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When men are accepted into the Dominican Order, they begin a process of initial formation that normally lasts about seven years. Formation begins in the novitiate community. The novitiate year is a time of probation during which the novice has the opportunity to reflect on his vocation, experience the Dominican way of life, be formed in the Dominican spirit in mind and heart, and to show to those entrusted with his formation how suitable he may be to embrace the Dominican way of life.

The Novice Master, with the help of others, plans a course of instruction as laid down by our laws and customs, through which the novice will begin to learn about sacred scripture, prayer, liturgy, the principles of the Christian life and priesthood.

It is a year in which special attention is given to the spirituality, history and laws of the Order. The reality of living together in community with men of varying ages and backgrounds, with different personalities, expectations and ideals provides the novice with the challenge of looking at his strengths and weaknesses and begin to learn what changes he may need to make in his life in order to grow and mature as a person who wants to follow Christ in the Dominican way.

This requires openness, trust, honesty, risk and a willingness to learn. It is a time of adjustment which can be demanding but it also a time of discovery and enrichment.

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