Through God’s grace, a candidate for the Oblates of the Virgin Mary undergoes a radical reorientation to Jesus Christ in the spirit of the Founder, Venerable Pio Bruno Lanteri (1759-1830).  As prayer forms his heart in the likeness of Christ, the candidate participates in community life, apostolic works in a variety of settings, careful spiritual direction, and rigorous studies in philosophy, theology, and the charism of the institute.

The Formation Process

Oblate formation grounds itself in the prayer and study necessary to teach and defend the truths of faith and moral values which are revealed by God and entrusted to the Magisterium of the Church. After an official visit to Our Lady of Grace Seminary and completion of the application process, the accepted candidate begins the period of formal preparation for religious vows and ordination. 

Learn more about the three stages of the formation program.


During the first two years of formation, the postulant begins to live religious life in the Oblate spirit. You’ll study the meaning of vows and explore if this life is right for you. Following a typical academic schedule with breaks at Christmas and during the summer, the postulant pursues or completes a degree in philosophy and liberal arts.


The second stage of formation is a full year of intense spiritual maturation in preparation for religious profession. The novice engages in prayer and study of the religious life and the Oblate charism as he seeks confirmation of God’s will for his life. The experience of the 30-day Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius plays a central role in this discernment.

Father Paul's Ordination


After first profession and reception of the Oblate habit, the cleric studies theology and prepares for final profession and ordination. His theological studies culminate in a Master’s degree, with the possibility of further specialization at the doctoral level. Summer apostolic assignments and a pastoral year provide valuable experiences of living and working with Oblates around the world.  This period of formation typically lasts five years.

Catholic Seminary Life

Each calling from God is unique. The formation process reflects this personal spiritual journey, and at the same time helps you learn to live in the larger Oblate community. Most men who are considering a vocation wonder what life is like as a seminarian and if it’s the right fit.

The seminarians’ schedule offers a balance between prayer, study, work, and recreation. Daily prayer includes Mass, Morning and Evening Prayer, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, spiritual reading and the Rosary. We spend time with each other and alongside priests, from eating together in common to managing and maintaining our house.

We are proud to provide our seminarians with a solid and orthodox intellectual formation, a vibrant community life, and exceptional spiritual direction.

The time of formation with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary has been one of experiencing God’s merciful love and Mary’s maternal care drawing out the best in me. Through our formation process and studies, I’m being equipped to help others experience the same in their own lives, whether in a parish setting, on retreat, or someday soon in preaching at Mass and hearing Confessions.

Br. Leland Thorpe

Joining the Oblates

If you’re considering a vocation with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, please reach out to us to discuss your next steps or ask for spiritual guidance as you discern a vocation. We also welcome you to experience seminarian and religious life with the Oblates by visiting us in Boston during a Come & See event.

Join Us