What do people do if they left the seminary?

Say, if one joins a seminary and studies there, but after a year or two he found out that priesthood isn’t suitable for him, so he leaves the seminary. Do these people go to colleges/universities then? Do people feel that they have wasted time (say no please) or discovered something about themselves and the relationship with God and other people?

I ask this because many articles say that not even half of the people who entered a seminary graduates and became ordained, and I believe it is a fearsible concern for teenagers like me who are planning on tertiary education at universities.

Now I would also like to ask, are there people who felt the call to priesthood while studying in Unis (under/postgraduate), or even after finishing a degree or has start working for quite a while? When would they start feeling the call to priesthood, and/or why have they chosen to delay their choice?

Does that mean they have wasted time while studying in universities?

The same holds true for girls, of course (well guess what I am a guy and do** not** want to be a nun at all), so I hope to have the support from people here. I think I have a hurried personality, so please bear with the questions if you find them unfocused. Thanks.

They go to politics. Tony Abbot for example. :stuck_out_tongue:

I left my religious order two years short of my ordination. I was not in final vows and allowed my vows to run out at the end of the year. I decided to continue my theological studies as a layperson as I still hoped to serve the Church as a lay missionary. I took a job working the midnight shift in a Chicago area hospital and continued my classes during the day. I earned my M.Div in 85 and was invited to come to Japan as a lay missionary in 87 to work alongside members of my former religious community. I’ve been here ever since. My time in the seminary was definitely not wasted time. It was perhaps the most intense learning experience, both intellectually and spiritually, that I have ever had. I made life long friendships from that period and thank God for his presence throughout my life.

They probably enter the real world, get jobs, and live good and decent lives. It’s better they do that than leave after they get ordained.

My uncle, and godfather, went to seminary for one year. He left, attended university, married raised 8 children in the faith of the Church.
He is now near death from cancer…(please pray)…but has no fear. He is ready and willing to meet Our Dear Lord.
Though he discovered early that ordained life was not his calling, he lived out his true vocation as great a witness to Christ.


Okay-there were two actors (correct me if I am mistaken) who went to seminary and decided it wasn’t for them and went into acting. Tom Cruise is on (he also left the catholic faith and became a scientologist, unfortunately) and I can’t think of the name of the black actor who hosted Reading Rainbow for children and also starred on Star Trek and Roots. I know his name-just can’t think of it off the top of my head-he seems to be a very positive role model :slight_smile: Just my two-cents worth-:slight_smile:

LeVar Burton?

Tom Cruise was a seminarian???

Now I really have heard it all!

Depends. One of the seminarians that’s leaving us at the end of this year is trying to get a job as a teacher. Some older seminarians already had careers before joining, so they might go back to their job. It really depends on the background of the seminarian. If he had some sort of career before he entered the seminary, he’ll simply go back to that. If he did not, usually because he’s young, he will probably continue his education, perhaps in some other area of study. Others may actually go to another seminary, usually for some religious order, or they may choose religious life but not priesthood, but this is usually less common.

I went to a minor seminary, back in the days when many young boys went into Seminary at 13-14 years of age. I left because the Abbot believed that I was a “trouble maker”, because i kept advocating that since our community took vows of poverty, that we should in fact live as poor people did.

I went back to a regular High School, was forced to drop out against my will, and went into the US Army for 10 years.

Most people that drop out of majror seminary just go on with their lives. Nowdays, most young men already have a Bachelors degree before entering seminary, so the just go out and get a job, or go on to graduate school, etc.

Why would you expect anything else?

Some of us leave, go to work, get married, have kids, try to finish our college education. Some of us do and go on to great tasks and other vocations. Some of us, like me, work our tails off, and don’t get real far in the business world. We volunteer on the Parish Council, Finance Committee, Liturgy Committee, and eventually settle into a somewhat "comfortable Parish life.

Then along comes a priest with the idea we might make a good permanent deacon. There goes the “comfortable” Catholic life, if you are serious.

Some of us think our early seminary experience was one of the best times of our lives. We learned so much; we learned goodness and patience from our professors. We learned an appreciation of the Catholic Faith that never leaves us. But we also realize we were not called to be priests, and the resulting decisions we make to marry and have children bless us by the company we now keep. We bless our ever-understanding wives, our patient children. But we also bless those who led us through the seminary, parents, priests, professors and, some of the best people in the world, our classmates.

It was so…awesome, I think is the word…to meet a former classmate who became the Archbishop of Atlanta, and I was able to serve him as deacon.

OMG Are you serious? That is … insert word synonym of awesome!

I am imagining now a deacon censing the bishop… haha.

Anyway do you recommend the seminary (if one’s going, that is) at what age and reason? (e.g. if… then… because…)

Yes, if you feel that you have a vocation to the priesthood, GO. Age is not a factor; but education is. I don’t think there are any “preparatory (minor)” seminaries any more, so you will be going into a more adult-oriented education at the college level.

But, YES, GO. Even if you eventually do have to leave, your experience will be good for your spiritual life.

Go with G-d!

You might find out before you enter if any of the courses can be transferable to a college or university. You could find this out without being too obvious about it, by asking if the courses are on a college level. This would also give you some idea of what to expect. You should be able to get college credit for courses in theology, philosophy and Church history. If you also live near the college or university that you would go to if you didn’t enter the seminary, you might ask *them *the same question. They might say, “Oh, yes, we have a number of former seminarians who have entered here–we can give up to -----credits for seminary work.”

I was a seminarian for half a decade. I saw many of my brothers leave when a scandal ripped through our community. Most of them were dismissed as collateral damage.

From such a wide sample, it was interesting to see what happened to us. Due to the painful circumstances, a quarter disappeared by completely cutting off communication - this happens often enough for those who wish to make a clean break. Of those who did stay in touch, most returned to jobs or skill sets they possessed before the seminary and the majority got married within two years (advice to those thinking of entering: make sure you have an education or a trade before you enter - those who didn’t were crippled when coming out). Two of us went to university. One went to a different seminary and another became a religious brother. The rest struggled to find a new path and have struggled to make ends meet in menial jobs. Two lost the faith. What I find most striking, and perhaps it was exaggerated in our particular circumstance, was that all the ex-seminarians of our group had a period of shell-shock, similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. They had returned to a world they couldn’t live in after having fought a kind of war. Many of us are still haunted men. Seminarians who have not had their vocations properly resolved (told a definite “no”) can become very tortured men.

As someone who has been on both sides of the fence, I would like to take the opportunity to thank any ex-seminarians or religious reading this for having made that sacrifice: thank you. Thank you for choosing to put souls before your own lives, for dying to everything but the spiritual cause that is salvation. It’s a rare and noble aspiration and I thank you. Whatever the circumstances of your departure, God looks out for you and He alone understands. Even draped in our shadows, He will not let us taste death, you must believe that.

And like governor of California, Jerry Brown.

Or they go into public media, such as Michael Moore or Michael Voris.

i have just left the seminary 2 days (i was a 1st year) ago due to problems in the family back at home. i was there for 2 weeks only. I want to go back ASAP as i know i am ment to be there. I feel if i go back i would go back as a dioseasan seminarian not as i was belonging to a order. i feel like everybody would hate me if i go back, the staff etc. i feel i am ment to be there. Any thoughts?:confused:

:highprayer: Well, my Great Uncle Bill entered the seminary ages ago back in the 1900s some time. He was there when he decided after about a year it wasn’t for him. He got a job working as a clerk in a store, and later owned his own business in Arkansas, got married and had children.One of his daughters, my cousin Carline, joined the Sisters of Charity of Nazerath,Kentucky, so I guess that sort of even things out as far as the Lord was concerned.

Thanks for sharing this. For the majority getting married in two years, it does seem to me that any sort of restriction will make demand increase.

*Seminarians who have not had their vocations properly resolved (told a definite “no”) can become very tortured men. * If they didn’t get a “no”, why did they then leave?


Listen, you never waste your time with god or in the seminary. Remember that you don’t enter the seminary to become priest, but to discern you vocation during all the time of the training (6-7 years).

So it’s not because you enter the seminary and then you leave that means you are lost, or a bad christian, person, or that you wasted all this time of your life no.

I leaved the seminary after three years, but i will never regret this experience, because i learnt there to put god more and more in my life. My life changed totally after that experience.

God calls people at any time, after their studies, during, when they are working… I know one bishop who was administrator in the ministry of economy, and one they he received his vocation, he went to the seminary, and today he is bishop. So there are no rules.

Don’t be afraid and don’t pay to much attention about what people say or write on internet, books, newspapers… Just listen your heart and leave god speak to you. If you feel that you are called, just answer, speak with your spiritual director and all will be fine.

God bless you.

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