Postulant

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A postulant (from Latin : postulare, to ask) 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. [1] Currently, however, common usage terms the person who has not yet been accepted by the institution as an "inquirer" or "observer".

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.

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".

Novitiate

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 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.

Contents

The term is most commonly used in the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion (which includes the Episcopal Church, which uses the term to designate those who are seeking ordination to the diaconate or priesthood. Postulancy is generally considered the first formal step leading to candidacy and ordination). The Eastern Orthodox Churches uses this term less frequently.

Catholic Church Christian church led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's "oldest continuously functioning international institution", it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Anglican Communion International association of churches

The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion. Founded in 1867 in London, England, the communion currently has 85 million members within the Church of England and other national and regional churches in full communion. The traditional origins of Anglican doctrines are summarised in the Thirty-nine Articles (1571). The Archbishop of Canterbury in England acts as a focus of unity, recognised as primus inter pares, but does not exercise authority in Anglican provinces outside of the Church of England.

Episcopal Church (United States) Anglican denomination in the United States

The Episcopal Church (TEC) is a member church of the worldwide Anglican Communion based in the United States with dioceses elsewhere. It is a mainline Christian denomination divided into nine provinces. The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church is Michael Bruce Curry, the first African-American bishop to serve in that position.

Service and purpose

The length of time that a prospective candidate remains a postulant may vary depending on the institution, or the postulant's individual situation. Among active religious institutions, it typically lasted 4–6 months. At present, many monasteries have a candidate spend 1–2 years in this stage. During this time, the postulant generally participates as fully as possible in the life of the community, joining the novices and professed members for work and prayer.

Since the candidate is not a formal member of the institution at this stage, it is easier for a man or woman not fully certain about religious life to re-examine his or her intentions and commitment before entering the novitiate. Likewise, should the person be determined to be unsuited to the life, a postulant can be dismissed by an institution without the need for any formal procedure.

The term is also sometimes used to describe the ecclesiastical status of a person who has discerned a call to the priesthood or to the diaconate and has received parish and diocesan endorsement. The candidate retains postulant status throughout seminary, until ordination to the transitional diaconate takes place. The postulant who will not pursue ordination into the priesthood is ordained into the vocational diaconate.

Seminary, school of theology, theological seminary, and divinity school are educational institutions for educating students in scripture, theology, generally to prepare them for ordination to server as clergy, in academics, or in Christian ministry. The English word is taken from the Latin seminarium, translated as seed-bed, an image taken from the Council of Trent document Cum adolescentium aetas which called for the first modern seminaries. In the West, the term now refers to Catholic educational institutes and has widened to include other Christian denominations and American Jewish institutions.

College fraternities

In college fraternities, the term postulant is also used to describe those who have yet to be initiated into the fraternity, while they are going through the process of becoming a brother or a sister. [2]

Notes

  1. Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Postulant". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. "Home - Alpha Chi Rho National Fraternity". Alpha Chi Rho National Fraternity. Retrieved 2018-10-16.

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