Explore Your Vocation with Us

“What is more delicate and more sacred than a vocation?
Vocations come from God, humans cannot give them.”

(Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C.)

Before you were conceived in your mother’s womb, God set you aside for a special purpose – your vocation. However, like any major life choice, the decision to enter religious life is a gradual process that unfolds in a number of stages. Learn more about our formation programs and materials to help you determine your path.


How do you know if you are being called by God to the religious life as a brother or priest? Are there signs to look for?

When considering becoming a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, you will enter into a process of “discernment,” or decision-making, to help you determine if religious life might be for you. Through prayer and personal reflection, you will explore your gifts, talents, strengths, weaknesses and motivations for moving toward religious life. You will also develop your relationship with God and get to know the brothers and priests in Holy Cross and experience our shared common life.

You might be hearing a call from God if you agree with some of the following statements:

  • “I need more meaning in my life”
  • “I have a desire to deepen my faith and relationship with God”
  • “I participate in Mass on a regular basis”
  • “Other people tell me that I would make a good religious person”
  • “I want to live with others who believe what I believe”
  • “I am a generous person who finds serving others to be life-giving”
  • “I am comfortable with silence”
  • “I am excited about new possibilities in my life”



Single, Catholic men between the ages of 18 and 35 years old who aspire to explore their vocation to religious brotherhood or priesthood have the opportunity to live with members of the Holy Cross family in the St. Joseph Residence Program at Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Indiana.

Life in the St. Joseph Residence Program is as down to earth and busy as any residence hall. In our religious houses, aspirants share meals, prayer, household chores, and a weekly ministry. In addition, aspirants join the larger Holy Cross community for social times and special celebrations. In all of these activities, aspirants get an in-depth look at religious life – and themselves!

Want more information about the Holy Cross Aspirancy Program? Watch the following video as four young men share their experiences of living in the St. Joseph Residence Program at Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Indiana.


The first formal stage in becoming a religious brother or priest in Holy Cross takes place within the St. Joseph Residence Program at Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Indiana.

The ideal postulant is a single, Catholic male between the ages of 18 and 35 years old who displays physical, emotional, and spiritual health. He is either an upperclassman at the college, has completed an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning, or has earned professional certification in a trade or profession. He is free of personal debt, or has the ability to become debt-free before beginning his novitiate year. He is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

Having discerned up to this step in the process, the Postulant Program helps a young man to clarify his desire and motivation for religious life through developing a personal prayer routine, spiritual direction, learning community living and leadership skills, and engaging in service to others in a Holy Cross setting.

If the postulant and the director of the St. Joseph Residence Program discern that the young man is called to religious life in Holy Cross, he then makes application to be admitted to the novitiate in Cascade, Colorado.


The novitiate in Cascade, Colorado, is a collaborative program for all Holy Cross brother and priest novices in the United States. During this spiritual year, you will be further educated and trained in styles of prayer and meditation, in the skills necessary for living the vowed life in common, in apostolic service, and in the knowledge of the history, spirituality, character and mission of Holy Cross.

At the end of the novitiate, novices make temporary vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience for a period of one year.


After professing first vows, you, as a new brother or seminarian, will be assigned to ministry or to studies at Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Indiana. Newly professed members will live with the community at St. Joseph House. Seminarians will receive their Master of Divinity degree from the University of Notre Dame. Brothers will either continue their professional studies or be assigned to ministry.

The same areas that were emphasized during the postulancy and novitiate programs — community life, prayer, ministry and the vows — are continued and strengthened. You would remain under temporary vows for three to six years. After that time, you could request perpetual vows within the Congregation of Holy Cross.

To view Bro. Nich Perez, C.S.C.’s final vows celebration, watch the following video.