Preparing the Seminary

So guys I have decided I will probably be going into the seminary in the next year or so. If i go most likely it will be Saint Meinrad. I am going to be taking classes online for now that will count as credits, Praying the litergy of the hours, and reading the bible. But ontop of that does anyone has any advice on how to prepare myself for the seminary and Saint Meinrad


One good bit of advice would be to talk with several priests in you parish and get each of their advice…after all they have all been in seminary and have all took the journey to priesthood so they would be perfect to give advice to you about this as they have experienced it so they will know what they are talking about :slight_smile:

By the way that’s fantastic about you going to enter seminary!..the world needs more priests :slight_smile:

Well, I don’t have any specific experience with St. Meinrad, I might be able to offer some helpful pointers since this is my fourth year in seminary. I finished my last two years of undergrad in college seminary, and I am currently in Theology II (the toughest year!). Since you didn’t give much background, I made a couple of assumptions, so if some of these points don’t apply to you (for example, if you’ve already called your vocation director), then simply disregard. :slight_smile:

Keep praying the Liturgy of the Hours. If you don’t have one yet, find a good spiritual director who can help guide you in this, other spiritual practices, and your discernment. This is key, and you will be asked about it during the application process! If you haven’t contacted the Diocese or order in which you are interested yet, do so as soon as possible. The application process is quite lengthy and will take a long time, and they will also help you in your discernment.

Stay focused in your online courses and do well; you’ll be doing a lot of writing in seminary, so be sure to get the practice in now. But don’t make life all about school and prayer! Be sure to stay involved in your parish, whether choir, lectoring, the Knights, and perhaps most important (in my opinion), altar serving if that’s a possibility. Also stay balanced and cultivate outside activities (for example, I am into archery and amateur astronomy).

Finally, above all else, just keep praying and trust in the Lord. Take definite steps forward, and if you trust in Him, He will guide you and keep you, no matter what the result. I still have three more years, and I can definitely say that each year has been better than the last; it is a beautiful life full of blessings and sacrifice, one that is a true gift!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them here or drop me a PM and I will try my best. For now, I will add you to my prayer intentions; please pray for me too, especially as I get ready for finals!


Praying to the Holy Spirit to give you guidance, direction, strength, fortitude & wisdom in your discernment.

Thanks I forgot to say what I had done.

I have been in contact with my vocational director in the Archdiosese
I have researched seminaries and saint mineral seems like the best fit
I have talked with a priest in my church and plan to talk to more
I have been doing volunteer work
I am looking in to lecturing

Excellent! Remember too that while you do of course have some input on which seminary you go to, ultimately it is up to the Bishop. Once you are accepted to the Archdiocese, there will be a separate application to the seminary.

An wonderful book to read would be To Save a Thousand Souls by Fr. Brett Bannen. It goes through almost everything you could think of, and provides a lot of useful guidance. Many vocation directors have copies, and if yours doesn’t have it, it’s pretty cheap online. Highly recommended! I think the majority of the guys here at my seminary have read it and have given good reviews (including me).

Keeping you in prayer, AF! :slight_smile:

If you are planning to become a member of St. Meinrad’s (Benedictine), you will have to be admitted to the community, and it would be awhile after that before you would be sent to seminary. If you plan to study for the priesthood (secular), you will be ASSIGNED to a seminary by your diocese. You don’t just pick one and go. Seminarians have to be sponsored by their diocese. So you need to begin either by applying for admission to the Abbey (which doesn’t happen overnight), or by talking with the Vocation Director for your diocese–who, even if you are accepted, might not have St. Meinrad’s in mind for your education.

Good luck, but don’t put the cart before the horse.

Thanks I have read to save a thousand souls. I do know that the Bishop has the final say however the vocational director also seems to be in favor of me going to Saint Meinrad also I have a strong case (about medical history and needing to stay relatively close to my doctors) for going there as opposed to places farther away.

Get a hobby (if you don’t already have one) - to put it another way, find something to do (preferably outdoorsy) which is completely unrelated to study and which you enjoy so that you can use it to de-stress as and when needed. Maintain your friendships with those in the secular world - it helps to have “normal” people in your life who you can hang out with and who know you as you and so don’t take you too seriously!

Across the decades, I had the chance to visit Saint Meinrad several times; it is a lovely archabbey in a beautiful part of southern Indiana. The setting is perfect for biking and walking.

You will acquire, to the degree you choose, an incredible foundation in Benedictine spirituality, both intellectually and practically. This can be a splendid gift for you, your life, and whatever you will do in the future. I hope you are able to maximize that opportunity.

They have a special devotion to Our Lady…under the titles of Our Lady of Einsiedeln and Our Lady of Monte Cassino. Both shrines will certainly be a place of refuge for you and, I hope, will imprint themselves upon your heart. I fondly remember them from my visits.

There is significant history connected with the Church in that part of the world…Saint Theodore Guerin, Bishop Simon Bruté, and the Diocese of Vincennes (one of very few United States dioceses to be extinct) and the unique contributions of the French and the Swiss. If you love history, you will get to experience special facets of it there.

The experience of liturgy is distinctly different when at a monastery from the life of a parish and that is most enriching. The rhythm of the liturgy of the hours defines the day and it orders all the activities of the day and of the life, as it properly should.

I am unclear from your post if you are seeking admission to the seminary from a diocese for which Saint Meinrad serves as an option or as the default seminary – or if you are seeking admission to the monastic community. It surely seems to be the former from how you phrase it, and so I would recommend that you visit with a priest who was recently a seminarian there, as he would be best able to advise you practically of things helpful to know before you enter. It’s always useful to have the insights of someone who has recently been where you have never gone.

Beyond that, the vocation director you are working with is the one to best give you advice on how to use this time to start making the transition and to begin to integrate yourself into your new life. It will be a time of tremendous growth. God bless you. I assure you of my prayers.

And one last word of advice – cherish the time you are in seminary and do not allow yourself to become so goal focused that you fail to enjoy the journey and to appreciate the men on that journey with you. It happens, sadly. Seminary will, for all of your life, be a very special chapter in your life and the prologue to all that will follow.

As someone currently in seminary, I can attest to how easy it is to get caught up in this! As with many other things in life, don’t stay so single-minded as to miss what is going on around you. Enjoy your time in the seminary, cherish it, and enter into the moment. There really is nothing else like this experience!

Being that I live the experience, my advice would be to not prepare at all… Quite literally, to go in with nothing prepared so as to enter with an open mind, heart, and soul. In preparing, there is a danger of losing that openness, no matter how well intentioned one is. :thumbsup:

Agreed! I’m in my second year and the first year was rough because I was so focused on the end goal rather than the moment.

By the Grace of God I’m over that now (still struggle a bit as all of us sems do :D) and I’ve begun to realize that even though I’m in seminary I’m still at college. So, basically I should be enjoying my time now rather than thinking that all joy is going to come when Ordination hits.

The priests of the Archdiocese of Louisville usually went to St. Meinrad. My catechist was an alum, and I heard each seminarian is forced to be a Benedictine Oblate.

Extinct dioceses – I come from one. My parish church was the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral of the extinct Diocese of Bardstown. (At least I think it would be considered extinct).

And, as I’m always saying, maintain interior silence in your discernment. The Mass in the Extraordinary Form (MEF) is a good way to learn to do that.


I am trusting that you misunderstood this. Becoming an Oblate of Saint Benedict is its own very special lifetime commitment that makes the oblate to be part of the monastic family, whether they be a lay person or a secular cleric. It is a vocation within a vocation, as it were, but it is assuredly never to be forced.

Diocesan priests can be greatly enriched by the Benedictine charism, by being an oblate to be sure, just as they can be enriched by the Carmelite charism, as a tertiary, or the Dominican charism, as a member of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Dominic, or any other association that is the equivalent to these. It is the diocesan seminarian or priest himself who must discern if he is called to such a thing together with those competent for formation in these associations.

I have met members of the monastic chapter of Saint Meinrad as well as members of the archabbey’s secular oblature. I have, however, never met anyone who was forced to become an oblate.

As to the other point, yes, Bardstown is indeed one of the dioceses in the United States that was suppressed. In both the case of Vincennes and of Bardstown, the See was translated to a city that became the focus of population: to Indianapolis in the former case and to Louisville in the latter case.

I had occasion once to know all the suppressed dioceses in the United States; it is not a tremendous number, of course, as the hierarchy was only established there in 1789…but I remember it was larger than I expected actually. I am sure these now titular sees are quite meaningful to the auxiliary bishops who receive them.

I had the occasion to visit your proto-cathedral many years ago. It was most impressive and very touching because of its unique history. I vividly remember the paintings that were used as sacred images as they were more easily transported from France than statuary. You would do me a great kindness if you would remember me there in prayer. You had a number of most interesting personalities there – Bishop Flaget and Mother Catherine Spalding, to name but two. And, of necessity, you must also be but a short distance from Thomas Merton’s abbey.

Thomas Merton used to come into our store to have keys made for the abbey. I was a very small child at the time, and asked him to pick me up. He taught me the first part of the Hail Mary after I nearly choked him with a hug. Fr. Basil Pennington was with him. He always traveled with another monk.

Mother Catherine Spalding – yes, she is special to me in many ways. I have a couple of friends named “Flaget” after the great bishop. I’ve heard that his causus for canonization has been opened.

I’ve not been to the basilica in many years. Hubby’s job has made me an exile, and his hometown is the only place I’ve been able to travel to. Except when mom died almost 6 years ago. That was the last time I was in KY.

Speaking of hubby’s job, they’ve apparently had more suicides there. He’s on the brink of a nervous breakdown himself. I don’t know why he won’t look for another job. He’s silly like that. He’s not had any more seizures, and is now driving, so I want him to look for another job, then he says he won’t be able to find one. Please pray for this.


What a special memory to have of Thomas Merton!

I am very sorry you have not been able to return to your home since your mother’s passing. God grant her eternal rest and peace. You are from a very special place – I was profoundly touched by it during my visit – and you will always carry something of that place in your heart and in your memories…it is a part of you just as you are a part of it.

I assure you of my prayers…for you and for your husband and his needs and intentions. May the Holy Virgin watch over you, keep you safely in her care, and intercede for all your needs. God bless you.

And to bring Bardstown to the rest of the world as an example. We were proclaimed the “most beautiful small town in America” this year. I don’t understand why there’s not a retreat center there, where silent retreats and walking the streets would be core. I remember the interior silence I was led to when the house windows were open when growing up. Bishop Flaget’s efforts required extraordinary graces, and one can still sense this, if interior silence is embraced.

I also graduated from Berea College, one of the premier abolitionist work colleges in the US, and worked for an economic development staff of the Tennessee Valley Authority. All of the above could be applied anywhere, but most particularly here locally.

Thank you for the prayers for our family. May Our Lady reciprocate. I have a pic of Merton over my desk, next to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


HI. I want to join the seminary, but my family is not Catholic. I’ve been Catholic all my life, but they are now protestant. I live far away from any church, and I cannot contact my spiritual director. I need to know if I need to see a priest in person to apply, and if so, where. I would like to be able to apply within the year, but the internet does not seem to be able to answer all of my questions. Thank you.

My father’s side of the family i are Benedictine Oblates. They live like monks and even try to pray as them. My father was the Abbot. I was even excomunicated a couple of times. I actually had to leave because they were becoming dangerously close to heresy, and I could not argue with my father and his wife, as I had no desire to disobey the fourth commandment. However, I find myself in a similar situation here, as I now do not wish to start a fight with my mother on apologetics. Please help.

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