Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College - Cardinal Newman Society

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College

Year Founded 2000
Number of Traditional Undergraduates 136
Location Barry's Bay, Ontario
Total Cost (Tuition, Room & Board) $10,600 US (as of June 1, 2018, $13,740 Canadian)
Net Price (learn more) $10,600 US (as of June 1, 2018, $13,740 Canadian)
Number of Majors 1, with 5 concentrations
Catholic Students 100%
Catholic Faculty 100%
Median High School GPA

See the Q&A for more detailed information!

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College (SWC) is faithfully Catholic, offers a strong liberal arts curriculum, and is surprisingly affordable for American students.  It grew out of a dream of homeschooling families for faithful and affordable Catholic higher education in Ontario.

On May 1, 2017, the Ontario Government awarded Seat of Wisdom the full right to grant a three-year Bachelor of Catholic Studies degree.  The degree is recognized as a true bachelor’s degree, but in some cases, students may need extra courses for entry into a graduate program.

Christendom College will accept SWC graduates into their graduate programs, as does Franciscan University of Steubenville, although prerequisite courses may be required.

In the coming years, Seat of Wisdom also plans to add a four-year Honours degree, which requires more credits than a traditional undergraduate degree in the United States.  Students who earn a four-year Honours degree can typically earn their Master’s degree in one additional year (rather than two).

Seat of Wisdom College will continue to offer students the option to earn a Basic Certificate after one year of study, and an Associate Certificate after two years. At the end of three years, students now have the option to be awarded a general Certificate in Christian Humanities or a Certificate in Christian Humanities with a concentration in philosophy, theology, history,  literature, or Classical and Early Christian Studies, or to be awarded the new Bachelor of Catholic Studies degree.

It is an exciting time at Seat of Wisdom with the addition of its new three-year degree.  Seat of Wisdom expects to continue increasing its enrollment numbers, build a new residence to house 60 students, and expand campus facilities in the next few years.

Currently, the College has five academic and administrative buildings, located immediately adjacent to St. Hedwig’s Parish, which overlooks a scenic lake. It also uses parish space for dining and for an extra classroom.

The enrollment for 2017-2018 is 136. More than one-third of the students have been homeschooled and about 15 percent are American.  Students live together in small households in three purpose-built residences and in other leased residences in the local community.

13-member board of directors governs SWC, assisted by an academic senate. The episcopal advisory board includes Thomas Cardinal Collins of Toronto, Archbishop J. Michael Miller, C.S.B., of Vancouver, and Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., of Ottawa. Dr. Keith Cassidy, the president, is an historian who has taught at several Canadian universities and has written on several aspects of American history, most notably about the pro-life movement.

 The very low cost is appealing. Tuition, room and board, and student activities fee in 2017-2018 cost students C$13,740, or about $10,600 USD.  That can be further reduced by scholarships, “bursaries” (grants), and work-study opportunities.

In the first year, students take courses in Christian doctrine, Scripture, Western civilization, philosophy, essay writing, Classical literature, Latin and chorus. Upper-year students take a combination of electives and additional foundational courses, including Ethics, Survey of Literature, Shapers of Modern Thought, Introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas, Introduction to Fine Arts, and Magisterial Thought, as well as introductions to lab sciences and mathematics.

Students may concentrate in any of five areas: Classical and Early Christian Studies, literature, history, philosophy, and theology.

Catholic novelist and artist Michael D. O’Brien and his wife Sheila helped found Our Lady Seat of Wisdom. O’Brien serves as its artist- and writer-in-residence.

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College has had its credits accepted by Christendom College, the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ave Maria University, Northeast Catholic College, Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, and Campion College in Australia. Credits from Seat of Wisdom have also been accepted by colleges not in The Newman Guide, including Holy Cross College in Indiana, Redeemer University College in Hamilton, Ontario, and Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto. The latter two are nondenominational Christian colleges.

All full-time and part-time faculty members are faithful Catholics.

Students are spiritually active at the vibrant St. Hedwig Parish, which is adjacent to campus, and in prayer on campus. Students are given opportunities to attend daily Mass at the parish. Some young men serve at the altar, while other students serve as readers and choir members. Many participate in Eucharistic Adoration and make use of the church for personal prayer time 

Besides daily Mass, a weekly formal College Mass is celebrated by Seat of Wisdom’s chaplains, with music provided by the college choir. There are two Sunday Masses, one Saturday Vigil Mass, and Mass in the Extraordinary Form is provided at least once a month. Confession is available weekly at St. Hedwig’s and on campus.

Another Catholic parish is nearby, offering additional daily and Sunday Mass times, Confession, and a place to worship.  

Students are invited to join in a daily Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy. An annual Consecration to Jesus through Mary is made every fall. There are men’s and women’s retreats each year, two pilgrimages, a Christian formation speaker series, and an annual Day of Recollection held early in the fall for the entire college community. There is student-led praise and worship on Sunday evenings and students are encouraged to foster their own spiritual practices individually and in groups.

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom’s chaplain is Fr. Zachary Romanowsky, a member of the nearby Madonna House Apostolate, who is assisted by Fr. Joseph Hattie, O.M.I. Students have the opportunity to meet with these priests throughout the week for spiritual direction, counseling and confession.

On-campus students live in single-sex residence houses. Each house has six to 15 students along with one residence assistant and a proctor, who are upper-class students.  Meals through the meal-plan are provided at St. Hedwig’s parish hall.

The households are an important part of the Student Life program. To build household community, the houses have monthly house nights and regular prayer time interwoven into their daily lives.

Chastity is fostered, and there are clear guidelines regarding times for opposite-sex visitations in the houses. Intervisitation in the bedrooms is always forbidden. “Modest” dress is always expected on campus, and a professional dress code applies for classes.

All students are assigned regular chores for three to four hours a week. These include helping with the dinner dishes, sweeping the floors, and cleaning classrooms and common areas.

St. Francis Memorial Hospital is located in the town. There are no significant airports nearby; Americans are likely to use Ottawa International Airport, a two and one-half-hour drive away, or Toronto Pearson International Airport, which is four hours away. Route 17, known as the Trans-Canada Highway, is an hour’s drive from the town.

Campus clubs include the Don Bosco Drama Club, the Frassati Outdoors Club, the Dance Club (swing), the Film-Making club, the Praise and Worship Club, the Movie Club, the Campus Conservative Club, the St. John Paul II Art Club, the St. Brigid’s Irish Dance Troupe and Band, and the Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu Pro-Life Club, named in memory of two former students who passed away. There is also an SWC Knights of Columbus Round Table.

Every year a large number of musically talented students come to campus. There are frequent informal musical events, as well as organized activities such as Schola, which includes members of the wider community.

Students elect a Student Activities Council every year to plan social events such as the Winter Formal and other dances, movie nights, coffee houses and field trips.  New organizations form each year based on interest, and many informal social activities are student-initiated.

Each household hosts a house-party usually on or around the patron of the household’s feast day. The whole College community is invited to join in these celebrations.

A few times a week there are spontaneous sporting activities. Every week there is a regular sports night at a local gym (which includes soccer, volleyball, basketball, badminton, and weight lifting), followed by a student-run hockey game at the local arena. As part of their student activity fee, students have access to the Madawaska Valley Fitness Centre which features work-out equipment, and offers drop-in activities running throughout the week.

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College is an affordable yet high-quality option for faithful Catholics. This small institution, committed to its motto of Veritas vos Liberabit (“The Truth will set you free”), provides a wonderful curriculum at a low cost. 

Seat of Wisdom’s new three-year bachelor’s degree is sure to propel the college forward toward its goal of having as many as 200 students. All that this college provides, including offering students the opportunity to grow in their faith, is enhanced by the beauty of studying in scenic rural Ontario. It’s an option worth serious consideration.


Questions & Answers

Answers from the college on the most important questions. Click a topic below to read more.

Is your institution accredited by at least one regional or national education association?

In May 2017, SWC received official consent from the Province of Ontario to grant a three-year bachelor’s degree (Bachelor of Catholic Studies). [Note: Canada doesn’t have accrediting associations, but instead has degree-granting status granted by the province, with periodic reviews conducted by a provincial body which is analogous to the reviews done by the accrediting bodies in the U.S.]

Please cite evidence of student or alumni accomplishment, such as graduation rate, graduate school placement, job placement, awards, etc.

Graduates have gone on to do undergraduate degrees at universities and colleges in Canada, the United States and Australia. Many of those have gone on to do graduate work at universities such as Oxford, Notre Dame, CUA, UBC, McMaster, UNB, Waterloo, Ottawa and Dalhousie.  Graduates have compiled an impressive record of achievement at other institutions: two have been awarded the Governor General’s Silver Medal for the highest graduating average at Redeemer University College, two have received the Gold Medal for Philosophy at Tyndale University College, and one has received the Lieutenant-Governor’s Silver Medal  as the top Law student in his class at UNB Law School. One alumna received full-funding to pursue a Master of Divinity at the University of Notre Dame, another to pursue a Ph.D. at the Catholic University of America, and another to pursue a Ph.D. in Literature at the University of Waterloo. 

Are more than half of the current members of your faculty practicing Catholics?


Approximately what percentage of your current faculty members are practicing Catholics?


Are members of your faculty officially informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the institution?


Are members of your teaching faculty expected, as a condition of employment, to respect Catholic teaching and comply with Catholic morality in their public actions and statements both on and off campus?


Please identify key undergraduate faculty who are noted experts in their field, have produced important publications, have leadership roles in academic associations, etc. and briefly describe such accomplishments (optional):

Our Artist and Writer in Residence is Michael D. O’Brien, a noted Catholic novelist, cultural critic and artist,who has had 28 books published, with translations into 14 languages. O’Brien’s articles have appeared in major periodicals such as CommunioCatholic World ReportThe Chesterton ReviewInside the Vatican and many others. He has received various awards including the 2017 Phoenix Award in Literature, bestowed by the Association of Catholic Publishers in Warsaw, Poland. Dr. Richard Shaw was awarded the 2014 Eusebius Essay Prizeby the Journal of Ecclesiastical History. His book The Gregorian Mission to Kent in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History: Methodology and Sourcesis being published by Routledge in 2018. Dr. Jordan Olver has had articles recently published in The Thomistand the Review of MetaphysicsOur Director of Counselling and Learning Support Services, Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy, is  a psychologist and co-author of Women’s Health After Abortion, a leading study of the damaging effects of abortion and the author of many articles on this topic.  Dr. David Beresford is the author of numerous scientific articles on entomology, and is also a prolific writer on Chesterton and related topics. Professor John Paul Meenan is the editor of Catholic Insight Magazine and has had articles published in Crisis Magazine andCatholic World Report. Dr. Keith Cassidy has written extensively on the pro-life movement and was one of the founders of the Catholic Civil Rights League in Canada. Dr. Christine Schintgen has given presentations on the body in Victorian Literature, with an emphasis on the writings of Charles Dickens. All faculty are members of the FCS. 

Does the institution have a department of Catholic theology, distinct from “religious studies” and other disciplines?


Are courses in Catholic theology clearly identified and distinguished from other courses dealing with religion?


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines have a mandatum according to the procedures established by the local bishop or other competent ecclesiastical authority?

Each of our professors has requested the mandatum, but our bishop is clarifying the procedure for obtaining the mandatum. All professors take an Oath of Fidelity in its stead.

Do all faculty in the theological disciplines make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Does your institution require that all theology courses be taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium, and also to the principles and methods proper to Catholic theology?


Please identify the theology courses that are included in the undergraduate core or distribution requirements and the professors who routinely teach those courses:

THE 100: Christian Doctrine (J. Meenan); THE 110: Introduction to Biblical Literature (S. Nicholson); THE 245: Magisterial Thought (J. Meenan); THE 273: Fundamentals of Moral Theology or THE 373 Spiritual Theology or THE 212: Survey of Scripture (S. Nicholson)

Please describe the place of Catholic theology in your institution’s undergraduate curriculum and how it is distinct from other institutions.

Theology at Seat of Wisdom imparts a solid foundation in Catholic theology while equipping students to further study the faith over the course of their lives.  The first year curriculum includes Christian Doctrine, a mandatory full-year course that covers the Catechism of the Catholic Church in its entirety in the light of Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica and the teaching of the Magisterium, as well as a one-semester course on Sacred Scripture which emphasizes Magisterial teaching on Scripture as well as the Catholic tradition of Scripture scholarship.  Further courses in the upper years of the program immerse students in the Church’s traditional teaching through the reading of Patristric and Magisterial documents and pronouncements on key issues of the day, and provide an integration of philosophy and theology in the teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas, with further courses on Sacred Scripture. Together this curriculum offers not only an impressive foundation of theological knowledge, but the tools necessary to increase and augment this knowledge as needed after university.  For students wishing to acquire a broader theological formation while at SWC, a wide variety of elective courses in theology which build upon the foundational theology and philosophy courses are also available.

Please identify any course that every undergraduate student must take:

HIS 103: History of Western Civilization I

HIS 104: History of Western Civilization II

LIT 102: Essay Writing

LIT 141: Introduction to Classical Literature

LIT 201: Survey of Literature

MNS 225: Principles of Natural Science

PHI 100: Fundamentals of Philosophy

PHI 141: Logic

PHI 200: Ethics

PHI 272: Introduction to St. Thomas

PHI/THE 280: Shapers of Modern Thought

THE 100: Christian Doctrine

THE 110: Introduction to Biblical Literature

THE 245: Magisterial Thought

LAS 090: Chorus

LAS 091: Introduction to Fine Arts

CEC 120: Introductory Latin I  (May be waived if proficiency is demonstrated).

Please identity the courses that students may choose from in order to satisfy common curriculum distribution requirements:

Three additional credits in theology satisfied by either  THE 273: Moral Theology or THE 373: Spiritual Theology 

Three additional credits in history

Three credits in mathematics

Three credits in science with a lab

How many credits are required for graduation and what percent are from core / distribution courses?

Three-year Certificate: 92 credits (71% from core/distribution courses)

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more courses in which they are taught authentic Catholic doctrine and practice?


If yes, please describe them generally and note how many courses are required?

Christian Doctrine (THE 100) covers the teachings of the Church found in the Catechism explained in the light of the Church’s perennial theology, including practical application. In Intro to Biblical Literature (THE 110) students learn both how to read Scripture in the light of the Church’s interpretative authority and how to incorporate Scripture in their lives. Magisterial Thought (THE 245) teaches students how to read and understand a papal document intelligently, in the light of the Church’s Tradition. Intro to St. Thomas Aquinas (PHI 272) is intended to endow students with an appreciation for the contributions of St. Thomas to faith and the Western intellectual tradition. The theology distribution requirement builds on either students’ grasp of the interpretative issues raised in studying scripture in THE 212 Survey of Scripture or their understanding of development in the life of grace in Fundamentals of Moral Theology (THE 273) or Spiritual Theology (THE 373).

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more interdisciplinary courses relating theology or philosophy with other disciplines?


List the major, minor and special program areas that students may choose for specialization while pursuing an undergraduate degree:

Students may choose a concentration in Theology, Philosophy, Literature, History, or Classical and Early Christian Studies.


What are the three most popular majors or specialty disciplines for undergraduate students, and about what percentage of undergraduate students specialize in these disciplines?

Philosophy: 31% 

Theology: 23% 

Literature: 20% 

History: 20% 

Does each undergraduate degree program require Catholic ethical formation related to the student’s major field(s) of study?


Does your institution regularly provide academic events to address theological questions related to specialized disciplines?


If yes, please describe:

Our academic speaker series features guest speakers several times a semester. The speakers are renowned experts in their respective fields and they address issues that are topical and/or controversial in their areas.

Does your institution require cooperation among faculty in different disciplines in teaching, research and other academic activities?

Our curriculum is intended to be coherent, and courses build on knowledge gained in previous courses. As such professors cooperate by providing complementary components of an integrated course of studies.

Additional Programs of Study information, clarification or description:

In May 2017, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College received official consent from the Province of Ontario to grant a three-year bachelor’s degree (Bachelor of Catholic Studies). In the past 16 years, a good number of Catholic and Protestant degree-granting colleges have recognized our three-year Certificate for entrance into their four-year BA programs. 

Does the local bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) select or approve the appointment of your chaplain?


Does your institution offer Mass on campus at least on Sundays and other days of obligation?


On average, about what percentage of undergraduate students attend Sunday Mass (including the Saturday vigil Mass) during the academic year? 


Does your institution offer daily Mass to students?


On average, about how many undergraduate students attend daily Mass during the academic year?

Approximately 40%

Does your institution offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to students at least weekly?


Are all of the Masses celebrated on campus reverent and in accord with liturgical norms and directives?


Are the altar servers at your institution’s Masses male only or both male and female?

Male only

Please list the schedule of Masses, noting the following for each Mass: the day and time, the Form or Rite of the Mass, and the style of music, if any (chant, traditional, contemporary, etc.):

Sunday 8am and 11am, monthly 9:15am Extraordinary Form 

Monday 8am and 4:30pm 

Tuesday 8am 

Wednesday 8am and 4:30pm 

Thursday 8am 

Friday 8am 

Saturday 9am, 5pm (vigil) 

Does your institution offer Confession on campus at least weekly?

Yes; both chaplains are available during their regular office hours for Confession as well as two local parishes.

List the schedule for Confession by day and time:

Mo By appointment

Tu By appointment

Wed By appointment

Th By appointment

Fr By appointment

Sa 8:15 a.m. – 8:45 a.m., 4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Other: There is a chaplain in his office Monday – Friday available for Confession

Does your institution offer Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at least weekly?


List the schedule for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by day and time:

Mon – Thurs 9:00 a.m. -Tues 9:00 p.m.

First Friday 1:00 p.m. until 8:45 a.m. Saturday.

Please identify regularly scheduled devotions on campus for students such as the Rosary and prayer groups:

There is a daily community Rosary and a pro-life Rosary every Friday at noon; Divine Mercy Chaplet every day at 3 pm. Tuesday through Friday Lauds, Wednesday night compline, a weekly student Holy Hour, Praise and Worship every Sunday night, Friday evening Stations of the Cross during Lent. Every year, early in the first semester, there is a full Day of Recollection which is for all students. In the second semester, there are separate men’s and women’s retreats. A Consecration to Our Lady is made at the beginning of each academic year.

Does your institution offer retreat programs available to all Catholic students at least annually?


Are you aware of any graduates from your institution (not including seminary students, if any) who are ordained to the priesthood or have entered religious life? Please describe.

Yes. Four alumni are diocesan priests, one is a transitional deacon, two are brothers (Franciscan and Carmelite), and three are religious sisters.  

Additional Chaplaincy information, clarification or description (optional):

The Extraordinary Form of the Mass is presently offered once a month on a scheduled basis, and on an ad hoc basis depending on the availability of a celebrant. 

Please describe options for students to reside on and off campus:

All first- and second-year students must live in residence, unless given special exemption by the Student Life Committee. All third- and fourth-year students have the option of living on campus or finding housing in the community.

Does your institution offer only single-sex residence halls?


Your institution offers single-sex residence halls for (please put an “X” in front of any that apply):

X  All students
Any Student who wishes
No students
All freshmen (only if not “All students”)
Only freshmen

What percentage of students living on campus live in single-sex residence halls?


When are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit common areas of residence halls?

On Fridays and Saturdays, from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and on Sundays from Noon to 9:00 p.m.

Are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit students’ bedrooms? (Not including irregular (once or twice a semester), “open house” events.)


How does your institution foster sobriety and respond to substance abuse on campus, particularly in campus residences?

We seek to foster sobriety at our College by promoting a healthy respect for and enjoyment of alcohol. While our policy regarding alcohol does not allow for it to be stored on campus, students (of legal drinking age) are allowed to drink at events (special events on campus, or celebrations by a residence, club or society) where permission is granted by the Dean of Students. Despite the challenges posed by the extent of disorder in our society’s approach to alcohol, the College is determined to persevere in this area of moral life as with all others, promoting a positive ideal of moderation, sobriety, and non-dependency. Any and all abuses are dealt with by the Dean of Students with penalties and if necessary by dismissal.

How does your institution foster a student living environment that promotes and supports chastity, particularly in campus residences?

There is a culture of chastity on campus and in student residence life. In residences, we strive to live and promote the virtues with the assistance of our Student Life Team. We encourage healthy and chaste friendships, through our formative policies which are rooted in respect for the human person and their dignity. Our policies include modesty in dress and speech. 

Our households are separate for men and women, and there are specific times for intervisitation in common spaces. This allows for the building of community and the fostering of healthy friendships between the sexes. There is internet on campus, but not in the households. 

Does your institution have formal programs to foster Catholic prayer life and spirituality in campus residences?


If yes, please describe:

Households, through the encouragement of the Student Life Team (more specifically Resident Assistants and Proctors) take part in daily prayer – either the Rosary, the Divine Office, or general intercessory prayer. 

Additional Residence Life information, clarification or description (optional):

Each residence is named after a given saint and the members of the household are encouraged to foster a special relationship with that saint. Households are also encouraged to organize their own household activities and trips.

Please identify and briefly describe officially recognized student clubs and activities at your institution that…

foster spiritual development:

Praise and Worship Club

engage in corporal works of mercy:

Through their residence households, students are encouraged to take part in corporal works of mercy in the larger community of Barry’s Bay. A number of students visit the two local seniors homes individually as volunteers and through organized group activities: e.g. our Schola entertains the seniors each semester. The SWC Knights of Columbus Round Table, associated with the local K of C council, assists with a variety of projects and events. The Pro-Life Club runs activities and raises funds, and collects food, and supplies to support a local pregnancy crisis centre. Some students assist local families with childcare and housekeeping. 

address sexual issues (including birth control, abortion, homosexuality):

The Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu Pro-Life Club is a pro-life organization dedicated to promoting chastity and reverence for life and family on campus and in society. The Pro-Life Club usually sends a delegation of students to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. each year. SWC students often participate in the Crossroads Canada or U.S. Pro-Life Walk over the summer, as well as attend the Canadian March for Life 

address issues of social concern: 

The SWC Campus Conservative Club

address particular cultural interests:

The Don Bosco Drama Club presents one major theatrical production each academic year. 

The Film-making club has produced a series of short videos. All acting, directing, filming, editing and producing is done by students. 

The John Paul II Art Club meets weekly to produce art through a variety of media. 

St. Brigid’s Irish Dance Troupe and Band bring traditional Irish dance and music to local shut-ins and the community. 

The Pierre Giorgio Frassati outdoors club organizes trips and outings designed to allow students to enjoy the Canadian great outdoors. 

The Yearbook club creates the annual SWC yearbook. 

The Faith and Culture program offers students the chance, during the February Reading Week, to experience the historical and spiritual culture of Quebec. Trip highlights include time in Old Quebec, a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre and a time of retreat and recollection at the monastery of les Petits frères de la Croix. 

provide opportunities for athletic pursuits:

The Frassati Outdoors Club is a student club that organizes and facilitates excursions such as ski trips, hikes, camping, horseback riding, and dog sledding.

In addition, there are two student athletics coordinators who work with the student life team to ensure that athletic activites are planned on a weekly basis. Some of these activities include a regular gym night, soccer, ice-hockey, basketball, volleyball, and ice skating.

please list all student clubs not listed in the above categories:

Swing Dance Club

Does your institution require all student clubs and activities, including those listed above, to operate in accord with Catholic teaching?


How does your institution address student clubs and activities that may conflict with Catholic teaching?

Any clubs or activities that conflict with Catholic teaching would not receive official recognition by the student life office.

Does your institution require student services like health care, counseling and guidance to conform to Catholic ethical and moral teaching and directives?


Has your institution’s diocesan bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) officially recognized the institution as Catholic?


Do your institution’s governing documents include or reference the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?

Our governing documents are all drawn up in light of Ex corde Ecclesiae and our Mission Statement makes explicit reference to it.

Do your institution’s governing documents or institutional policies require conformity to the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?

See above

What is your institution’s mission statement:

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College provides a post-secondary education in the liberal arts within the Catholic tradition. Faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and guided by Ex corde Ecclesiaethe college seeks to form the whole person, especially intellectually and spiritually, while respecting the freedom of the individual. Our curriculum offers a deep and wide-ranging understanding of Western civilization along with the traditions of the Church, and equips students to engage with and critique contemporary culture. 

Does your institution have a written policy regarding speakers and honorees that at a minimum meets the standards established by the United States bishops in “Catholics in Political Life?”

See below

How does your institution address student and faculty invitations to speakers and honorees who have publicly opposed or acted contrary to Catholic moral teaching?

Speakers come to campus with the knowledge and approval of the President. It is expected that they will contribute to the mission of the institution.

Describe the makeup of your institution’s undergraduate student body with regard to sex, religion, home state/country and type of high school (public, private, homeschool):

Total number of undergraduates: 136 

Male: 37.5%  Female: 62.5% 

Catholic: 100%  Other Christian: %
Jewish: %  Muslim: %  Other: % 

Number of states represented: Students have come from 32 US states and 9 Canadian provinces. 

Top three states: Michigan (4.32%), Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania (tied at 1.44%). [Canadian provinces: Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia] 

Of student body: 57.55% from Ontario 

Public Catholic HS: 12.5% Homeschool: 46%
Private Catholic HS: 25% Public HS: 9.5% 

Most up-to-date provided by SWC

Additional Student Body information, clarification or description  (optional):

The majority of our students come from Canada. About 15% are American. The Canadians have come from 9 provinces (8 represented at present).  Over the years we have had American students from 32 of the states (states represented at present), and three foreign countries, including exchange students from Campion College Australia. 

Are prospective and current members of your institution’s governing board(s) informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of your institution?


Are more than half of the current members of your institution’s governing board(s) practicing Catholics?


Do Catholic members of your institution’s governing board(s) make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Is your institution’s president a practicing Catholic?


Does your institution’s president make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


President's Note

A message from the president.

Dear Parents and Prospective Students: 

We have three main goals: to be authentically Catholic; to be academically excellent; and to be affordable. 

Every year all of our faculty voluntarily take an oath of fidelity to the Magisterium and this unswerving commitment to the faith pervades all of our courses. It does not end at the classroom door: there are rich spiritual opportunities for students and we see the development in our students of an adult faith as a major part of our mission. 

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College has developed an outstanding educational program in the Catholic liberal arts tradition, with an emphasis on Thomistic philosophy and theology at the heart of our integrated curriculum.  Our professors are an exceptional group, devoted to their work and setting high standards for our students.  Many of our graduates have gone on to graduate school and to professions, well equipped for further study by our demanding liberal arts program. 

We are very conscious of the struggle faced by many faithful Catholic families to find a post-secondary institution which is truly Catholic and yet within their reach. We keep our costs as low as possible, and with a total cost for tuition, room and board and other fees of around $11,342 USD ( C$14,090 in January 2018) for 2018-2019, we believe that we are the best bargain in North America. 

In meeting our three goals we do not neglect something else: this is a joyful place, with a fun-filled and dynamic student body. Set in an area of lakes, forests and rolling hills, we are surrounded by beauty. Intellectual and spiritual growth is facilitated by this calm and uplifting atmosphere. 

Our students come to us from across Canada and the United States and form friendships that will last a lifetime. Please take the time to find out more about us – this may be the place where you are intended to be. 

Yours in Christ 

Dr. Keith Cassidy 

Contact Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College

1-877-369-6520, ext. 202

Box 249, 18 Karol Wojtyla Square
Barry's Bay, Ontario K0J 1B0

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