Formation Program

The Program for Priestly Formation

Since 1948, IHM Seminary has guided over a thousand men from various dioceses and religious communities in following God’s call to the preisthood. These men continue on to become ouystanding leaders in Church and community. They become not only our pastors but also our leaders, friends and brothers in Christ. These priests guide the flock through the glorious mystery of the sacraments. They baptize our babies, forgive our sins, share with us the Eucharist, enliven the Holy Spirit within, unite us in marriage, and anoint us at death. They are with their people every step on life’s journey to salvation. The Program of Priestly Formation followed by IHMS readies the men with the essential tools to best serve God and the needs of His people.

Human Formation

In a family-like atmosphere, college-level and pre-theology men live and work together as a community. Nestled in a beautiful bluff-land setting, the environment sets a tone that is comforting and inspiring for abundant living, fraternal support and contemplative prayer. The men are challenged to seek and develop a positive sense of personal and vocational identity. They form mature relationships while growing into healthy, mature, and holy men embracing a chaste celibate lifestyle. Active involvement in the lively and vibrant campus life of adjoining Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota encourages balance and well-roundedness.

“The community is like a family; we look out for one another and hold each other accountable. We learn a lot from each other.” —Nathan


Spiritual Formation

Here, one has the opportunity to grow spiritually through daily communal prayer, personal prayer, and individual spiritual direction. The Mass is central to the day and to the life of each man in the house. The invitation and challenge for each member of the seminary to engage in priestly formation, having the Eucharist always the source and summit of life, is to show that faith is a personal decision which involves all life, day-in and day-out, within and outside the walls of IHM Seminary. For men studying to be priests, ministers of the Eucharist and its mystery, this relationship to Christ needs to be central to their lives.

“The seminary offers me a unique environment that allows me to put the spiritual life at the center of my life.” —Adam

Intellectual Formation

Most seminarians spend four years at the seminary to complete an undergraduate degree at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Along with University requirements, the seminary closely follows the academic directives of the Program of Priestly Formation, established by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB). All of the men are required to have 31 credits of Philosophy, 12 credits of Theology and one year of Latin, besides the Liberal Arts requirments of the University.

“The seminary is a great place that challenges me to grow…” —Sam

Pastoral Formation

By reaching out to the needs of the community, students are guided through a variety of service experiences: nursing home and prison visitation, classroom aides, Newman Center Cathechesis, parish ministry, retreats, and homeless shelter service. While the service is important, the personal growth and formation the seminarian receives through the experience is vital.

“It is amazing to see how Christ works in me.” —Jeremy

The fundamental focus of the program is discernment. For some, it is a moment of discovery. For most, it is a growing awarements of God’s presence in their life, a presence that guides and directs them to the Father’s will. The discerning person must be a person of prayer. For the seminarian, discernment is the essential link between prayer and active Christian living that will move him through life’s journey to his God-given vocation.

“This is a place of find self and my vocation from God.” —Fernando