age or older who is interested inreligious life but is still searching toanswer the question “What does Godwant of me?” can join a programwith a religious community. Theseprograms are usually very flexible.
The person may meet monthly witha priest, brother, or sister and sharein experiences of prayer and community life. Others may take part ina Come and See program to visit acommunity and experience its wayof life. [For a current listing of discernment opportunities, visit voca-tionnetwork.org/events.]
CANDIDATE: This period enables the
candidate (sometimes called a “pos-
tulant”) to observe and participate in
religious life from the inside. He or
she must indicate interest and have
the community agree to accept him
or her as a person in the process of
joining. The candidate lives within
the community while continuing his
or her education or work experience.
This period enables the candidate toobserve and participate in religiouslife. It also allows the communityto see whether the candidate showspromise in living the community’slife. A person may be a candidate forone or two years.
NOVICE: The novitiate is the nextstage of formation. This is a specialone- to two-year period that marks amore official entrance into a community. Novices spend time in studyand prayer to learn more aboutthemselves, the community, andtheir relationship with Jesus. At theend of the novitiate, novices preparefor temporary vows.
VOWS: Promises of poverty, celibacy,
and obedience may be taken for one,
two, or three years, depending upon
the decision of the individual. These
promises are renewable for up to
nine years. As soon as three years af-
ter making temporary vows, a person
can make a promise to live the vows
A man studying for religious
priesthood must also undergo semi-
nary training. During this time he
studies theology, scripture, church
teachings, and the skills he will need
to be a priest.
10. What vows do priests,
brothers, and sisters make?
Brothers, sisters, and priests in religious communities make three vows,and some congregations make other
MEMBERS OFreligious institutestypically takethree vows whenthey join: poverty,celibacy, andobedience.
TOBIAS MAYR, FLICKR