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
2. Of Profession and the Temporarily Professed

C32 There are two stages of public monastic profession: a first stage entered by the profession of temporary vows, and a final stage entered by the profession of perpetual vows. In both stages the professed monk responds to God's call by following the evangelic counsels in fidelity to the monastic observance. Both the temporary and the perpetual vows are public; all temporary vows are simple, while all perpetual vows are solemn (see CIC 1192).

S42 Although all perpetual professions in the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation since the 18th of October 1969 are solemn, simple perpetual vows professed before that date remain simple, unless they have been changed to solemn vows by a written act signed by a monk desiring that juridic change.

C33 The purpose of the period entered by temporary profession at the completion of the novitiate is that of providing the temporarily professed monk with the opportunity to enter further into the monastic life and work of his community, so that both he and the community can see better, as he continues to live the life of his house, whether he is likely to succeed as a well-integrated monk of that community, ready, after some years of experience, to be solemnly professed with mature deliberation on his part.

C34 1) When a novice has completed his novitiate, and the requirements of CIC 656 for the validity of a novitiate have been fulfilled in his case, he may be admitted to temporary profession for a period of not less that three years and not more than six years. If it seems opportune, the period of time spent in temporary profession can be extended by the abbot, but only to such an extent that the entire time in which the monk is bound by temporary vows does not exceed nine years (CIC 657.2).

2) When the time for which a temporary profession was made has elapsed, the temporarily professed monk who freely requests it and is judged suitable may be admitted to a renewal of temporary profession, or, if the chapter gives its consent, to solemn profession; otherwise, he is to leave.

3) If there are just reasons for considering unfit a temporarily professed monk who has arrived at the end of a period of temporary profession but who refuses to leave, the abbot, having heard the opinions of his council, may exclude the monk both from the renewal of his temporary profession and from solemn profession (CIC 689.1).

4) With the consent of the council, the abbot, having obtained the opinion of medical doctors of other experts, may exclude a temporarily professed monk from renewing his temporary profession, or from making his solemn profession, because of a physical or mental illness which renders the temporarily professed monk unfit for religious life, unless the infirmity has been incurred through the community's negligence or through work performed within the community. The requirements of charity and equity are to be satisfied according to the circumstances of each individual case (CIC 689).

5) A temporarily professed monk's dispensation from his vows is reserved to the abbot president with the consent of the monk's abbot and that abbot's council (see CIC 688.2).

6) The procedure for dismissal of a temporarily professed monk is the one followed in the dismissal of a solemnly professed monk.

S43 A temporarily professed monk, under the care of the master of novices or master of juniors, should be given continuing systematic monastic training while he is integrated into the common activities of the house and given appropriate responsibility.

C35 The abbot may permit a temporarily professed monk to live outside the monastery to pursue academic or professional studies or technical training. The abbot may grant a temporarily professed monk permission to engage in a limited and appropriate apostolate outside the monastery. It is fitting that the monk in question not be admitted to solemn profession until he has lived in the monastery a sufficient length of time after his return. Such a length of time is to be decided by the abbot and his council.

C36 1) Perpetual commitment to God in the monastic life is made by solemn profession. A temporarily professed monk shall be admitted to solemn profession only when the community and the temporarily professed monk agree to bind themselves in a lifelong covenant.

2) A temporarily professed monk may not be solemnly professed until three years have elapsed after his first profession. For a just reason final profession can be anticipated, but not by more than three months (CIC 657, 3). If his time in temporary profession as been extended beyond six years with his abbot's approval (C 34, 1), and he, having reached the completion of his ninth year of temporary profession, does not ask to be admitted to solemn profession, or is excluded from solemn profession, he must leave the monastery.

C37 The formula used for profession in this Congregation shall be:

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I, Brother N.N., promise for _____years (or perpetually) stability in this community, fidelity to the monastic way of life, and obedience, according to the Rule of Saint Benedict and the Constitution and Statutes of the Swiss-American Congregation; this before God and his Saints whose relics are here, and in the presence of the Right Reverend N.N., abbot of this monastery, and of its monks.

In witness thereof I have written this document with my own hand and signed it here at _____Abbey in _____, on this _____day of the month of _____, in the year of our Lord ____.

It is understood that the very "promise" as used in this formula signifies the profession of public vows. Although by immemorial Benedictine custom, based on the Rule itself, the monks of our Congregation expressly mention in their formula of profession only the three vows of stability, fidelity to the monastic way of life (conversatio morum), and obedience, they are by the very nature of the monastic way of life bound also to chaste and consecrated celibacy and to perfect community of goods (see C 39.3). When a monk of our Congregation signs the document bearing his formula of profession, he by that act assumes the obligations which are understood in the universal law of the Church as assumed by expressed vows of chastity and poverty.

C38 1) The document bearing a monk's formula of solemn profession, written and signed by him, and signed by the person before whom he made his profession, shall be kept in the archives of the monastery.

2) When a monk has been solemnly professed, his superior must send notification of the fact of his solemn profession to the pastor of the place where the newly professed was baptized. In addition, if the monk so professed came to the monastery as a secular deacon or priest, the bishop of his former diocese of incardination should be notified; if he transferred from another religious institute, the appropriate major superior of that institute should be notified.



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Rev. 08 Apr 2009 |