Where to start?
If a man believes that the Lord might be calling him to live as a Dominican friar, he ought to pursue this desire through prayer and learning about the Order. During the inquiry phase, he should explore our websites, visit public events, and contact the Director of Vocations. Most importantly, he ought to stay close to the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist and the Mass and the sacrament of reconciliation, and pray to the Lord for clarity and courage. Depending on age and stage in life, inquiry could last a few months or several years.
Criteria for applying to the Province of St. Joseph
- Applicants must be between the ages of 20 and 35. Rare exceptions are made for older candidates depending on skills and experience.
- Clerical brother candidates are required to have earned a bachelor’s degree from a four year college or university prior to entering the novitiate.
- Cooperator brother candidates are required to have a high school diploma and at least two years of college or work experience.
- Candidates must be living a virtuous Christian life, free from scandal. They must possess the discipline of a sound prayer life along with a deep desire to be of service to Christ and His Church according to the Dominican charism. All candidates must possess good physical health, psychological and emotional maturity.
- New converts normally must be a Catholic for at least three years before being admitted to the novitiate.
- The Province of St. Joseph does not accept men to the novitiate with outstanding debt, student loan debt or other types of debt. The Province does work with different organizations that help men repay their student loan debt.
After a suitable period of inquiry, a man who believes that the Lord is calling him to Dominican life in the Province of St. Joseph, ought to speak with the Director of Vocations about beginning the aspirancy.
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.
Aspirancy typically lasts about a year. 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.
If both the aspirant and the Director of Vocations agree, the man may request an application. Ultimately it is the Director of Vocations who permits a man to apply to the novitiate.
The application process involves general application forms, including letters of recommendation, a criminal background check, sacramental and financial records, and full medical exams. In addition, each application will be interviewed by the members of the Province’s Vocation Council and go through a psychological evaluation.
When the application is completed, it is the Prior Provincial, at the recommendation of the Director of Vocations, who decides whether or not to accept a man to the novitiate.