God calls us in many ways. You may feel called to the priestly and religious life as an Oblate of the Virgin Mary. Discerning such a call is not easy, but a good way to begin is to meet some of our seminarians, learn about our formation program and experience the daily realities of community life. It is important to remember that even if you feel strongly that God is calling you to priestly and religious life, discerning which charism best reflects your strengths and personality is key to living religious life to its fullest. In these series of pages, you'll get a closer look at the type of experience you can expect to find in community life with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM OUR SEMINARY?
At our seminary, you can expect to find a group of men with a healthy prayer life, a strong emphasis on community, faithfulness to Church teaching, a solid education and great locations to study and work.
You can expect to enjoy a community that is dedicated to prayer. Within the program, we have daily Mass, morning and evening prayer, Mid day prayer, Exammen, night prayer, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, meditation, spiritual reading and the rosary.
You can expect to live in community. We pray in community, we take meals in community and we work in community. You can expect to use the talents that God gave you. We have fish farmers, carpenters, literary scholars and a few who can cook well. Some are great preachers, some are poets, and talented writers. Together in prayer, we make a complete team.
Faithful to Church Teaching
You can expect to learn and enjoy the teaching of the Catholic Church. Our philosophical and theological training is based on giving our seminarians the principles behind these teachings, the practice that relates to them, and also on enhancing their knowledge of the life and situations in the world, particularly the peoples and societies they are called to love and serve. Imbued by the Christian principles and liberating Word of God, they are equipped to critically evaluate the ethical and theological issues that face the faithful in everyday life.
You can expect to benefit from having a spiritual director, a confessor, great teachers, and a staff that is dedicated to your personal growth as a consecrated religious. You will be equipped with the skills, education and training to serve the Church in manifold roles such as confessors, counsellors, preachers and teachers.
Great Locations to Study and Work
The formation will be mostly in the beautiful ancient city of Ibadan, Oyo State, normally about an hour and half drive from Lagos. The academic classes (in Philosophy and Theology) for the Postulants and Theologate (Temporary Professed) candidates will be in Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Major Seminary, Bodija-Ibadan and the Dominican Institute, Samonda-Ibadan. You will find in Ibadan and its surrounding towns, opportunities to improve on your ability to dialogue, for example with peoples of other religious traditions (e.g. Islam, Protestantism). The Novitiate program takes place at Suleja, Minna Diocese, Niger State.
Are you considering a call to the priesthood and/or the religious life? The Oblates of the Virgin Mary is a Roman Catholic religious congregation of priests and brothers, united in their love for the truth and reconciliation and their desire to work towards a rebirth of spirituality in today's world.
LEARN ABOUT OUR FORMATION
Formation is the process by which a seminarian becomes an Oblate of the Virgin Mary. Prayer, work, study, Community life and recreation each play a part in this journey of spiritual, emotional, and intellectual maturation. The three stages of formation are Postulancy, Novitiate and Theologate.
The first stage of formation, lasting about four years for those who enter with Secondary School certificate, provides the postulant with studies in philosophy, the humanities and liberal arts. These studies serve as a foundation for later work in theology. Combined with a life of prayer, especially the Mass and Eucharistic Adoration, the postulant undergoes his initial preparation for more advanced studies. Personal spiritual direction, monthly days of recollection, Spiritual retreats, and some supervised apostolic experience also contribute to formation. Group outings and regular periods of recreation accompanies the schedule.
The second stage of formation is a one-year canonical period of intense spiritual maturation and discernment. It takes place in Suleja, Niger State. All academic studies are suspended during this twelve-month period. Instead, the novice is instructed in the rule, spirit, and way of life of the Oblates. He is also taught the fundamentals of the spiritual life and makes the thirty-day Ignatian retreat. The novitiate year concludes with religious profession as the novice takes temporary vows of chastity, poverty and obedience and receives the Oblate religious habit.
The third stage of formation has the newly professed embarking upon theological studies. The four-year program includes classes in scripture, dogma, morals, Canon law, spirituality, preaching, psychology and pastoral counselling, and so on. Supervised field education experiences have the student, doing retreat ministry and visiting the sick and dying. Summer apostolates give the student valuable experiences in living and working with Oblates here and around the world. Theological studies culminate in the reception of the Bachelor in Theology degree. The Oblate receives the ministries of Lectorate and Acolyte in preparation for final vows and ordination to the Diaconate and Priesthood.
At the end of his required theological courses, some Oblates of the Virgin Mary may be given the opportunity to take a specialization course in a chosen field, preferably at one of the Universities or Higher institutes in Nigeria, or one of the Pontifical Universities or Institutes in Rome. Normally, most Oblates complete their specialization after some apostolic and priestly experience.
WHAT STEPS DO I TAKE TO ENTER THE SEMINARY?
If you feel that our Congregation is something you are looking for or would like to have more information, feel free to contact us. We will send you materials detailing our formation program, our charism, our current works and our requirements for entry. In the meantime, you can also find helpful information on the Oblates published in: The Official Directory of the Catholic Church in Nigeria (2008-2009), page 360; or The Catholic Church in Nigeria: Our Response to Mission (Edited by Mary Lucella Louisa Ukaegbu, IHM), pg. 248-251
Once you have read our information and feel comfortable to proceed, the next step is a scheduled visit to Lanteri Oblate Seminary, Ibadan (Nigeria). During the visit you will be a part of seminary life. You will get a chance to meet the seminarians. You will have a chance to sightsee if you are visiting Ibadan for the first time. Your visit will be personal so that we can talk one on one. The accommodations are without cost to you. Many of those who have visited us in the past have told us that they really enjoyed their stay in a community that was prayerful, friendly, and welcoming without any pressure to join. We respect the discernment process that must take place between you and our Lord.
Afterwards, we hope that you will give yourself some time to reflect on your visit and a chance to talk to your Spiritual Director.
The next step is the application process. November 15 is the deadline of application for the following academic/formation session, which begins in October of the next year. Once a candidate has been accepted, he will come to the seminary in early October and after a brief period of orientation and a retreat, classes will begin. For admission into degree program in the Philosophy, candidates are required to do the JAMB and the Post-UME, except for the direct entry candidates.