Reception, Religious

Reception, Religious, of monks, nuns, and other religious persons, is the ceremonial whereby they are admitted to the probationary state called the novitiate (q.v.). Before the ceremony of reception a short preparatory stage must be passed through by the candidate (called at this stage a "postulant"), the duration of which usually ranges from two to six months. The ceremony of the reception, called also "clothing," is performed by a bishop, or a priest delegated by a bishop, and consists in blessing the religious dress or habit and investing the postulant therein with appropriate prayers, the hair being at the same time cut off and the secular dress laid aside, in token of the renunciation of the world and its pomps and pleasures. The reception, however, is understood to be only a provisional step, and the novice remains free to return to secular life at any time during the novitiate.

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