Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


How Does One Become A Monk?

Published April 26, 2007

The steps to full profession in a monastery are unique for each brother, but the following is a basic guideline from Brother Michael, the vocations director for the Monastery of the Holy Spirit.

The first step is an initial visit with the candidate. The number of visits depends on distance and finances, Brother Michael said.

Secondly, the candidate is interviewed by the vocation committee, vocation director, novice director and a senior monk. The candidate must provide three letters of recommendation.

“This is usually done in one long visit or several short visits,” Brother Michael wrote in an e-mail.

The third step, observership, entails the actual living in the monastery and living as the monks do. Normally the stay is about two months, which can be extended if the candidate wishes.

Next, the candidate leaves the monastery for a minimum of 30 days to further discern his vocation. If accepted, he returns for postulancy, which is typically a one-month term during which the candidate is helped to adjust to monastic life before entering as a novice.

The novitiate is the sixth step for an aspiring monk. During this time, which is normally about two years and five months, the candidate is clothed in the white habit of a novice, and continues his discernment process.

The novice then makes his simple vows. He becomes a “junior”—a monk in simple/temporary vows. The monks take three vows—those of obedience, stability (to live in this particular monastery for the rest of one’s life), and conversion of manners, which the monk makes to devote his life to conversion. Simple vows may last anywhere from three to nine years.

Finally, a monk makes his solemn (final) vows, promising to live out the vows in the monastery until death (or rather, heaven).

For more information about the monastic life in the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, contact Brother Michael by e-mail at, or call him at (678) 964-2018.