Divine Word Missionary Brothers bring a wide range of talents to the missionary endeavor. They build missions and schools, work as teachers and administrators, develop agricultural and other life-sustaining projects with indigenous people, serve in health-related fields and contribute in numerous ways to the ministry of the Society of the Divine Word. In the early days of the Church, the Apostles realized that they could not preach Jesus’ Word without the help of others who ministered in various ways in early Christian communities (Acts 6: 1-6). Brotherhood is the core of the Society of the Divine Word. Although they do not preach and perform sacramental Church ministries, religious Brothers witness to the Gospel through lives of service and prayer, proclaiming the Word throughout the world.
To become an SVD Brother, you need a solid education by earning either a college degree or completing technical training. Most Brother candidates begin their Formation journey at Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa, with the following options of study:
- Earn your four-year B.A. degree in either Philosophy or Cross-Cultural Studies.
- Earn your two-year A.A. degree in Cross-Cultural Studies.
- Attend another local area college, while living as a seminary student at DWC, in order to complete a B.A. degree in another academic area such as Education, Computer Science, Biology, Art or another field of study that you may be gifted in.
During this time, you will participate in personal and spiritual formation at Divine Word College along with the students studying for the priesthood.
After your pre-novitiate formation at DWC, you will go on to Techny, Illinois, for a canonical year of Novitiate. Both Brother and priest candidates attend the Novitiate together, united in the same vows of consecrated celibacy, evangelical poverty and apostolic obedience. As a Brother candidate, after novitiate you will move to Wendelin House. Here you will continue your academic or technical preparation at one of the Chicago-area colleges or technical schools, while also working in apostolic ministry.
During post-novitiate formation, you will participate in the Cross-Cultural Training Program (CTP), choosing a mission site from one of many countries where Divine Word Missionaries serve. Depending on the country you choose and the language you need to learn, this program can last from one to three years. You will experience first-hand mission work while using the skills, education and training you have learned.
After CTP and completion of your advanced degree, preparation for profession of your final vows begins. A Brother remains in temporary vows for three to six years before applying for final vows, which require a preparation of three to six months. Finally, your years of academic, personal and spiritual formation enable you to join in the work of the Society of the Divine Word Brotherhood in proclaiming God’s Kingdom.