Stages of Initial Formation
An affiliate is a woman who has chosen to associate with the community of Mount St. Scholastica for the sake of learning more about the Benedictine way of life with the intention of seeking admission. The woman enters a period of prayer and regular contact with the community and the vocation director in order to discern her call to live the Benedictine way of life and to develop a relationship with the community. This affiliation could last up to two years.
"We intend to establish a school for the Lord's service." Rule of St. Benedict
A postulant is a woman who is beginning to live the Benedictine monastic way of life at Mount St. Scholastica. During this period of nine to twelve months, the woman begins to transition from her previous lifestyle to that of monastic community life, becoming acquainted with the community and its spirituality. She continues to discern her call to monastic life, as well as growing in self understanding through openness to God, self, and others in community.
"The concern must be whether the novice truly seeks God and whether she shows eagerness for the Work of God, for obedience and for trials." Rule of St. Benedict
During the canonical novitiate, the novice continues to discern her call to seek God within the monastic way of life, living under a Rule and a prioress. At the same time, the novice director and the community discern whether the woman has a vocation to Mount St. Scholastica. This is a period of more intense listening to the Spirit's call, giving time to solitude, silence, and study. The time spent as a novice includes two years, one of which is the canonical novitiate year and lived within the house of formation. During the second novitiate year, the novice lives with a living group of the community and engages in a ministry.
"Come daughter hear me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Draw near to God that you may be radiant with joy and your being will always be at peace." Rule of St. Benedict
After both the novice and the community discern that the woman is being called to continue her journey at Mount St. Scholastica, she makes triennial monastic profession. Professing obedience, stability, and fidelity to the monastic way of life, the woman vows to respond to the monastic life on an even deeper level. During this period of three to six years, the woman, her scholastic director, and the community will continue to discern if she is being called to a lifetime commitment to the monastic life of communal living, prayer and work.