Founded by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), Divine Word College is the only undergraduate Roman Catholic seminary in the U.S. dedicated to educating men and women for missionary service. It is located in Epworth, Iowa, 13 miles west of the city of Dubuque and within the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
Though its primary goal is preparing young men to become Divine Word Missionary priests and brothers, since 2007 the college has also offered its educational resources to religious sisters, other Catholic seminarians and laypersons.
Divine Word College provides an education that incorporates a liberal arts curriculum with spiritual formation and mission preparation. The college also offers a well established ESL program through its Intensive English Language Institute. Celebrating the cultural diversity of the world, each year the enrollment includes students from 15-20 different countries. This allows the college to create an inter-cultural environment that is uniquely suited for educating future missionaries.
The SVD is the largest Catholic missionary order in the world, with 6000 Divine Word Missionary priests and brothers serving the neediest of God’s people in 70 countries. Founded in Steyl, Holland in 1875 by Saint Arnold Janssen, the SVD continues to follow the direction of the constitutions he established, which calls upon its members to go “…first and foremost where the Gospel has not yet been preached at all or only insufficiently, and where the local Church is not yet viable on its own.”
Divine Word College is situated on 16 acres of land that was formerly the site of a Methodist seminary. The SVD purchased the property in 1931 to establish a high school seminary—St. Paul’s Mission House. Thirty years later, the old buildings were demolished and replaced with the current main building.
Divine Word College prepares missionaries to touch the lives of the neediest people around the world by following the path of Jesus Christ and spreading the Word of God.