Aspirancy Guidelines

Aspirancy Guidelines for Admission to the Novitiate of the
Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph

Aspirancy is a new step of commitment during which the man considers more seriously just what the shift from his current life into religious life will entail. During this time, he ought to deepen his routine of prayer, study, frequent confession, daily Mass, and aid to the poor. He and the Director of Vocations will continue to discuss whether life as a Dominican friar is truly a realistic option.

The length of aspirancy differs depending on the individual man. During this time, the aspirant will be invited to get to know the Province better through visits to different communities. He may also be asked to write a spiritual autobiography and interviews with the Director of Vocations.

Aspirants for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph commit themselves to better prepare for the possibility of entering the novitiate. Though not in religious life yet, these practices will show your readiness and maturity, and, ultimately, help you to grow in virtue and in your relationship with Jesus Christ.

General Applicant Requirements

  • Applicants must be between the ages of 20 and 35.
  • Education and work experience
    • Clerical brother candidates are required to have earned bachelor’s degree from a four year college or university prior to entering the novitiate.
    • Cooperator brother candidates are required to be have a high school diploma and at least two years of college or work experience.
  • Converts to the Catholic Church
    • New converts normally must be a Catholic for at least three years before being admitted to the novitiate.
  • Debt
    • It is the policy of the Province of St. Joseph not to admit men with any financial debt.

Vocation Weekends

Men who are interested in the priesthood and religious life in the Dominican Province of St. Joseph are required to attend a Vocation Weekend at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC.

Our Vocation Weekends are an opportunity for young men who are seriously interested in the Dominican Order to experience life in one of our communities. The goal of the weekend is to allow you to step into our way of life and get a first-hand experience of what is means to be a Dominican friar.

Your time at the Dominican House of Studies will give you the chance to enter into the daily horarium (schedule) of a Dominican priory,  to grow in your knowledge of the history and tradition of St. Dominic and the Order of Preachers, provide opportunities to meet and recreate with the friars, both priests and student brothers, and the time to grow closer to our Lord in the Mass, the Divine Office, and adoration.

Getting to Know the Province of St. Joseph

In addition to attending a Vocation Weekend, aspirants should arrange visits to other priories and communities in the Province of St. Joseph through the Director of Vocations. It is important to have a broad sense of who we are and what we do throughout our Province to better discern if our Lord is calling you to life in the Dominican Province of St. Joseph.

Prayer and Spiritual Life

We recommend the following practice in your prayer and spiritual life:

  • Attendance at daily Mass
  • Frequenting the Sacrament of Penance at least once a month, but preferably every two weeks
  • Monthly spiritual direction with a priest, preferable a Dominican priest if possible
  • Developing the habit of a regular prayer life
    • Daily praying the Divine Office, especially the Major Hours of Lauds (Morning Prayer) and Vespers (Evening Prayer)
    • Daily recitation of the rosary
    • Lectio divina and prayer with the Scripture
    • Spiritual reading (see the suggested list below)
    • Eucharistic adoration
  • There are a number of confraternities that can greatly strengthen you in your spiritual life:

Community and Social Engagement

It is important for a man discerning a call to the priesthood and religious life to conduct himself in such a way that is becoming of one aspiring to such a life. This should be evident in your community and social engagements and your personal life. Some suggestions:

  • Parish involvement
    • If in college, it is a good idea to be involved in the campus ministry and the liturgical life on your campus.
    • If not in college, you should register at a parish, contribute to the collection, and volunteer your services in the parish community.
  • A man aspiring to the priesthood and religious life ought not be dating.
    • If you have recently ended a relationship, there should be appropriate and realistic distance.
  • You should prudently moderate your use of the internet, television, movies, etc.
  • Practice a healthy pattern of living: balanced diet, regular exercise, proper hygiene.
  • If you’re not a college student and you’re living at home you should make a serious effort to take up residence elsewhere.

Staying Connected

Men aspiring to the Province of St. Joseph should be in touch with the Director of Vocations, Fr. Mario Calabrese, O.P.

Click here to sign-up for our email list.

Other helpful resources include:

Recommended Reading

We recommend that men begin with the following two books on St. Dominic and the Order of Preachers:

  • Jarrett, O.P., Bede, Life of Saint Dominic
  • Clerissac, O.P., Humbert, The Spirit of St. Dominic

Other excellent resources include:

  • Bedouelle, O.P., Guy,  In the Image of St. Dominic: Nine Portraits of Dominican Life
  • Bedouelle, O.P.,  Guy, St. Dominic: The Grace of the Word
  • Briscoe, O.P., Patrick Mary and Jacob Bertrand Janczyk, O.P., St. Dominic’s Way of Life: A Path to Knowing and Loving God
  • Croell, O.P., Benedict and Andrew Hofer, O.P., A Living Sacrifice: Guidance for Men Discerning Religious Life
  • John Paul II, Vita Consecrata (On the Consecrated Life)
  • Murray, O.P., Paul, The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality: A Drink Called Happiness
  • Thompson, O.P., Augustine, Dominican Brothers: Conversi, Lay, and Cooperator Friars
  • Torrell, O.P., Jean-Pierre, St. Thomas Aquinas: The Person and His Works
  • Vicaire, O.P., M.H., St. Dominic and His Times
  • Wagner, O.P., Walter, Dominican Life: A Commentary on the rule of Saint Augustine
  • White, O.P., Thomas-Joseph, Thomism for the New Evangelization