Mission, Core Values & History


Preparing evangelizing disciples through specialized formation to conform our world to the Heart of Christ


Core Values

Faithfulness in Love of the Church: We conform ourselves to Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh and revelation of our Triune God, who is Love. Christ’s love animates our fidelity to His Church and its Magisterium. We ground ourselves in Scripture and Tradition, especially the spiritual tradition of the Priests of the Sacred Heart and their founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon.

Authenticity in Hospitality: We welcome all as Christ with the Way of charity, the Truth of integrity, and the Life of friendship. We live Our Lady’s fiat in the Dehonian charism of Ecce Ancilla, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord” (Luke 1:38).

Collaboration in Community: We foster unity and collegiality through shared worship, attentive conversation, and integrated goals. We live the Eucharist in the Dehonian charism of Sint Unum, “That they may all be one” (John 17:21).

Excellence in Innovation: We create as we think with the Church. We instill discovery in our intellectual programs, discernment and growth in our spiritual and human formation, and distinction in our pastoral vision. We live the Lord’s Prayer in the Dehonian charism of Adveniat Regnum Tuum, “Your Kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10).

Service in Pastoral Care: We exist to serve our neighbor through the Heart of Christ. We form servant leaders who herald God’s mercy, encounter the forgotten, and heal wounds of division. We live social justice in the Dehonian charism of Ecce Venio, “Behold I come to do your will” (Hebrews 10:7).



With approximately 170 students, Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology provides specialized formation for a universal Church.


Sacred Heart provides tailored programs to meet the varying needs of our seminarians and sponsors, with programs that range from Certificate in Priestly Ministry to Master of Divinity, English & Culture Studies, Hispanic Ministry Preparation, and placements customized for the future ministerial needs of seminarians. Sacred Heart offers a rich, rewarding, and exemplary formation experience, while rigorously following the Program of Priestly Formation, 6th Edition. Approximately 30 bishops and religious superiors entrust their seminarians to Sacred Heart.


Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology is an apostolate of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, an international religious community which has its United States headquarters in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee.


The seminary began because Venerable Leo John Dehon, a French priest and the founder of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, valued education, had a passion for the priesthood, and was committed to social justice. Between 1910, when Fr. Dehon first visited the United States, and 1932 a dedicated band of men filled with vision and courage laid the foundation for the Sacred Heart School of Theology. The seminary program was established at Sacred Heart Monastery in 1932 with the introduction of philosophy and theology courses for the seminarians who were members of the religious community. In 1955, the philosophy program was moved elsewhere, and the seminary was dedicated exclusively to the theological preparation of men for the priesthood.


Construction of our current seminary building was completed in 1968. In 1972 the name of the school was changed to Sacred Heart School of Theology. This signified the beginning of a change in the character of the school. Prior to 1970, the school exclusively served as the theological seminary for the Priests of the Sacred Heart. That year the seminary began accepting second-career candidates for the priesthood from other religious communities. The program was called the Center for Adult Religious Vocations (CARV). In 1973, Sacred Heart received approval to accept second-career candidates sponsored by dioceses throughout the country.


Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology has been an Associate Member of the American Association of Theological Schools since 1972, with full accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation (COA) of The Association of Theological Schools since 1981. In 1995, the Higher Learning Commission: a commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredited the program and renewed that accreditation in 1999.


In 2014 the seminary’s name was expanded to Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, to reflect the fact that the institution provides all four pillars of priestly formation to resident seminarians (making it a seminary) and also serves as a school of theology for a group of seminarians who receive their human, spiritual, and/or pastoral formation in their own houses for formation in the Milwaukee area — receiving only their academic formation at Sacred Heart. Our school of theology also serves clergy and lay people through our Master of Arts and English & Culture Studies Programs.


Sacred Heart awards Master of Divinity and Master of Arts degrees, as well as a Certificate in Priestly Formation. We offer pre-theology, propaedeutic year options, English and culture studies, accent modification, Hispanic Ministry Preparation and more. We also have a cohort-based M.A. for laity that includes spiritual formation. The seminary is advised by a board of directors that includes bishops, religious and diocesan priests, women religious, and laity. Its faculty is diverse and includes priests from a variety of dioceses, archdioceses, and religious communities, as well as women religious and laity.


In 2021, Sacred Heart completed award winning renovations that included gathering spaces, state of the art classrooms, conference areas, seminarian living spaces with private bathrooms, and recreation rooms. The seminary has three chapels, a library, dining room, fitness area and gym.  It is located on a partially wooded 80-acre campus in a western part of the Milwaukee metropolitan area, 15 minutes from the Milwaukee General Mitchell Airport and 75 minutes from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport..


Sacred Heart saw expansion in the year 2023 in its academic department after welcoming seven new full-time faculty members to the Scripture, Philosophy, Library, and Formation departments. Sacred Heart served 30 sponsors including all 5 Wisconsin dioceses, 20 dioceses across the US and Canada, and 4 religious orders. The implementation of the PPF6 is well under way. Over 10 seminarians entered the Propaedeutic Program. The ECS program has gained more international recognition and has welcomed 40 students from 20 different countries.