The process of becoming a full member of the community will normally take between four and a half to five years. After visiting the monastery over a period of time the aspirant will be received as a postulant. The postulancy will normally last from three months to a year, depending on the needs of the individual. This is a time when the postulant acclimatizes himself to the monastic rhythm of life and learns the ins and outs of the monastic routine. At the end of the postulancy the candidate is clothed in the monastic habit by the Abbot and enters the novitiate.

The novitiate lasts one year. During this time the novice will discern, under the direction of the novice master and Abbot, whether he is being called by God to live the monastic way of life in this particular monastery. Manual work, and reflective reading and discussion of the Rule, scripture, liturgy and monastic history will take up much of his time. If the community and the novice decide at the end of the year that he should continue in the monastic way of life, he will take temporary vows for three years.

During this time the junior monk will deepen his monastic studies, paying particular attention to the Bible, the writings of the Church Fathers and monastic literature. He may also, at some stage in the juniorate, begin studying for a degree in philosophy and/or theology. As Michael Casey ocso reminds us monastic studies has as its aim “to contribute to a more complete living of the Gospel”. (The Art of Winning Souls, p. 154) This lifelong formation seeks to enable the monk to deepen his understanding and love of the monastic way of life and to live it with both mind and heart under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. On the completion of the juniorate, the Abbot with the consent of the Chapter (all of the monks in solemn or final vows) may admit the junior to solemn or final profession.