Frequently Asked Questions
Education & formation



Is there a minimum education requirement to become a monk?

Every Saint John’s monk has at least a high school diploma, and at least two years of college, apprenticeship or technical school. Beyond a high school education, many of our community members will study for bachelors and master’s degrees as well as PhD’s, but this is not required. However, we do encourage all of our candidates to pursue a “lived” education. By this, we mean our monks should have tested the options of life outside of the monastery. Before acceptance to candidacy, men interested in monasticism should have lived on their own, held a job, paid bills, dated, and in general have developed a good sense of a responsible adult living.


Do I have to know a lot about religion and the Church to become a monk?

Initially, no. You should know enough about the Catholic faith to know what you are considering when you discern a call to the monastic life. However, you are not given a theology exam before admitted to candidacy. Knowledge of the Faith is to advance your relationship with God, and to serve the Church community. During monastic formation, monks study theology at Saint John’s University, and the Graduate School of Theology and Seminary.


Can I pursue undergraduate or graduate studies?



What is formation?

Formation is the period of education and training in the Catholic Faith. Formation is offered in many parish communities, notably during RCIA, but many parishes now offer adult faith formation to continue Catholic education. In the monastery, formation is the period from novitiate through the end of juniorate. In this time, monks are trained in the monastic tradition. This includes daily classes within the monastery taught by senior monks, as well as the Abbot.


What do I learn in formation?

Formation trains monks to the Benedictine tradition and life at Saint John's. As a novice you will study the Rule of Saint Benedict, often times led by the Abbot. Additionally, led by senior members of the community, formation examines monastic history, spirituality, celibacy and sexuality, and Saint John’s history. In the juniorate, monks attend the University and the School of Theology and Seminary. Moreover, the daily life of the novice and junior monk provides a unique education as much as any formal class.


How long does formation last?

Novitiate lasts a minimum of one year and a day, and juniorate at least three years and may extend to six.