Stages on the Journey

Glenmary Brother Levis Kuwa takes First Oath as missionerDiscovering your vocation as a missionary priest or brother is a journey with God as your guide. Glenmary Home Missioners' vocation team is here to walk with you on your journey. With Glenmary there are several typical stages that you may experience along this journey:

Stage One: Getting to Know Each Other

Like any relationship there are several steps in getting to know a missionary community and for the community to get to know you.

  1. Make initial contact with the vocation office through e-mail or by filling out and submitting the contact form or calling the office at 513-881-7411.
  2. Have a conversation with a member of the vocation team or meet them face-to-face. Face-to-face meetings can happen where you live. Members of the vocation team travel frequently and are most willing to visit you.
  3. Get to know Glenmarians and our missions through any of the following opportunities:
  • Visit our National Headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Take a Weekend Mission Trip. You might spend the weekend-or longer-at one mission or travel to two or three missions accompanied by other discerners and a member of the vocation team.
  • Attend a Discernment Retreat. Twice a year-after Christmas and during Holy Week-a discernment retreat is held in one of our mission locations. This allows participants to experience time for prayer and reflection within the mission setting and an opportunity to see Glenmary missioners in action.
  • Engage in a Mission Placement. Serious discerners can spend 30 days living with a Glenmarian or co-worker in one of our missions. We also have a discernment house available in Hartford, Ky., for a similar experience.
Any of these opportuntities can be scheduled and organized by contacting the vocation office.

Stage Two: Making Application

After getting to know the Glenmary community and our missions, you might be ready to take the next step, making application. The application process is also part of the discernment journey. During this time Glenmary gets to know you more thoroughly as you gain understanding of yourself. The application process often helps clarify where God is calling you to serve. There are two programs that might meet your needs: aspirancy and pre-novitiate.

Stage Three: Aspirancy or Prenovitiate

Aspirancy is for men who seek priesthood but do not have a college degree; men who have limited skills in English; or men interested in brotherhood but who are living in Kenya or Mexico. Men living in the U.S. between the ages of 18-21 may find this program very helpful even if they are still unsure if missionary ministry is for them.

In the aspirancy program discerners receive an academic degree in an environment geared toward spiritual and emotional growth. This opportunity is based at Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa, and is enhanced by studying with other young men serious about their faith and their desire to follow Jesus.

We also have an aspirancy program based in Mexico. This program is geared for Mexican men living in the United States who are unable to study in here at this time or those living in Mexico who do not have a college degree. The program is offered in conjunction with the diocese of San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco, Mexico.

These programs are under the direction of Glenmary's Vocation Department.

Prenovitiate is the first year of formation under the guidance of the Glenmary Formation Department. This is for men who hold a college degree and are pursuing missionary priesthood and for men living in the United States who are pursuing missionary brotherhood who are age 21 or older. The priest candidates live and study at St. Meinrad School of Theology at St. Meinrad, Ind. Brother candidates live with the formation directors at Glenmary's house located off campus and attend a school nearby.

Stage Four: Applying for Novitiate

Novitiate allows for deeper discernment in preparation for First Oath. The novitiate year is spent at our National Headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. During this year, which follows aspirancy or candidacy, men spend six months doing in-house studies of Glenmary's Constitution, history, and way of life. Another six months is spent in one of our missions serving as a home missioner with other Glenmarians. At the end of this year the student takes his First Oath.

Stage Five: Advanced Formation

There are two tracks in advanced formation: one for brothers-in-training and one for seminarians.

Seminarians study at St. Meinrad School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Ind.

Brothers-in-training study at a university or trade school approved by their directors.

Final Stage: Final Oath

The last stage of the journey is the student's final commitment. The Final Oath follows a minimum three years of temporary Oath. The Oath is renewed each year for one year until the student is recognized as being ready for the final commitment. This is a mutual decision between the Glenmary community and the student. Oaths can be renewed up to six years if deemed necessary.

There are many stages in discovering a missionary vocation with Glenmary. There is the time of getting to know each other, the initial years of formation, the novitiate year and the years that follow. If you look at the larger picture it can seem overwhelming but, like every journey, it begins with a single step or a large leap of faith.

Contact us now and let us walk with you on your journey with God.