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Seminarian Formation

Saint Francis de Sales Seminaryforms the hearts, minds and souls of men called by Jesus Christ to serve the People of God in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Saint Francis de Sales Seminary

Saint Francis de Sales Seminary, founded in 1845 and located in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, forms the hearts, minds and souls of men called by Jesus Christ to serve God's people as priests in the Roman Catholic Church. This provincial seminary forms priests for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the other dioceses of Wisconsin, and beyond. The formation integrates the human, pastoral, spiritual and intellectual dimensions of the Program of Priestly Formation. In a particular way, Saint Francis de Sales Seminary is committed to Safe Environment Education, and to forming priests who are dedicated to safeguarding all of God’s children. This training for our priests is a grave responsibility – a responsibility that we accept with the utmost seriousness and urgency. Our efforts contribute to the ongoing work of the Church in the Unites States to carry out the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The entire formation program at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary serves this task. The following processes and sessions are some specific ways that we seek to fulfill our duty to form men who are equipped and devoted to protect children and young people.

Admission to the Seminary

The vetting and admissions process, especially the psychological exam, ensure that the men who are accepted have, among other criteria, the necessary psychological well-being and healthy sexual integration which are foundations for freely and joyfully embracing a life of chaste celibacy.

Forming Men of Communion

Formation sessions, formation advising, spiritual direction, and counseling (if necessary) all seek, as a goal, to form each seminarian into a man of communion – a man capable of entering into deep and healthy relationships with God and others, and thus able to serve as a spiritual father. A man of communion must exhibit the following human qualities:

  • Personal maturity
  • Affective maturity
  • Prudential judgement
  • Personal initiative and generosity
  • Freedom
  • Honesty and openness
  • Flexibility
  • Joy and inner peace
  • Interpersonal skills
Comprehensive Training in Human Sexuality and Celibacy

Formation sessions, academic classes, workshops, formation advising, spiritual direction, and counseling (if necessary) provide men with a comprehensive training in human sexuality and celibacy. Seminarians receive formation in:

  1. The physiological and psychological understanding of human sexuality.
  2. The fullness of the Christian vision of the virtue of chastity.
  3. The requisite skills and means for living chaste celibacy well, which includes:
  • Ascetical practice
  • Prudent self-mastery
  • Paths of self-knowledge
  • Genuine friendship
  • Priestly fraternity
  • A mentoring relationship
  • Spiritual direction
  • Priestly asceticism
  • The sacrament of Penance
  • Holy solitude
Safe Environment Training and Education

Seminarians also receive specific Safe Environment training and education:

  1. Every seminarian attends and receives a certificate acknowledging completion of Safe Environment Education (SEE).
  2. Annually, seminarians read and sign a Rule of Life, which outlines unacceptable behaviors and activities, and clearly defines a procedure for disciplinary action and accountability.
  3. Annually, seminarians (re)read and sign the Code of Ethical Standards for Church Leaders and Mandatory Reporting Responsibilities for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
  4. Annually, seminarians complete and sign a website disclosure form. Seminarians must disclose any Virtual Communities/Social Networking Sites of which they are a member. Any non-disclosure discovered can be grounds for dismissal.
  5. Annual in-person audit for compliance to Dallas Charter and Safe Environment.
  6. New resources provided to seminarians on this topic as they become available.

For more information, please view our Seminary Formation Catalog.

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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

3501 South Lake Drive
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912

Phone:  (414) 769-3300
Toll-Free: (800) 769-9373
Fax:  (414)  769-3408