Seminary Life


“The time has come to speak courageously about priestly life as a priceless gift and a splendid and privileged form of Christian living…Priests should not be afraid to set forth explicitly and forcefully the priestly vocation as a real possibility for those young people who demonstrate the necessary gifts and talents”  (PDV, n. 39).

In coming to Cardinal Glennon College Seminary, a man makes a commitment to discern, with all honesty and integrity, a call to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Having been accepted into the seminary, each man must give evidence of an overall personal balance, moral character, and proper motivation, along with the human, moral, spiritual, intellectual, physical and psychological qualities necessary for priestly ministry.  

“The call—Paul VI once said—‘is as extensive as the response. There cannot be vocations unless they be free; that is, unless they be spontaneous offerings of oneself, conscious, generous, total…It is the humble and penetrating voice of Christ who says, today as yesterday, and even more than yesterday:  Come.  Freedom reaches its supreme foundation: precisely that of oblation, of generosity, of sacrifice’”  (PDV, n. 36).

The discipline and sacrifice that are required of each seminarian is a freely chosen response, not a burden imposed upon him. The guidelines and expectations of the seminary help to define personal responsibilities; they do not destroy freedom. 

Cardinal Glennon College Seminary encourages each man to be fully engaged in formation through his openness and sincerity to the program in all its aspects. Without this commitment, the seminarian may be nourishing false hopes and illusions with resultant damage to himself, to his fellow seminarians, or to the Church. Failure to meet the standards established by Cardinal Glennon College Seminary program of formation may result in disciplinary sanctions, probation, or dismissal.


Priestly formation occurs in the context of a community. It is “a continuation in the Church of the apostolic community gathered around Jesus” in which men called to share in a unique way in the priesthood of Christ relive today the formation offered to the Twelve by the Lord” (PDV, n. 60-61).

“The seminary is a school of human virtue, of growth in honesty, integrity, intellectual rigor, hard work, and tolerance, where the common good is built with solidarity and discipline—all leavened by humor and healthy enjoyment” (PPFn. 260).

The presence of each man at the seminary is a value in itself. While seminarians may be involved in activities which do not conflict with seminary exercises, (including activities available at Saint Louis University, home parishes and dioceses) these should be limited to safeguard the commitment needed to generate development and growth in the seminary community. “The give-and-take between those who share the priesthood as a common vocation sets the right context for formation. Such interaction provides mutual support, promotes tolerance and fraternal correction, and gives an opportunity for the development of leadership and talent among seminarians. It can also motivate seminarians to develop a sense of self-sacrifice and a spirit of collaboration” (PPF, n. 262).

The communal life promoted at Cardinal Glennon College helps the seminarian to develop the relationship and dialogue skills necessary for healthy interpersonal relationships as priests. It also realizes that the individual seminarian must strive to interiorize the values of spiritual life and integrate the lessons of human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation. The interplay between individual and community lies at the heart of formation (PPF, n. 261). 

In his preparation for a life of service to the parish and community as a priest, the seminarian needs to develop a willingness to serve others generously. Seminarians are often asked to assist and are encouraged to be generous with their time and talents outside the seminary. However, seminarians can also work to develop these skills of service by engaging in various works on behalf of others seminarians or the seminary community as a whole. Volunteer service is often requested at the seminary for specific tasks or positions of leadership. Seminarians are expected to be generous with their time and talents in building up the seminary community with their volunteer service, especially when it is not obligatory.


Because a rhythm of public and private prayer is the single most important element in establishing a college seminary program as a formative environment, each seminarian should be conscientious about his attendance at scheduled communal prayer. At the heart of the spiritual life is the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass. Daily participation and attendance are expected of each seminarian. 

Permission to be absent from any scheduled communal exercise should never be presumed. If a seminarian desires to be excused from an event for a valid reason, he may seek permission in advance from a member of the Formation Staff. To request an absence for an extended period of time, the seminarian must see the Vice-Rector of Cardinal Glennon College for permission. Sunday through Thursday evenings are understood as “study nights.” Seminarians are expected to make every effort to be present on campus after dinner for study and prayer. Because of the time commitment Cardinal Glennon College asks of its members, no seminarian is allowed to hold outside employment during the school year. Seminarians who request work study or other limited opportunities for income throughout the year should consult the Vice-Rector of Cardinal Glennon College.

Formation in Celibacy

The formation of one who is called to the priesthood requires that the seminarian knows, appreciates, loves and lives celibacy according to its true nature and purpose. To be lived fruitfully, the value of celibacy must be interiorizedEach seminarian at Cardinal Glennon College makes a commitment, in his discernment of the priesthood, to live a life which is devoid of exclusive relationships. Because of this, the seminary rule forbids dating or any similar relationship. Formation in celibacy requires the candidate for the priesthood to have the ability to set appropriate boundaries by choosing not to act on romantic feelings and by developing self-discipline in the face of temptation. 

Healthy relationships with both women and men are important, and the seminarian should be able to relate to others without fear or embarrassment. However, a lifestyle appropriate for the priesthood cannot be developed if the seminarian engages in exclusive relationships or in social activities which do not witness to celibate chastity. Celibate chastity demands that a seminarian not become physically or emotionally involved with another person, for to do otherwise is to live a lie.  

With the assistance of his spiritual director and those charged with his formation, each seminarian must judge if he has the gift of celibacy and before ordination give assurance to the Church that he can live the permanent commitment to celibacy with authenticity and integrity. “A candidate must be prepared to accept wholeheartedly the Church’s teaching on sexuality in its entirety, be determined to master all sexual temptations, be prepared to meet the challenge of living chastely in all friendships, and, finally, be resolved to fashion his sexual desires and passions in such a way that he is able to live a healthy, celibate lifestyle that expresses self-gift in faithful and life-giving love: being attentive to others, helping them reach their potential, not giving up, and investing all one’s energies in the service of the Kingdom of God” (PPF, n. 94). 

Formation conferences and honest self-disclosure in spiritual direction will assist the seminarian to know the kinds of behaviors which are acceptable and praiseworthy and the kinds that are not. Through the desire to participate in the priesthood, each seminarian accepts the expectation of the Church that he will conduct himself with due prudence at all times. The choice of reading materials, Internet sites, extracurricular amusements, conversations, and acquaintances are to be carefully considered to avoid scandal to the faithful and danger to the observance of celibate chastity in the life of the seminarian.  

Chaste celibacy is only “for those to whom it is given” (Mt. 19:11). The celibate’s personal relationship with Christ through prayer and the sacraments will provide the strength to meet the challenges of celibate living. If, after prayerful consideration and thorough discussion with one’s spiritual director, a man sincerely believes that he is not called or is not willing to live the life of celibacy, he should withdraw from the seminary with honestly and integrity.

Silence and Rest

The seminarian needs to appreciate the value of silence and recollection appropriate from prayer, study, and thoughtful personal growth. In silence, both external and internal, the seminarian can hear God’s call and respond fully and completely in all areas of formation. An atmosphere of quiet should be present at all times outside the chapel, in the library, and in the residential areas of the seminary, especially after Night Prayer. Living in community, each seminarian should recognize the need for quiet, even if not personally desired, out of respect and consideration of others. This includes the time designated in the daily schedule in the evening for serious, quiet study which is to be respected by all. 

Because the daily schedule is a full and demanding one, it is necessary that each seminarian receives sufficient rest in order to function properly. Seminarians are asked to maintain silence in the residential areas after Night Prayer (Sundays through Thursdays) and to retire no later than 11:00 p.m. On Fridays, Saturdays, and days before a holiday, seminarians should be respectful of others by maintaining quiet in the residential areas after 10:00 p.m. and to retire no later than 12:00 midnight. Exceptions to the curfew are allowed only with the explicit permission of a member of the Seminary Formation Staff.

Seminarian Rooms

The second floor of the west wing of the seminary, including the rooms which were renovated in the former west dormitory, is reserved for college seminarians. Each room is furnished with a bed, a desk, a chair, a bookshelf and mini-blinds. Because storage space is limited, seminarians may not remove any of the items from their room without permission. Seminarians may arrange and decorate their rooms as they wish as long as no damage is done to seminary property and items are appropriate for a seminarian. No nails are allowed in the walls because of damage to plaster. Any wall hangings, pictures, or religious items can be hung by using adhesives which will not leave permanent markings on the wall or by using fish line or wire which is attached to the wooden rail near the ceiling. Seminarians may not paint their rooms without permission. Any rugs or carpet may not be fastened to the floor. There should not be any adhesive coverings put on the windows or transom of the room doors.

The residential hallways on which the seminarians live are areas which deserve special consideration. A seminarian’s room is one of the few areas where privacy and a home environment can be maintained. A seminarian’s room is not public domain and his privacy is to be respected.  Many activities occur in one’s room which require quiet, prayer, serious thought, study and sleep. Therefore, a real concern for developing an atmosphere of quiet should become an important consideration.

Prudence must be exercised when having visitors in one’s personal living quarters. Because the seminarian’s room is also his bedroom, no minor or female guest is allowed in private rooms without direct permission of the Rector or a member of the Seminary Formation Staff. Seminarians may not visit or be in another seminarian’s room after 9:30 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays or after 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Individual televisions are not allowed in seminarian rooms. The College Lounge holds a large screen television for seminarians’ use. Gathering together in the lounge to watch television helps to foster community, becomes a lesson in sharing, and speaks of the simplicity of lifestyle to which a priest is called to witness.

Seminarians are expected to maintain a clean and orderly room. The Formation staff will periodically check rooms to be assured that the seminarian is respectful of seminary property and has a proper sense of order in his life. Seminarians will be charged for any damage done to the room or its furnishings due to abuse or neglect. For health and sanitary reasons, no animals or pets (including fish) are to be brought or kept in a seminarian’s room at any time. Seminarians may keep their belongings in their rooms throughout the summer. However, this is a privilege to be earned. Any seminarian who is unable to maintain his room throughout the year will be asked to move his belongings during the summer months.


It is important that the entire Kenrick-Glennon Seminary community develop a sense of hospitality in welcoming guests. However, in order to respect the privacy of the seminarians and maintain a secure environment, all visitors must be met and escorted throughout the building by the seminarian who has invited them. Guests may remain in the building no later than 10:00 p.m. Women guests are not allowed in the residence halls except with specific permission of the Rector or a member of the Seminary Formation Staff.

The seminary can provide overnight accommodations for guests, but on a very limited basis. Permission and arrangements need to be made with the Rector or member of the Seminary Formation Staff in advance for overnight guests. Generally, the only individuals allowed overnight are immediate family members, visiting priests, or prospective seminarians.

Telephones and Cell Phones

All rooms are equipped with an internet and telephone line which features voicemail (no answering machine is needed). Each seminarian is asked to have a telephone in his room for in-house communication. Seminarians are responsible for the cost of all long-distance telephone calls; local telephone calls are free of charge. It is a sign of respect to answer one’s calls and to return messages in a timely fashion.

With the proliferation of cell phones, it is important that seminarians who have cell phones exercise good judgment and etiquette in their use, especially when in public or in a communal areas of the Seminary. It is inconsiderate to interrupt a conversation with another person to take a non-emergency call, to subject others who are in the vicinity with personal or loud conversations, or to put others at risk while driving and talking on the phone.


Studying on the ComputerAlthough computers are allowed in seminarians’ rooms, this permission is given primarily for academic and enrichment purposes. Caution must be given so that the computer does not become an addictive distraction. For the same reasons that a television is not allowed in a seminarian’s room, the extensive use of one’s computer for games, movies, entertainment, or social networking is prohibited. Seminarians who are unable to abide by these expectations will lose computer privileges. 

The use of computers and the Internet must give faithful witness to Christian practices and be consistent with the mission and values of Jesus Christ and His Church. The seminarian needs to be aware that he is vulnerable to use the Internet in ways which contradict the Christian life especially with images of pornography and the objectification of the human person.

Computer Usage Policy

The computer usage policy of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary states that computers and technological resources may not be used for illegal or unethical purposes. This applies to all computers and computer equipment, including those which are used on Seminary property but not owned by the Seminary. All computers accessing the Internet through the Seminary’s network are monitored. Examples of unacceptable of illegal or unethical purposes include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Viewing, collecting or distributing inappropriate material, including pornography, anti-religious, racist or other hate sites
  • Harassment of other users
  • Libeling or slandering other users
  • Disruption or unauthorized monitoring of electronic communications
  • Unlicensed copying of copyright-protected material
  • Reading or attempting to read another person’s electronic mail or protected files
  • Stealing or attempting to steal another person’s computer passwords
  • Hacking computers or tampering with others’ software
  • Conducting business or commercial enterprises using the educational status of the Seminary

No person under 18 years of age may use a computer on the Seminary grounds unless that person has permission from the appropriate administrative authority and has appropriate supervision. Violations of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary computer usage policy may result in disciplinary or legal action.


For reasons of safety and the well-being of persons and property, seminarians should be aware of keeping the building secure. The combinations for the front and side doors should not be given to others. Seminarians should lock their own rooms when they are not at home. Should any unknown person be seen wandering through the building, one should politely ask whom they wish to see and accompany them to their destination. 

Cardinal Glennon College Seminary is not responsible for any personal injuries or for any damage or loss to the student’s automobile or property. Seminarians should have their own insurance coverage for health, automobile and other property.

Dining Room and Meals

Proper etiquette and manners are expected in the dining room at all times, including appropriate attire and promptness. Courtesy is shown to the kitchen staff and to others by clearing the dishes after meals and by not taking food, dinnerware and utensils outside of the dining area. Certain areas of the kitchen are off limits to seminarians. Seminarians are not allowed to take food from the seminary walk-in refrigerators, freezers or storage areas without specific permission from the Kitchen staff or a Seminary administrator.    

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the seminary dining room from Monday through Saturday. Brunch and dinner are served on Sundays. The evening meal is a significant time in the seminary schedule. The conversation and interaction which occurs at table encourages community building among the seminarians. For this reason presence at the evening meal is highly emphasized.


Kenrick-Glennon Seminary is a smoke-free building. The use of tobacco by a college seminarian at any time is prohibited.


No alcoholic beverages may be kept or consumed in seminarian rooms or common areas (this also applies to those students who are 21 years of age or older). Because a significant number of college seminarians are not of the legal age to consume alcohol, it is the policy of Cardinal Glennon College that no alcohol will be served or consumed at college events. A seminarian has a duty to witness moderation to a world that suffers greatly because of the tragic results of the misuse of alcohol. On those special occasions when the Kenrick-Glennon community serves wine at mealtime, those seminarians who are 21 years of age or older may partake of wine; however, temperance and self-control are virtues to be modeled for the entire seminary community. Failure to obey these regulations could result in possible expulsion. Off campus, those seminarians who are 21 years of age or older have a social and civic duty to abide by the Laws of the State of Missouri with regard to alcoholic beverages, particularly those concerning legal age, supplying alcohol to minors, overindulgence, and the sanctions attached.

Substance Abuse

The introduction, possession, or use of any illicit drugs or the abuse of any prescription medication on or off campus is forbidden. Any failure in this area will be considered a serious offense and could result in possible expulsion from the program. Rehabilitation and treatment programs will be recommended to address specific problems in this area.