6.  I have a close relationship with my family and friends.  What if I'm afraid to separate from them?

Life as a monk in our community does not impose a complete separation from one's family and acquaintances.  The support of loved ones can be very helpful for someone experiencing the changes that come with living in a religious community.  Beginning the initial stages of formation, including postulancy and novitiate, requires an extended time away from family and friends (especially for those who originally resided in areas that are far away from the monastery).  However, visits from family and friends can be arranged and the use of postal mail, email and phone calls are ways that someone in formation can maintain contact with them.  After vows are professed, each monk has time allotted each year to spend away from the monastery that can be used to be with loved ones.  Also, keep in mind that as one goes through formation and vowed life in the monastery, the community members are not just there as co-workers, but they also become companions who work together in the "school of the Lord's service".