The Constitution and the Statutes

of the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation

Established by the General Chapter


Section II: Norms for the Individual Monasteries

D. Of Novitiate and Profession, and of the Juniors

C26 The length and character of the period of monastic formation shall be the same for all the monks of a house, without neglect of the needs of the individual or of the special training needed by those destined for the clerical state, in accordance with the universal law of the Church.

S36 The extent of the responsibility of a novice or of a temporarily professed monk for expenses incurred on his behalf during the novitiate and period of temporary profession shall be determined by the Customary of each house.

1. Of the Novitiate

C27 Each autonomous monastery has the right to have its own novitiate, provided that it can guarantee an adequate formation. An abbot, with the consent of his council, has the right to erect a canonical novitiate also in a dependent monastery which is under his jurisdiction (see CIC 647.1).

S37 The abbots or superiors of monasteries in which, for any reason, novices cannot be adequately formed shall, with the consent of the council, send their novices to any novitiate of our Congregation or of the Benedictine Confederation.

S38 Before admission to the novitiate, applicants are to be received as postulants for a period of time to be determined by the abbot.

C28 Before a postulant is received into the novitiate, the superiors shall inquire, even by seeking confidential information, whether the requisites of universal law have been duly met.

S39 When the postulancy has been completed, the postulant, after making a retreat whose length shall be determined by the Customary of each house, may begin his novitiate, if the chapter has given its consent.

C29 1) During the novitiate the novices shall live under the care of the master of novices in the monastery as the abbot shall determine.

2) The master of novices shall direct the novices according to the spirit of the Rule, the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Statutes of this Congregation, and the instructions of the abbot. The abbot himself should take some direct role in the formation of the novices. The way of life in the novitiate and its regulations should approximate that of the professed community (CIC 650-562).

3) For the novitiate to be valid it must last at least twelve full months, to be spent in the monastery where the novitiate is being made (see CIC 648).

4) An absence from the novitiate which lasts for a period of more than three months, whether continuous or interrupted, renders the novitiate invalid; an absence lasting more than fifteen days but less than three months must be made up (CIC 649.1).

5) With the permission of the abbot, to be noted in the register of professions, a first profession may be anticipated by no more than fifteen days (see CIC 649.2).

S40 1) When half the time of novitiate has elapsed, the suitability of a novice for continuing the novitiate and his fitness for the work of the monastery shall be deliberated in chapter. If the chapter then gives its consent, the novice may continue his novitiate.

2) The chapter of a monastery may assign the midyear deliberation on novices to the council. If it does so, this should be set down in the Customary of the house.

C30 The abbot may dismiss a novice at any time during the novitiate. The novice himself is free to withdraw during the novitiate or at its completion.

C31 When a novice has completed his novitiate, the abbot may admit him to temporary profession if the novice himself so requests, if he is again judged suitable, and if the chapter has given its consent. If doubt still remains about his suitability or his readiness, the abbot can extend his novitiate by as long as six months.

S41 A novice shall make a retreat of at least five full days before his temporary profession.


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Rev. 08 Apr 2009 |