The Novitiate: Building the Foundation of Dominican Life
The novitiate is a year dedicated to living Dominican life in a deliberate way – through prayer, study, and ministry on a daily basis. Our novitiate is located at St. Albert the Great Priory in Irving, Texas. During the novitiate year the novice comes to a better understanding of Dominican life through:
- Experiencing communal and personal prayer
- Daily participation in the Mass
- Living community life
- Ministerial experience
- Classes on our history, saints, constitutions, spirituality and the vows
- Attending workshops and conferences relevant for religious life
During this year the novice experiences all aspects of religious life. He grows in his ability to balance action and reflection, prayer and service, community and solitude.
The Daily Life of a Novice
A typical day in the novitiate begins with Lauds (Morning Prayer) followed by the community Mass where the friars are often joined by students, faculty and staff from the University of Dallas as well as others from the local neighborhood. After breakfast, the novices are frequently engaged in common study with the novice master or a scholar brought in as the opportunity and need arise.
Time during the day is also allotted for private prayer and study. Each novice shares in the duties of caring for the house and also chooses a specific form of apostolic ministry to round out the balance of prayer, study, and ministry. The novices are encouraged to develop their own creative gifts in areas of personal enrichment and to regularly exercise. Vespers (Evening Prayer) is celebrated at 5 PM followed by recreation and dinner. The day concludes with Compline (Night Prayer) at 7:45pm.
The novices meet together weekly with the novice master for what is called a Chapter Meeting to discuss selected topics and various issues related to the common life. The novices also meet individually with the novice master several times a month to discuss their own discernment of the Dominican vocation.
At the end of the novitiate year the novice makes a formal request for temporary vows. Upon recommendation by the senior community of friars, the novice professes vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for a period of two years. At that point he begins his formal education and continues his initial formation as a friar at the House of Studies (Studium) in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Catholic Church in the South needs more Dominican priests and brothers. Is God calling you to be a Dominican Friar (priest or brother)?