Every Christian is called to live out their Baptism by following Christ in the particular circumstances of their life. For some however, there is the sense of a ‘deeper call’ – to live for Christ alone. It is this call which prompts a person to think of living monastic life. Usually this sense of ‘a call’ is very hazy, and unspecific. It may have come from the experience of visiting a monastery or meeting a monk. For others it may be the ideals of monastic life – prayer – community living – that inspires them, which most find difficult to explain. The first stage of enquiring is to make contact with the monk responsible for vocations.
It is usual for the enquirer to come and stay at the monastery for a few of days, experiencing the communal life and prayer. If he wishes to continue the exploration, he will keep in touch, try and build up a habit of prayer in his life and make a longer visit some time later. This may continue for some time. The last part of the discernment process would be to live at the monastery as a ‘postulant’ that is, ‘someone seeking entry’.