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A Postulant (from the Latin postulare, to ask) was originally one who makes a request or demand; hence, a candidate. Its use is now generally restricted to those asking for admission into a monastery or a convent, both before actual admission and for the length of time proceeding their admission into the novitiate.[1] It is also used to describe the ecclesiastical status of a person who has discerned a call to the priesthood and received parish and diocesan endorsement. The candidate retains postulant status throughout seminary, until ordination to the transitional diaconate takes place. The term is most common in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches; the Orthodox tend to avoid Latin terminology.

The length of time that a prospective monastic remains a postulant may vary depending on the monastery, the particular monastic order, or the postulant's individual situation. During this time, the postulant generally participates as fully as possible in the life of the community, joining the novices and professed monks for work and prayer. Since typically no vows are taken at this stage, it is easier for a person not fully certain about the monastic life to reexamine their intentions and commitment before taking vows as a professed.

In Theravada Buddhist monasticism, a postulant is called an anagarika (Pali: "without a house").

In college fraternities, the term postulant is also used to describe those who have yet to be initiated into the fraternity, but are going through the process of becoming a brother.


This article incorporates text from the public domain 1913 Webster's Dictionary.



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