Period of Initial Contact - During this time the candidate is invited to visit and get to know the community and our way of life primarily through contact with the novice mistress.
Aspirancy - When there is positive indication of a genuine vocation to Dominican contemplative life as it is lived in our monastery a candidate may request to apply to make an aspirancy. 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. After the completion of the aspirancy the candidate leaves the monastery and she and the community take some time to reflect and pray in order to seek to understand God's plan for her.
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. This integration is effected not only by the teaching of appropriate behavior and the transmission of knowledge but by the handing on of a whole way of life with its own proper spirit and mentality. The areas of instruction that are especially consonant with the novitiate period are the vows and religious consecration, the Dominican and monastic traditions, and the history and theology of the spiritual life. 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. Following the Augustinian tradition of monastic life the young nun will be encouraged in the discovery of the truth that her own personal progress toward union with God is closely linked to her relationships with other members of the community. A program of systematic theological formation ordinarily forms the content of the instruction and study proper to this period. Temporary vows are made for three years and are followed by a one year renewal of vows in order to allow for a fuller preparation for the total consecration of Solemn Vows.
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 her indissoluble union with God.
One does not enter as a Dominican nun...one becomes a Dominican nun by entering into and embracing our way of life and the radical gift of self in faith which it entails. This gift of self culminates in Solemn Profession through which a woman is totally consecrated to God in the Order until death. Following Solemn Profession, formation continues for the rest of one's life - the Holy Spirit conforming each nun to the Son in his life with the Father - given for the salvation of souls.