Inquirers, also known as postulants, are those Roman Catholics candidates ho have committed to an initial program of discernment and study, before being formally received as a Dominican. The postulant program lasts from 6 to 12 months and the inquirer is presented with an overview of Dominican history, spirituality, practice, and life. After completing this program, the Inquirer may request admission into the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic as a Novice.
The Novitiate is a 12 month formal formation program. Novices are received into the Order of Preachers and is a full member of the Order and are expected to adhere to its practices. Novices will be instructed in the requirements and traditions, e.g, daily Mass, the Divine Office, the Rosary and Dominican traditions.
The formation program includes study, prayer, community and service. Novices study the history of the Order with an emphasis on the life of St. Dominic, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Martin de Porres and other great Dominican saints. Also studied are the Constitutions, the Rules of the Order of Preachers,s of St. Dominic. Novices are introduced to the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, theology and papal documents.
Simple (Temporary) Profession: If the candidate completes the Novitiate, he or she may request that they make a three year profession. If accepted, the candidate commits to living in compliance with the Rule of the Fraternities of St. Dominic. Simple Professed members have voting rights and all privileges except holding office. They may and often are, asked to participate in or organize apostolates and they often serve the chapter in critical roles and various committees. Professed Dominicans may optionally be buried in the full Dominican habit.
Final Profession: After completing Simple Profession, the Lay Dominican may request to make final profession – a life-long commitment to live according to the Rule of the Fraternities of St. Dominic. Final or solemnly professed members may hold office.