Becoming a monk
“Who is the man that desireth life and loveth to see good days?”, asks our Holy Father Benedict at the beginning of his rule (Prologue 15). Saint Benedict therefore sees monasticism not as an escape into a monastery, but rather a devotion of one’s life to Jesus Christ, who says of himself: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). But how does one become a monk? Here is a series of brief answers.
You must be male, Catholic and at least 18 years old to become a monk. You may not be bound by an existing marriage and you must be physically and mentally fit. You are expected to have completed secondary education or vocational training.
If you are considering entering a monastery, you should already be practising the faith in everyday life and leading a life of prayer. The most important criterion for a candidate is whether he is really seeking God (see RB 58,7). The procedure is then as follows…
As a guest of the monastery
If you wondering whether God might be calling you to the monastic life, it best first to contact the appropriate father in order to spend a few days as a guest at the Benedictine abbey of Marienberg: a guest of the monastery!
Having clarified your questions, you are welcome to spend a few days with us as a guest. You will be provided with a room in the guest wing and you may participate in the daily life of the monks. The novice master is always ready to answer your questions and concerns during this time. If the days spent with us have appealed to you, it is a good idea to spend longer with us, around two weeks, in order to get a deeper insight into our lives. Acceptance into the postulancy
If, after your stay as a guest, you decide to take your interest in the monastery further, you must make a written application. The postulancy is a period of preparation with which the religious life begins. It lasts from six to twelve months. Acceptance into the novitiate
Following successful examination by both sides, the postulant is admitted to the novitiate for one year and receives the habit of the order. The purpose of the novitiate is to ascertain one’s vocation and to grow closer to our way of life. The everyday life of a novice is characterised by his participation in the liturgy, lessons on the novitiate and the performance of daily tasks. The novice is looked after by the novice master, whose role is to check the candidate’s aims and suitability and introduce him to the monastic life.
If upon completion of the one-year novitiate you and the convent conclude that you have a vocation for the religious life, you take a vow – the simple profession – to enter our community for three years and receive your order name. The simple profession marks the end of the learning process for the novitiate and you will now become more intensively involved in our monastic life. At the end of the novitiate you have a discussion with the Abbot regarding your future monastic calling. Studies or other training usually begin during the period of the simple profession. Solemn profession
After the three years of the simple profession, the solemn profession may then immediately be made. If serious doubts still exist, the simple profession may be extended. Making the solemn profession means that you are now a fully-fledged member of our community. As Benedictines, we commit ourselves unto death to the order and to the community. That is why it is necessary to consider this vocation in mutual freedom. Do you have further questions? Then please contact the novice master: Pater Urs Maria OSB