C. 45 The Process of Formation
1. Formation to Cistercian life has for its purpose the restoration of the divine
likeness in the brothers through the working of the Holy Spirit. Aided by the
maternal care of the Mother of God, the brothers so advance in the monastic way
of life that they progressively attain the full measure of the stature of Christ.
2. Solitude, continual prayer, humble work, voluntary poverty, celibate chastity, and
obedience are not human skills, and cannot be learned from human beings.
Nevertheless, the teaching of the abbot, the experience and wisdom of the seniors,
and the constant help and example of the community are of great value to the
brothers as they pass through the different situations and changes of the spiritual
C. 46 Admission of Brothers
Newcomers to monastic life are to be received kindly, but not easily admitted into
the community. By frequent visits to the monastery they become acquainted with
the members of the community. They are told about all the hard and difficult
things that are to be found on the way to God. They are to be received as brothers
only if they manifest the spiritual attitude needed for monastic life and give
evidence of adequate maturity and health. When these qualities are present their
desire to embrace this life can be recognised as an indication of God’s call and of
their intention of truly seeking God with all their heart.
C. 49 Formation of Novices
The master of novices should lead newcomers to share in the life of the monastic
family. He is to instruct them in monastic observances, especially the Work of
God, lectio divina, prayer and manual work. During the novitiate they are not
given offices or work that could impede their formation. All the brothers are to
support the novices by prayer and example and encourage them to persevere.
C. 58 Continuing Formation
After solemn profession and throughout their lives, the brothers continue to learn
“the philosophy of Christ”. Continuing formation is to be made available to the
whole community and to individual brothers according to their capacity. This
formation is always to be based on the Rule of Saint Benedict and the Cistercian
patrimony and is to draw from the riches of biblical, patristic, liturgical,
theological and spiritual sciences.
From the Constitutions and Statutes of the Cistercian Order