What is the Novitiate?

“The novitiate is a period of testing.” -Book of Occasional Services, 388.

The novitiate is a time of discernment, learning, and testing before the serious decision to make religious vows. In some ways, it is not unlike an engagement for those who are to be married, or the period of candidacy for those who are to be ordained. At the novitiate, we profess our intention to live according to our rule of life, without yet vowing to do so. It’s a period, in other words, where adjustments are expected! Entry into the religious life is an ongoing, lifelong process, and the novitiate is the first formal milestone on that path. Following approximately two years as novices, we expect that Marta and Gregory will make initial vows renewable each year; following several years of initial vows, they may each make life vows and, giving up private ownership, will enter into a full community of goods held in common at that time.