Cavine Okello is one of the six young men currently living at the Glenmary House of Formation in St. Meinrad, Indiana preparing to become Glenmary missioners. Five of them are taking classes at nearby St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology to prepare for priesthood, while the sixth is studying in Vincennes University as part of his process to become a Glenmary brother.
“What I like the most is the fact that we are living as a community (at the House of Formation),” Cavine says. “We interact here as brothers. We feel like we are in a family the way I can be at home. I can go to the kitchen, I can visit someone in his room, we can talk away from the official issues of many classes at the seminary and the formal routine of the seminary.”
This sense of community is important for the future lives of these men as Glenmarians. It is particularly important considering that all six left their families back in their native Kenya to serve in the rural United States.
Currently living at the House of Formation are: Cyrus Samba (31); Erick Orandi (32); Fedinard Aliet (30); Fredrick Ochieng (35); Joseph Maundu (35); Cavine (30), and the director, Glenmary Father Bruce Brylinski.
Men in formation live there during their prenovitiate year, Father Bruce explained. Then, they leave for a year of novitiate, a year divided between Cincinnati and one of the Glenmary missions. After that, they return to St. Meinrad to pursue their Master’s of Divinity—a requirement to become a priest in the U.S.—or another career if they are candidates for brotherhood.
In addition to their classes at the seminary or at university, students also follow a Glenmary-specific formation program within the House of Formation. “We’re centered on morning and evening prayer (every day),” said Father Bruce. “And then, on Monday nights, which is Glenmary night, we study something about missiology or about the papacy, so right now we’re doing the papal encyclical Laudato Si.’” Moreover, each student has one-on-one weekly meetings with Father Bruce to process how their abilities and spiritual qualities can best serve in Glenmary.
The young men also prepare a meal each week for the seven in the house, and dedicate part of their Saturday to cleaning the chapel, the dining hall and the rest of the facilities.
Formation also includes fun, of course. “When we can, we like to go bowling or to play games,” Father Bruce says. “Even though it’s something new, they catch on very quickly. Another game they like to play in the warm weather is cornhole. They have a lot of energy for cornhole!”