Divine Word College
The first step on your journey to becoming a Divine Word Missionary (SVD) is to attend Divine Word College seminary (DWC) located in Epworth, Iowa. As the only U.S. Roman Catholic college dedicated primarily to the education of young men for missionary service, our cross-cultural environment provides a unique spiritual, educational and community living experience.
As an undergraduate seminary student, your Formation will consist of four main areas: academic, personal, spiritual and ministry all within a cross-cultural setting.
Divine Word College offers a background in English, literature, math and science, history, speech, psychology, the arts, a second language and theology. If English is not your first language, we offer an excellent English as Second Language (ESL) Program to prepare you for college-level reading, speaking and writing. Students have access to a full-time professional counselor on campus, to assist you with time management, study skills and test-taking strategies. The counselor also helps students address emotional issues like grief, depression or anxiety. As an integral part of the formation program, the counselor may administer tests to help you learn greater self-understanding and to clarify your vocational choices.
You may major in either Philosophy or Cross-Cultural Studies. These majors are critically important to becoming an SVD. Philosophy is a foundation for theology and the pastoral life of a priest. Cross-cultural studies prepare you to live with, understand and enjoy people of other cultures, and to understand your own world view based on your own culture. Through our rigorous academic formation, you come to live more reflectively in the Catholic intellectual tradition. This equips you for future ministry as a leader in the Church, serving in different cultures.
Personal formation activities help you to:
• Develop skills to live in community life
• Develop in your religious missionary vocation
• Develop a deeper, self-motivated spirituality and relationship with Christ
As a member of the cross-cultural college community, you will interact with your peers and with Divine Word Missionaries as your mentors. Prayer, community service, work study, sports and cultural events help you to grow in many ways.
Guided by your formation director and through group activities and sharing, you will strive to grow in personal maturity, relationship to community, relationship with Christ and religious missionary vocation. This program helps you to become a healthy, integrated and spiritual person, enabling you to make mature decisions on your vocation. You will have a spiritual director who will guide you during one-on-one meetings. Spiritual direction will enable you to grow and develop in your journey of faith, and help you to listen to God’s direction in your life.
This area of formation helps you to become actively involved in serving people’s needs through community service, including visiting the elderly, working with the mentally and physically challenged, serving area Latino and Vietnamese communities and offering hospitality to anyone in need. Active participation in the liturgy is another important part of your formation. You will attend a weekly liturgy preparation program including instruction in liturgy and rehearsal of liturgical music. Depending on your talent and ability, you might serve as lector, acolyte, sacristan, Eucharistic minister, cantor and minister of hospitality or music ministry.
Your senior year is called the pre-novitiate year, in preparation for becoming a member of the Society of the Divine Word and entering the Novitiate after graduation. As a senior, you will reside at Megan Hall, a separate residence on the DWC campus, which provides a quiet atmosphere for prayer, reflection and study. During this year, SVD staff will evaluate your readiness to apply for membership in the Society of the Divine Word, as you gradually learn to live a life more like that of the novitiate.