Vocations full page web 


Of the world’s ten largest Roman Catholic men’s religious congregations, the Society of the Divine Word, more commonly known as the Divine Word Missionaries, is the fastest growing order and the only one to experience a consistent increase in membership over the past 40 years.

If you believe God might be calling you or someone you know to the life of a missionary priest or brother, our congregation may be the right fit.

The process of discernment—recognizing the path your life should take—goes through many steps. One of our vocations directors can elaborate on the process and help you discover more clearly the possibilities of God’s unique call.

As you get to know us better, you may feel quite at home with our congregation and the work that we do to help God’s people around the world. In that case, you can consider taking the first step in following a call to the religious missionary way of life.

The amount of education that you have will determine where you start in the process, which includes:

  • Divine Word College, an accredited liberal arts college that offers several degree programs, as well as English-language courses, to meet the needs of Catholic seminarians

  • Novitiate, a period in which a candidate has time and space to pray and reflect

  • Theologate, where candidates take graduate courses in theological studies and pastoral ministry at Catholic Theological Union.

The information on the
Vocation Office website will guide you to contact one of our vocation directors who will help you begin the discernment process. Or if you prefer, you may call the Vocation Office at 800-553-3321 and ask to speak with one of the vocation directors.

May God bless you as you ponder the Lord’s call.


The Steps

Each candidate’s journey is unique, but they all take similar steps along the way. The first point of entry into the Society of the Divine Word begins when the prospective candidate—after a period of dialogue with one of the vocation directors—enters the associate program or a formation program for one or more years.

From there it is off to novitiate for one year of intense spiritual preparation and discernment. At the end of the novitiate, the man professes temporary vows. Once he makes temporary vows, he becomes an official member of the congregation. After a period of three to nine years he can request to take perpetual vows, and thus he makes a life-long commitment to the Society of the Divine Word.

Brotherhood candidates pursue various degrees geared toward ministries of teaching, counseling, pastoral care, technical work or administration, generally completing their vocational education before taking perpetual vows.

Candidates who are called to become priests, continue their graduate-level theological education and ministerial training at Catholic Theological Union. Upon graduation, they are able to be ordained to the priesthood.

While in temporary vows, all brotherhood candidates and seminarians, spend one to three years in the Cross Cultural Training Program, generally learning a new language and then ministering in a culture or country that is not their own.