In the Catholic Church, a novice master or master of novices is a member of a religious institute who is responsible for the training and government of the novitiate in that institute. In a female religious institute, the novice mistress plays a similar role.
The novice master's duty is to see that the time devoted to the period of the novitiate be passed in prayer, meditation, and the development of character through a study of the life of Jesus Christ and the saints, church history, the vows and the constitution of the institute. Within the time of this probation, he must make a report about each novice to his superiors regarding these matters. For this purpose, he is to be free from all other duties and offices.
He is not a religious superior according to the definition of Canon law although he has similar rights and duties over the novices as a religious superior has over his subjects. Canon law prescribes that he must be at least 35 years of age, have been ten years a religious from his first profession and be eminent in prudence, charity, piety, and in the observance of the rules and regulations of his religious society. If this society is one in which a great many of its members may be raised to the priesthood (within a clerical institute), the master of novices must be priest.