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Catholic Dictionary




A person formally admitted to a religious institute to prepare for eventual religious profession. The purpose of the noviceship is also to assist superiors to better know the candidates and therefore be able to pass correct judgment on their suitability for the religious life. The noviceship is of ancient origin, and its duration varied. At present one year at least is required by common law, but many communities require more. A novice receives the religious habit, which in women's communities includes a white veil. He or she may leave or be requested to leave without stated reason during this period of probation. Before first profession the novice must testify to free consent. The minimum age for noviceship is fifteen years. (Etym. Latin novicius, new; newly arrived; novice.)