at the Heart of the Order of Preachers
The Entry and Formation Process
Aspirancy - This period begins when a candidate first contacts us and is invited to visit and to familiarize herself with our particular expression of the Dominican contemplative life. When there is positive indication of a genuine vocation to monastic life as it is lived in our monastery a candidate may request to enter the cloister for a live in experience. This is a period of about a month in which she lives within the enclosure and shares to some extent in the common life of the monastery and novitiate. This time gives the candidate some practical experience of daily life in the monastery and tests her aptitude for it before she makes the personal arrangements necessary before entering the postulancy. According to Cor Orans, the new directives of the Holy See, this period must last one year.
Postulancy - If both the community and the candidate believe that God is calling her to enter here, she requests to enter as a postulant. The one year postulancy constitutes the first phase of formation. It is primarily a time of transition from secular life to religious life. The postulant is gradually introduced into a way of life that is radically different from life "in the world." Through classes and personal dialogue the candidate is assisted in her desire to understand her vocation as a contemplative, the fundamental importance of the Word of God, the principles of monastic life, and the distinctive characteristics of Dominican contemplative life.
Novitiate - The postulancy is followed by the reception of the Dominican habit and the beginning of the novitiate. The novitiate is a time of further growth during which the various elements of our life are gradually and harmoniously integrated. The novitiate is two years at the end of which the candidate is admitted to first profession of vows or else returns to secular life.
First Profession -The period of temporary vows, symbolized by the reception of a black veil, is a new phase of formation which builds upon the previous phases and benefits from the stability derived from profession. As a prolonged preparation for Solemn Profession, it aims at strengthening the fidelity of the newly professed, encourages her ongoing assimilation and integration of the various elements of our way of life. Temporary vows are made for three years and are followed by a renewal of vows in order to allow for a fuller preparation for the total consecration of Solemn Vows. According to Cor Orans, the new directives of the Holy See, the period of temporary vows must last at least five years.
Solemn Profession - By Solemn Profession a woman is totally consecrated to God in the Order of Preachers until death. Her black veil is now blessed and she receives a ring as a symbol of this total consecration.
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Monastery of Our lady of Grace
11 Race Hill Road
North Guilford, Connecticut 06437