New program launched in diocese

Sts. Benedict and Scholastica program combines faith formation and vocation discernment with academic path

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon is partnering with St. Thomas More College to provide faith formation and discernment to university students pursuing an academic path to vocations or service in the Church.

The Sts. Benedict and Scholastica Formation Program is designed for candidates who are pursuing “an academic and vocational pathway” that seeks ordained ministry, religious life, or professional lay ecclesial ministry.

Candidates will live in community and study while discerning their life’s vocation, obtaining spiritual formation while they obtain a degree.

Learn more about the program: LINK

Sr. Malou Tibayan of the Verbum Dei Missionary Community is one of the program’s coordinators.  (Photo submitted).

Sr. Malou Tibayan is coordinating the diocesan side of the program, along with another soon-to-arrive member of the Verbum Dei Missionary Community, Sr. Claudia Vázquez Díaz, with input and planning also provided by Sr. Marta Piano of Verbum Dei, and Fr. Matthew Ramsay, pastor at St. Anne Parish in Saskatoon.

Plans call for the Sts. Benedict and Scholastica Formation Program to eventually include a live-in residence for both men and women, beginning this year with establishment of the men’s residence, located on Temperance Avenue, near the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, says Bishop Mark Hagemoen.

“This diocesan program of human and spiritual formation has been created specifically for men and women who are tracking to a philosophy program in their university studies, with a view to theology,” he explains. “They may be men who are discerning priesthood, or they may be women or men discerning religious life or professional leadership roles in the Church.”

Saskatoon is an ideal place for such a combined program, given the diocese’s relationship with St. Thomas More College, the federated Catholic College at the University of Saskatchewan, notes Hagemoen.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen holds up a summary of the three-year Pastoral Plan, part of the inspiration for the new Sts. Benedict and Scholastica Faith Formation Program. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

“Thanks to St. Thomas More College’s academic programs – including philosophy and Catholic studies — those who participate in the Sts. Benedict and Scholastica program earn a recognized degree. At the same time, they will receive faith formation, human formation, and spiritual direction, as well as an experience of community, focused on prayer, missionary discipleship and Christian holiness.”

Launching the program last year, Bishop Hagemoen connected it to the diocesan Pastoral Plan. “One of the ways in which we Proclaim Christ is in assisting young adults to discern their God-given vocations,” he said.

“The Verbum Dei Missionaries have joined our diocese, and their work among us will focus on faith formation and spiritual accompaniment,” he said.

“The Verbum Dei sisters are theologians, philosophers and educators, and they will play a key role in the partnership we are undertaking with STM for young men and women who have discerned a vocational pathway to the priesthood, religious life, or professional ministry in the Church.”

Sr. Malou Tibayan says there is much to explore and to do in launching the program this fall. “I think the Holy Spirit is moving us through.”

It is a blessing to be part of the program, she adds. “I feel my own vocation is a gift, and that is one thing that I would like to share with people who are being called by God. I want to share the gift I have been given with them.”

The need for accompaniment for those discerning their vocations is critical, Sr. Tibayan adds. “What happens to someone who feels they have a call from God, but have no one to accompany them, to journey with them as they discern that call?”

Thus, the Sts. Benedict and Scholastica program is designed to “ provide a space where they can really discern properly in a program of formation and accompaniment,” she says.


The deadline to apply for the fall is July 23, 2021. Contact Sr. Malou Tibayan at the Catholic Pastoral Centre: for more information or learn more on the diocesan website at: download a PDF description of the program here: PDF

Video about the program, created by participant Jerome Montpetit:

(Includes footage of the new house where participant will live in community)

Brochure for program (Updated in February 2022): PDF