Pre-Entrance or Aspirancy, this usually lasts one year and includes communicating with the vocations directress of the monastery via correspondence and also a visit (from 4-6 weeks) within the enclosure.
Postulancy begins when the candidate enters the monastery and lasts for one year. It is a time of transition from the world to a new way of life; a time to slowly become acquainted with the monastic calling.
The Novitiate begins with the candidate receiving the Habit of the Order and lasts for two years. It is a time of study and growing deeper in the way of life of the cloistered Dominican nun. During these years the Sister grows in her knowledge and understanding of the Vows of religion which constitute the covenant of love she will make with Christ.
First Profession of Vows takes place at the conclusion of the Novitiate when the candidate, approved by the community, professes her Temporary Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience.
This period of Temporary Vows lasts a total of five years and is spent in deeper prayer, study, work and living of the vows. After, if the community accepts and the candidate wishes, she will go forward to profess her Solemn Vows.
The Nun makes her Solemn Profession of Vows freely and publically until death. “Solemn Profession is a holocaust, a total gift of oneself to God, and the most perfect imitation of Christ.” (Dom Marmion)
The entire period of Initial Formation takes place in the monastery while living in community – a school of charity.