Aspirancy Guidelines


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

The period of aspirancy begins when a man is in communication with the Director of Vocations about the possibility of apply to the Province of St. Joseph and continues through the entire application process. This period of time allows the aspirant and the Director of Vocations to determine whether or not is ready to begin the formal application process, and, ultimately assists the Prior Provincial to accept the aspirant’s application to enter the novitiate or not.

Aspirancy is a new step of commitment which invites you to consider more seriously if our Lord is calling you to be a Dominican friar, and to begin to understand the more seriously just what the shift from your current life into religious life will entail, and whether this is truly a realistic option for you.

The length of apirancy depends on the individual man. Its duration determined at the discretion of the Director of Vocations in consultation with the aspirant, though a typical period of aspirancy is a year.

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.

 

Applicant Requirements

Applicants must be between the ages of 20 and 35. Exceptions are made for older candidates depending on skills and 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.

New converts normally must be a Catholic for at least three years before being admitted to the novitiate.

 

“Come and See” Weekend

Men who are interested in the priesthood and religious life in the Dominican Province of St. Joseph are required to attend a “Come and See” 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 schedule and rhythm of a Dominican priory,  to grow in your knowledge of the history and tradition of St. Dominic and the Order of Preachers, opportunities to meet and talk 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 “Come and See” Weekend, aspirants should arrange visits to other priories and communities in the Province of St. Joseph through the Director of Vocations. It is very important that you begin to get a sense of who we are and what we do throughout our Province to best discern if our Lord is calling you to life in the Dominican Province of St. Joseph.

 

Prayer and Spiritual Life

  • Attend daily Mass.
  • Develop the habit of 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.
  • Develop a regular schedule of daily prayer.
    • Daily praying the Divine Office, especially 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 the case in your community and social engagements and your personal life. Some suggestions in these areas are:

  • 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.

 

Debt

The Church cautions religious communities from admitting candidates to the novitiate who are burdened with debts they cannot repay. To that end, it is the policy of the Province of St. Joseph not to admit men with any financial debt. These circumstances need to be discussed with the Director of Vocations during the application process.

There are a number of organizations dedicated to helping relieve the debt of men and women applying to the priesthood and religious life. Both The Laboure Society and The Mater Eccelsiae Fund for Vocations have helped men pay off their debt and enter the novitiate.

 

Staying Connected

Men aspiring to the Province of St. Joseph should be in touch with the Director of Vocations, Fr. Jacob Bertrand Janczyk, O.P. via email at vocations@opeast.org.

You should also submit your contact information from this page.

Other helpful resources include:

 

Recommended Reading

  • Resources to learn more about the Order of Preachers
  • 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
  • Bernanos, George, Saint Dominic
  • Clerrisac, O.P., Humbert, The Spirit of St. Dominic
  • Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother in the Church
  • Groeschel, C.F.R., Benedict, The Courage to be Chaste
  • Jarrett, O.P., Bede, Life of St. Dominic
  • 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