An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Postulant (Holy Orders, Monastic)

One who tests a vocation such as a vocation to an ordained ministry or the religious life. Postulants for holy orders seek ordination as deacon or priest. The length of postulancy varies. The time involves meeting with the bishop of the diocese, examination by the Commission on Ministry, along with physical and mental examinations, and in some cases attending discernment conferences or weekends. Postulancy is an initial time of preparation and testing for ordained ministry. Candidacy is the next stage in the ordination process.

In religious orders, postulancy is the time of pre-novitiate discernment and preparation. Postulants may live as guests in the religious community for a period of time to become acquainted with the religious life and to allow the community and superior to observe their suitability for the religious life.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.