At the end of the live-in period of the Observership, if further exploration is desired, you would then go away for a while to pray over your experience. If, in that time, you were to feel a sense of belonging - or "rightness" - as regards our life, you would be welcomed to request admission to the postulancy.
Postulancy lasts six months. During this time in the novitiate, you, the observer, would learn to follow grace patiently, step by step. The things that Christ invites us to do for love of Him "are usually prepared by a gentle and imperceptible providence that seem to come as if of themselves." Should indications be positive, you would begin your novitiate.
Novitiate - The length of this stage is two and one-half years. During this time you would come to know more fully our way of life through prayer, interaction with the brothers, spiritual accompaniment by the novice director, solitude, study and the experience of all the elements of the monastic day. This stage would involve a deeper, gradual incorporation into our community life.
Temporary vows - The monk makes three vows: obedience, stability and 'conversatio morum'. Obedience is the first virtue of Christ. It is listening in love to someone else so that what they want seems to you more important than your own will - as Jesus prayed in Gethsemane. Stability is a promise to persevere in this particular community; it is a promise of loyalty. 'Conversatio morum' is a vow to a continual change of heart, a daily reshaping of the mind and heart according to God's plan for us. From this point on, the monk continues a process in which gradually he experiences Christ as the beginning of the monk's day and its end. Christ is the point of the monastic life, its core and purpose. With Him, "it is a love affair without parallel this side of eternity." This period lasts from three to six years on the way to professing Solemn Vows. Finally, a monk makes his solemn (final) vows, promising to live out the vows in the monastery until death (or rather, heaven).