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Meet our SOLT seminarians and see the formation process for men going towards the priesthood.

Novitiate (1 Year)

Upon a favorable recommendation in aspirancy, the aspirant moves on to novitiate where he is called a novice. The novitiate is one year in length and typically held in Corpus Christi, Texas. During this novitiate the novice studies the constitutions of SOLT, learns the meaning of the evangelical promises of poverty, chastity and obedience and develops his prayer life. The novitiate is marked by much time for silence, coming to deeper self-knowledge, and growth in the contemplative life as well as sharing in communal life.

First Promises

At the close of novitiate, the novice petitions to make his first promises. With this profession of temporary promises of poverty, chastity and obedience for one year, he formally becomes a religious brother. As a religious brother he is given a habit to wear which signifies his consecration. Temporary promises are renewed for a minimum period of 5 years, at which point perpetual promises are made.

Br. David Snow, SOLT

2nd Philosophy


Hometown: Raytown, MO

University: University of Nebraska 

Graduate School: University of Missouri

Major: Music

First Promises: July 9th, 2017 

Year in Seminary: 2nd Philosophy 

Where do you study? 

Sacred Heart Major Seminary

Detroit, MI

How did you find out about SOLT: My mom was a lay member of SOLT in the 70's and 80's, so our family was always close to the community when I was growing up.

How did God call you: After graduation from grad school I was working as a violin teacher and truly trying to grow in the spiritual life and my life of faith.  I felt God calling me to do more with my life so I joined several parish ministries and helped with fundraisers for the SOLT Montessori school in Kansas City.  But I always felt that no matter what I did, God was calling me to do more.  Then, two unlikely people within the span of the same week asked me if I had ever considered the priesthood.  After a powerful experience of the Lord's presence seemingly confirming this vocation, I discerned the call and joined SOLT a year later as aspirant to the priesthood.

Favorite part of mission life: Teaching kids

Theology (4 years)

Theological studies are also completed at SHMS in a 4-year course. This includes pastoral training, as well as consistent spiritual direction, meeting with formation advisors and retreats. At the completion of the third year of theology, the brother makes his perpetual promises and is ordained to the diaconate. At this point he is a transitional deacon. During the summer months he serves as a deacon, continuing in that capacity throughout his final year of theology. At the completion of the Masters of Divinity degree (4 year theological program) is the celebration of the ordination to priesthood. This takes place in the Cathedral of Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas, the principal seat of SOLT.

Br. Dave Brokke, SOLT

4th Theology


Hometown: Baltimore, MD

University: Franciscan University of Steubenville

Major: Catechetics and Theology

First Promises: July 19th, 2014

Year in Seminary: 4th Theology 

Diaconate Ordination: April 13th, 2019 

Where do you study? 

Seminarian at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.

How did you find out about SOLT: I went on a mission trip with Franciscan University to our SOLT mission in Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize and fell in love. I knew I had to volunteer there after that one week experience.

How did God call you: After teaching the kids in Belize for three years, I realized just how in love I was with God and with His people. God began to show me how laying down my life for others was the key to living  a life to the full. Though there were many little moments that led up to my call, I felt the Lord call me in a very clear and undeniable way at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome on my way to World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011 with a group of kids from Belize.

Favorite part of mission life: Meeting God's people and the joy that they bring with the diversity of their cultures, spirituality, devotions, art, music, dance, and especially food. Tacos al pastor or pibil, anyone?!

Aspirancy (1 Year)

Once the application process has been completed, the individual enters formally into formation. The first stage is aspirancy, where the person is called an aspirant. The period of aspirancy is one year, and is spent at one of the apostolic houses of the community, usually either on the Turtle Mountain Reserve in North Dakota or in Benque Viejo, Belize, Central America. The aspirant prays and serves along side the community, participating fully in the communal life and the apostolate. The time is basically an extended time of “testing the waters,” comparable to the period of courtship for a couple, when the questions are asked: “Is this for me? Could I give my life to this? Do I discern something of importance here from which I may draw life and give my life?”

Philosophy (1-2 Years)

Philosophical studies are taken at Sacred Heart Major Seminary (SHMS) in the Archdiocese of Detroit. SHMS is an excellent seminary at the forefront of the New Evangelization, garnering the admiration of bishops throughout the United States. It is affiliated with the University of St. Thomas (the Angelicum) in Rome. The SOLT brothers studying at SHMS live in community at Holy Redeemer Church in southwest Detroit at the SOLT House of Studies.

Brothers entering seminary who have not previously completed a Bachelor’s Degree enter into a 4-year program towards their Bachelor’s Degree, which includes the philosophical requirements for passing onto the study of Theology. Those brothers who have previously attained to a Bachelor’s Degree complete a 2-year course of studies called “Pre-Theology” which centers on the philosophical preparation for Theological studies.

Br. Joseph Spears, SOLT

1st Philosophy


Hometown: Bowling Green, KY

University: Franciscan University of Steubenville

Major: History 

First Promises: July 8th, 2018

Year in Seminary: 1st Philosophy 

Where do you study? 

Sacred Heart Major Seminary

Detroit, Michigan

How did you find out about SOLT: When I was a sophomore in college I went on a mission trip to Belize where SOLT serves. I wanted to do mission work after graduating from University and after meeting a priest on a pilgrimage and him recommending that I go to Belize I felt it was a good choice.

How did God call you: I was at a youth retreat (Youth2000) and there was a priest speaking at the end of the retreat. I don't remember what he said or who it was but I just felt I was being called to the priesthood at that moment. It took several years after this for me to really decide to pursue this path. 

Favorite part of mission life: My favorite part of mission life is being able to serve those in need and also being with others that desire to follow Christ. 

Br. Javier, SOLT

1st Theology


Hometown: Corpus Christi, Texas

University: Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Major: Kinesiology 

First Promises: July 15th, 2015

Year in Seminary: 1st Theology

Where do you study: 

Seminarian at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan

How did you find out about SOLT: I met several SOLT Priests while I was in college. I met Fr. Dan Estes at the Cardinal Newman Center at my University. I later met two other SOLT priests who were "filling in" at other parishes that I frequently attended. 

How did God call you: God's call for me came through two main channels. The first is what i would call the "seed of desire". I had just watched a video on "A day in the Life of a Catholic Priest," and after watching it, I could not stop thinking about becoming a priest. The movie itself was not that great, and I didn't think too highly about it, but God used that to stir deep within me a call that I couldn't quite get to stop ringing in my head. I tell people that it's like watching a really good film and not being able to stop pondering it in your head, except this was more profound and lasted much longer. At the same time, leading up to that point, God also used a very holy, zealous, and dynamic priest to fan the flames of my call. 

Favorite part of mission life: My favorite part about mission life is making making new friends. In my last few years in SOLT, I have met the most amazing human beings from all over the country and from all over the world. Both the people we serve and the people we work with are a joy greater than any other finite thing in this world. 

Summer Assignments

Each summer brothers in formation are assigned to various SOLT missions in order to deepen their lived experience of the charism, spirituality and communal life of SOLT and to broaden their exposure to the community’s apostolates. These times also increase fraternity as well as giving opportunity for development of various apostolic skills and experiences. Emphasis is put on at least one of the summer assignments in the study of Spanish.

Each summer brothers in formation are given a home visit that lasts between 2-3 weeks.

Fr. Mark Wendling, SOLT

Priests & Brothers Vocations



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