What’s it like? What do you guys do all day? Are there women in your classes? Are you guys allowed to have women visitors? All awesome questions, and all questions that I will hope to answer a little bit within this post. Obviously my experience is from my particular lens, so in a sense this is a very subjectivist blog post.
My day begins usually between 4:15 – 4:30am. After a quick visit to the third floor Oratory chapel, I say ‘Goodmorning’ to Jesus and offer Him my day. I usually stay for about 5mins. Then I go outside for my morning jog. Usually I’m back by about 5am, shower, shave, and brush my teeth, check my email/facebook then head to the ‘refectory’ for a morning coffee where I meet two other ‘morning’ confreres. Usually around 6:20am we go our separate ways, I will go outside and pray my Rosary or just contemplate Jesus. (In the winter, I’m usually before the Blessed Sacrament). By about 7:20am, I head to the main chapel where the community gathers together to pray Laudes or assist at Mass. (The Seminary tries to mirror a parish setting, so that sometimes Mass is in the morning, and sometimes at 5pm the afternoon.)
At 8am, more or less, the community heads to the refectory for breakfast, whereby we sit at table, laugh and joke, sometimes even stress about whatever awaits whether it be a class or otherwise. Classes start at 9am and last until noon. Then it is midday prayer, followed by lunch. Our classes fall into two categories, philosophy and Theology, with seminars on psychology and human relations. We have several committees in the house, the Co-ordination committee, basically the president of the seminarian student body and members, who act as a link between the directors and the seminarian life. We have the Liturgy committee, essentially which plans the in house Liturgies, the Service Committee (general maintenance) and the Welcoming committee, who handle visitors. We also have the Sports Committee which plans the Thursday afternoon hockey match. The afternoons can be taken up with meetings and planning, or pastoral work while at times they are also open. Does that mean there is nothing to do? In my case, during the free time, I will study and hit the gym. We gather again around 5pm for either a Rector’s conference with a theme. (or Mass) Supper at 6pm, then Vespers at 7pm, followed by a music practice, lectio Divina, or any other small workshop or another pastoral work such as ‘café trottoire’ (sidewalk café,..an outreach to the homeless and marginalized, drug addicts, etc…). I usually go to bed by 10:30pm if I don’t have Café Trottoir, or any other work. Sometimes I will study, then go back to the third floor oratory, say goodnight to Jesus, pray Compline and retire.
As far as women in our classes? YES! The academic wing is called the ‘Institution de formation Theologique de Montreal.’ It functions as does any other University so there are external students. (I was once one of them! When I was negotiating with God not to go into the priesthood! Lolol!!!) Back then, I was seeing a great girl, and worked as a trainer, so good money too.
Within the Seminary, we can have visitors, (many of my friends have come by) and YES, we can have women visit us as well. As an aside, it is important for future priests to have female friendships, even the guys like me, (who ‘had a life’ so to speak…) in order to maintain a proper balance anthropologically speaking. There is, however, a difference between a girl visiting you at the seminary in your room ‘cell’ with the door closed at night.
Life in the Seminary is about living in community, and while we all pray together, study and eat together, you also have to deal with personality clashes,.. The above examples need to be counterbalanced with burping together, farting together and getting on each other nerves together. My life is prayer, community, study, training and pastoral works. Do I miss my old life? At times, of course! Through it all, it is nothing compared to what Jesus is giving me now. Discernement is tough, priesthood is tough, and we need men to step up to the plate and accept. Be willing to follow that ‘itch’ inside you, until it can be truly scratched. A calling is Supernatural!
Same guy in all the pics,. Pastores Dabo Vobis= healthy balance!
St Jean Viannay..................................................Ora pro nobis!