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Formation Program

A person becomes a member of the monastic community through a series of stages described here.


A person interested in a monastic vocation to Newark Abbey contacts the Vocation Director,vocations@sbp.org who will invite him to make several brief visits to the Abbey. Individual cases vary according to circumstances, but the inquirer is encouraged to be in frequent contact, including overnight visits.  Eventually he may be invited to come live in the monastery for a week or more. If the candidate wishes to enter the monastery he may apply for admission to postulancy.


Under the guidance of the Director of Formation he will live in the novitiate and join the monastic community at prayers, meals and recreation. During this period he will engage in various kinds of work and take certain classes in the monastery as determined on an individual basis. The usual period of postulancy is about six months, although how long it can last depends on the candidate, his relationship/knowledge of the community, and his experience at said community.


At the end of the period of postulancy the candidate may be invited to apply for admission to the community as a Novice. If accepted by the community he will spend a period of one year under the Director of Formation (Novice Master) studying the Rule of Benedict, scripture, monastic history, liturgy and other topics. It is during this time that the candidate begins to learn firsthand what it means to be a monk of Newark Abbey by leading a life of prayer, work, and study. Like a Postulant, a Novice is not in vows and is free to leave at any time.


If the Novice feels that he is indeed called to be Benedictine of Newark Abbey he applies to be accepted for temporary vows as a member of the community. If accepted by the community, he makes simple vows, which last for a period of three years. During this time he will, depending on the individual monk, work in St. Benedict’s Prep and at other jobs in the monastery, or perhaps engage in formal study.

A junior monk who feels that he may be called to the priesthood will need to discern such a vocation with the Abbot and the Director of Formation.  


At the end of his three years of temporary vows the junior monk may choose either to apply for solemn vows or extend his temporary vows for up to three more years. Solemn profession of vows is a monk’s definitive commitment to the community monastic life.