, such as study and education.
A nun is a woman who vows to dedicate her life to religion, 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.
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism by living a monastic lifestyle, 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.
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 who is entering a profession with no prior experience.
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.
Religious vows are the public vows made by the members of religious communities pertaining to their conduct, practices, and views.
In Christianity, an oblate is a person who is specifically dedicated to God and to God's service.
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.
The Society of the Divine Word, abbreviated SVD and popularly called the Verbites or the Divine Word Missionaries, and sometimes the Steyler Missionaries, is a Catholic clerical religious congregation of Pontifical Right for men. As of 2020, it consisted of 5,965 members composed of priests and religious brothers working in more than 70 countries, now part of VITA international. It is one of the largest missionary congregations in the Catholic Church. Its members add the nominal letters SVD after their names to indicate membership in the Congregation. The superior general is Paulus Budi Kleden who hails from Indonesia.
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 Roman Catholic Church, a novice master or master of novices, lat. Magister noviciorum, is a member of a religious institute who is responsible for the training and government of the novitiate in that institute. In religious institutes for women, the novice mistress, lat. Magistra noviciorum, is the equivalent.
The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette are a religious congregation of priests and brothers in the Latin Church. 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 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.
The Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception are a religious community of women consecrated to Christ in the Dominican charism with the mission of living the Word of God through teaching, evangelization and health care. The community was founded in 1861 by Maria Rose Columba Bialecka (1838–1887) in Poland.
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.
The degrees of Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic monasticism are the stages an Eastern Orthodox monk or nun passes through in their religious vocation.
Don Bosco Formation Center (DBFC), formerly known as Don Bosco Missionary Seminary (DBMS), is a Salesian House run by the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) in Lawaan III Talisay City, Cebu, Philippines. It was established to provide salesian formation for the candidates to the priestly and religious life of the Salesian Province of Mary Help of Christians (FIS) in the Philippines.
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.
"A religious institute is a society in which members, according to proper law, pronounce public vows, either perpetual or temporary which are to be renewed, however, when the period of time has elapsed, and lead a life of brothers or sisters in common."
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.
St. Andrew Abbey-Cleveland is a Benedictine monastery in Cleveland, Ohio.