Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary

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In this fresh air where work and prayer comingle with water and woods, mind and spirit grow together stronger, broader, deeper, closer.

Listen and attend with the ear of your heart.

– Saint Benedict

Welcome to one of the most respected graduate theology programs in North America, offered in one of the most inspiring, contemplative locations on earth.

There is no other place like it. We are here to inspire God’s people to seek truth, pursue wisdom and serve others together. We invite you to join us in discerning, growing, learning and praying.

Graduate theology at Saint John’s is spiritual, vocational, and transformative – a commitment to the sacredness of each person. It prepares students professionally and intellectually for the important work they will do in the world, but it also emphasizes who each is called to be – a disciple, an ordained or lay minister, a teacher or scholar – as they seek truth and pursue wisdom together en route to becoming a leaven of hope and compassion for the world.

Scripture, spirituality, and liturgy have an integral role in shaping student experience at Saint John’s. In addition to having access to exceptional teachers and scholars, students are formed in a place that integrates academic studies with the Catholic Benedictine daily rhythms of prayer and work. Surrounded by lakes and woods, they are immersed in one of the most inspiring contemplative environments one can imagine.


The value of Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary is not measured in the degrees conferred upon our graduates, but in the degree of difference our alumni confer upon the lives of others.

Brian Robinettee Assoc. Professor of Theology Boston College

“While working on my MA in Theology at Saint John’s, I found great value in the monastic milieu, the community of students, and the overall liturgical/contemplative sensibility of the program.”

Brian Robinette enjoys paying forward the graduate education he received at Saint John’s by teaching and mentoring students in his work as an Associate Professor of Theology. He reminds graduate students to read as widely as possible but remain close to the deepest source of their desire to study theology. “Though graduate school can be intimidating, do not be discouraged by the feeling that everyone else knows more than you. Even if that were true, which it isn’t, it is genuinely liberating to sense that you are always a beginner.”

“I find my work enriching. It very specifically situates itself within a context of my personal ethos. I am doing something that I fully believe in and I feel deeply called by God to do this work.”

Genevieve Mougey Sr. Nat’l Assoc. for Roman Catholic Engagement Bread for the World

Genevieve Mougey works on the forefront of Bread for the World, an ecumenical advocacy organization working to end world hunger by 2030. She engages Catholic national organizations to ensure they know about Bread for the World’s work and mission, and to emphasize how that effort fits solidly with the moral and social teaching of the Church. While working on her Master of Divinity at Saint John’s, Genevieve found the time dedicated to formation to be one of the most helpful aspects of her education and professional development. Her advice to students: “Do it. Be willing to be challenged. Speak your mind. Study hard. Engage fully in class and out of class. Be present. Go to everything.”

Saint John’s Abbey

Located on the beautiful and inspiring Collegeville campus, Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary is nested

As one of the largest monasteries in North America, the Benedictine Monks at Saint John’s Abbey have been cultivating a culture of prayer, study and work on these grounds since 1856. You’ll find them teaching graduate courses, tending gardens, celebrating liturgy, working in the woodshop, and integrating Benedictine values into every facet of life in Collegeville.

among an unexpected constellation of leading intellectual and spiritual resources.

Alcuin Library The main library on campus, Alcuin is home to one of the largest collections of theology books in the United States, with over 338,547 volumes. The library was completely renovated and expanded in 2017, and features advanced research technologies and environments.

Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML)

College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University

Theology, history, and linguistic scholars from across the world visit Collegeville to study at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library. Featured on 60 Minutes, NPR, BBC, The Atlantic, Harvard Magazine and many other prestigious publications, HMML holds the world’s largest collection of resources for the study of manuscript cultures across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Since 1965, HMML has ensured ancient manuscripts threatened by war, disasters, looting and neglect are preserved and accessible for future generations. This includes over 250,000 hand-written texts.

With over 3,600 students and over 350 faculty members, our highly ranked undergraduate college has a respected reputation for academic rigor and brings a vibrant culture of arts, athletics and dynamic energy to the community.

Liturgical Press Internationally known as a leading Catholic and ecumencial publisher in prayer and spirituality, scripture, liturgy, theology and monastic life, Liturgical Press is a publishing house founded in 1926 by Saint John’s Abbey.

Saint John’s Bible In 1998, Saint John’s Abbey and University commissioned renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson to produce the first hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible since the invention of the printing press over 500 years ago. This spiritual and artisitic masterpiece was completed in 2011 and was heralded by Pope Benedict XVI as “a great work of art...a work for eternity.” It has been displayed and featured in the Library of Congress, the Vatican, and countless other prominent museums and venues. Twenty-eight original folios are on permanent display on the Saint John’s University campus.

Saint John’s Arboretum With 2,700 acres of varied terrain, the Saint John’s Arboretum inspires spiritual and artistic reflection and fosters the Benedictine traditions of land stewardship, education and environmental respect. It is remarkable in its natural beauty and includes wetlands, several lakes, an oak savanna, a restored prairie, and hiking trails that wind through an extensive pine and hardwood forest.

The Saint John’s Pottery The Saint John’s Pottery is an embodiment of Benedictine values such as community, hospitality and self-sufficiency. It gives tangibility to the linkage between work and worship as it celebrates diverse cultures. Featuring Artist-in-Residence Richard Bresnahan, The Saint John’s Pottery engages apprentices, visiting artists and students in the work of creation, discipline and research.

Benedictine Values As a Way of Life Awareness of God

Glorify God In All Things

Taking Counsel

Respect for Persons

Dignity of Work


Common Good

Graduate studies at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary are immersed in Benedictine values, a life perspective that has integrated mind, heart and spirit for over 1,500 years. These timeless principles are embedded in the stones which form our footpath, the mortar that holds our bricks, and the waves that lap our shore.

Community Living



Truthful Living



“What is more delightful than the voice of the Lord calling to us?”

– Saint Benedict

“Some seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge: that is curiosity. Others seek knowledge that they may themselves be known: that is vanity. But there are still others who seek knowledge in order to serve and edify others, and that is charity.” – Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

“Some seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge: that is curiosity. Others seek knowledge that they may themselves be known: that is vanity. But there are still others who seek knowledge in order to serve and edify others, and that is charity.” – St. Bernard of Clairvaux

A Center of Academic Rigor

Seek Knowledge, Pursue Wisdom

Respected. Revered. Rigorous. Graduate students in Saint John’s University School of Theology and Seminary study under some of academia’s foremost theologians, earning advanced degrees that are highly regarded worldwide. Indeed, scholars from across the globe visit Collegeville to conduct research in the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library and study in Alcuin Library, home to one of the largest collections of theological books in the United States. Having been educated in this rich and inspired context, Saint John’s graduates go on to become professors, priests, lay ministers, chaplains, deacons, spiritual directors, and servants of Christ’s mission in many other ways.

An inspiring, contemplative environment

Breathe in the Divine Presence

Saint John’s University is appropriately located amidst 2,700 acres of woods and lakes, where tall pines brush against the heavens and the loon calls us to prayer from across the water. Fifteen miles of hiking trails give grounding to the spiritual pilgrim, while the sparkling silence of the night sky inspires the soul’s leap into God.

“We need to find God, and He cannot be found in the noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Saint Theresa of Calcutta

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” – Dorothy Day

The Blessing of Community

Share Love and Support

Within the Benedictine understanding, we become who we are in relationship with others. This is how we discover our own Christ-like nature and that of one another, where we encounter authenticity, unconditional love, mercy and forgiveness. In the Graduate School of Theology and Seminary at Saint John’s University, community is so much more than the coincidence of shared space and common purpose, it is a dynamic experience of the body of Christ.

With all our hearts, minds and souls, we love our students. We believe in them. But it’s not about them. It’s about the people they become and, most importantly, the lives they will touch.

Rachelle Kramer Ecumenical Doctor of Ministry Candidate Catholic Theological Union

“The serene setting of the lake, the natural beauty of the woods, the Benedictine community, the diverse mix of lay and ordained students of all ages from all over the world in class together.... add the outstanding faculty to the mix, and you have a theological and holistic education like no other.”

After completing a Master of Arts in Theology at Saint John’s, Rachelle Kramer served as the Assistant Director for Liturgy and Music in the Center for Faith and Justice at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She found this work to be very enriching as it fulfilled and integrated her desire to bring strength, healing, and the joy of the gospel to God’s people. Currently, Rachelle is pursuing an Ecumenical Doctor of Ministry degree.

“I love the variety of ministry I am doing. I’m frequently invited into the lives and experiences of a huge array of people, I work closely with other ministers, I get to preach for students, monks, sisters and parishioners. And on top of it, I get to drive a fire truck.”

Fr. Nick Kleespie Chaplain, Assistant Pastor, Fire Monk Saint John’s Abbey

Fr. Nick Kleespie earned a Master of Arts of Divinty at Saint John’s en route to the priesthood. He particularly valued the unique opportunity to study, work and learn alongside both monastic seminarians and the lay leaders with whom he would minister in the future. This diversity of ideas and approaches, according to Fr. Nick, expanded his understanding of theology. As a chaplain for Saint John’s University, Fr. Nick is often advising students to listen closely to where God might be nudging them. Everyone’s gifts are needed, he tells students. Be open to the reality that those gifts might be enhanced with a graduate degree in theology.

Learning, Loving, Leading as One

Bring All God’s People Together

The learning culture in the Graduate School of Theology and Seminary at Saint John’s University looks very much like the rich ecosystem surrounding it. In an educational context reflective of the diverse world in which graduates will minister, men and women, lay and ordained, young and experienced, American and international, Catholic and Protestant, all journey forward together. This dynamic opens up broader and deeper understanding, which prepares students for the diverse vineyard in which they will encounter the many faces of Christ.

A graduate education rooted in the contemplative space of Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary has a way of branching beyond our imagination and affecting people worldwide.

Toshihiro (Toppo) Takamuura (with fellow SJU SOT/Sem alumnus Maho Morishita)

Pastor/PhD Candidate Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church, Tokyo

“I found many things during my time at Saint John’s valuable, but the most valuable was its ecumenical commitment. As a Lutheran, I felt warmly received and welcomed by the whole community. I did spiritual direction with a monk that has been such an important experience and is really my treasure.” While working on a Master of Arts in Theology at Saint John’s, Rev. Toshihiro Takamuura found the presence of the monastic community to have a significant influence. Compared to other education institutions he has experienced, Saint John’s uniquely offered a true sense of stability and an experience of warm “at-homeness,” which he attributes to the monastic community.

“The community in the Graduate School of Theology at Saint John’s is open-minded and attentive, where ideas can be shared in the pursuit of greater understanding and purpose. I really valued the conversations in class, or at table, about so many theological concepts and their application to our world.”

Sebastian Gomes Producer/Director/Host Salt and Light Catholic Media, Toronto

Sebastian Gomes applies his Master of Arts in Theology from Saint John’s in his work with Salt and Light Catholic Media, a multi-platformed media company specializing in educational and devotional programming with a helpful message. He hosts a book review show called Subject Matters and is the writer, producer and director of the documentary The Francis Impact. In his work, which he describes as “making complex theological ideas understandable through storytelling and commentary,” Sebastian has discovered an artistic talent he never knew he had. He reminds students to courageously move forward in faith even if they are unsure of where the path might lead. “I never thought I would be doing production work at a media company! But the experience I was equipped with at Saint John’s prepared me to apply my education in the world of Catholic media.”

Reaching Out to Humanity

From Many Parts, One Body

The impact of the Saint John’s Effect spreads across the world like the breath of wind. From major global cities to rural mountain villages, our students and graduates are nudging humanity ever closer to the Kingdom of God. They bring food to the hungry, welcome to the stranger, comfort to the suffering, and hope to the hopeless, affirming the sacred value and dignity of all people everywhere.

Australia Bahamas Brazil Canada China Columbia France Germany Ghana Guatemala India Indonesia Iceland Italy Japan Kenya Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Nigeria Peru Philippines Virgin Islands South Korea Sri Lanka Taiwan Tanzania Uganda United Kingdom United States Vietnam

We would love to welcome you to Saint John’s Graduate School of Theology and Seminary to watch a sunrise over Stella Maris Chapel from across the lake to begin a day with the rhythmic morning prayer of the Benedictine community to visit classrooms, converse with faculty, and commune with students to contemplate the gift of presence during an afternoon walk through our woods to lose yourself in our library and find yourself under the silence of our starlit sky.

When you leave, we invite you to take Saint John’s with you into the world to carry us in your mind, hold us in your heart, and feel us stirring in your soul to be a beacon of peace and a voice of hope for all you encounter to share the gifts of knowledge and wisdom in ways that open the mystery of God to bring Christ’s compassion to the far flung corners of the earth to bring a voice of comfort, challenge and inspiration to all humanity. 2850 Abbey Plaza Collegeville, MN 56321

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