University of Notre Dame/Holy Cross College
Old College Undergraduate Seminary
Discern God’s call while earning a degree from the University of Notre Dame or Holy Cross College.
Old College is the undergraduate seminary for the United States Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross. It is open to any undergraduate man who is focused on discerning a call to the religious life, while at the same time working to obtain an undergraduate degree. For these men, Old College serves as both a house of residence and a way of life. The community combines a structured formation program with the advantages of a Notre Dame or Holy Cross College educational experience.
To learn more about Old College, we encourage you to read about the formation program, take a virtual tour of the seminary, and review the house schedule. We also invite you to meet our current collegians and their formation staff. We also invite you to keep up with the latest events at Old College by following us on social media @cscvocations and @oldcollege. However, the best way to learn more about Old College is to come and see it for yourself. Contact us about making a visit.
Men who apply to Old College are mature, responsible, and active in the Church. They should have a solid foundation of prayer and service, as well as a strong academic record. More than anything else, they should have a strong desire to know where God is calling them and a willingness to learn more about that call so that they may follow it. For a man who has that sense of a call to priesthood and religious life, living in a seminary is the best way to discern if that is indeed the vocation to which God is calling him.
Collegians are full-time undergraduate students at either the University of Notre Dame or Holy Cross College. They are free to study any major that interests them in addition to their required studies of philosophy and theology. They are also free to participate in many of the intellectual and extracurricular opportunities available at Notre Dame and Holy Cross.
The schedule at Old College emphasizes prayer and the common life, including daily Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, and Eucharistic Adoration. Collegians meet regularly with the formation staff as well as with a spiritual director who helps them grow as Christian disciples. Weekly formation conferences teach them about the priesthood, religious vows, and the charism and history of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Collegians also engage in regular ministry placements, where they have the opportunity to develop their ministerial skills and put their formation into practice.
Formation at Old College occurs in group conferences and one-on-one meetings, and through the day-to-day interactions the collegians have with the formation staff and with their brothers in community. These interactions, both formal and informal, help a young man grow in maturity and cultivate his leadership skills. They also help him develop the generosity of spirit that any servant of the Church must possess. In addition, the collegians make a retreat together in the fall and spring semesters to deepen their discernment and advance their spiritual growth as men of God.
“Our consecration in Baptism is a departure on a journey that requires us, as it does all His people, to be refashioned by the Lord’s creating grace over and over again. Likewise with our lives in a religious community, we must have formed in us by God’s enablement the living likeness of Jesus Christ.”
Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross, 6:58
Like all seminarians in the Church, a significant portion of the collegians’ weekly schedule is taken up by their studies, including classes, homework and other related academic activities, as well as by their weekly ministry placement. Collegians are enrolled in a full schedule of coursework, normally totaling around 15 credit hours. Their ministry placements grow in intensity each year from one hour a week in their first year to three hours a week in their third year.
At the same time, in keeping with our religious life, the weekly schedule at Old College centers on our common life as brothers in community, including common prayer, common meals and other community events. The times of common prayer are in addition to the 30 minutes of private prayer collegians are required to do each day.
This schedule or rule provides the framework in which formation for religious life and priesthood as well as growth in holiness can take place.
Ready to Meet Us?
Visit Old College
There are several ways to try out life at Old College Undergraduate Seminary. No matter your fears or limitations, we are happy to invite you to come and see our Holy Cross family! Explore our high school discernment options below, then reach out to a Holy Cross Vocations Director to learn more about the Old College program and schedule your visit.
The Office of Vocations hosts Come & See Retreats for high school students both in the fall, and in the spring. These three day retreats are structured so that retreatants have an opportunity to stay at Old College, tour the campuses, and meet with a vocations director. This weekend visit will help to get a better sense of whether the undergraduate seminary program is right for you.
The Summer Seminary Immersion Program is a two-week academic course offered in conjunction with the Office of Pre-College Programs at Notre Dame. This program will help young men deepen their own consideration of God’s call through study of Sacred Scripture, and the Catholic Tradition. Participants will live in Old College, and their course work will focus on developing a deeper understanding of the priesthood.
Sometimes scheduling conflicts make it hard to attend a retreat. Call the Vocations Office to schedule an individual informal visit. Come and stay at Old College for a few days, and speak with a vocations director and the Old College rector while you are here. Attend a class with a current Old Collegian, and see first hand what life at the seminary has to offer. If you are planning a campus visit, call our office to schedule a meeting with one of our vocations directors while you are here.