Sacred Heart School of Theology

English as a Second Language (ESL) Program

Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology offers a unique English as a Second Language Program that gives those studying for the priesthood as well as those already ordained and lay ministers an opportunity to become proficient in English and familiar with American customs and culture.

Students learn English in the classroom and through daily contact with others in a variety of settings. Classes are small and personal, and students receive consistent individual attention.

Liturgies, social activities and personal interactions provide additional opportunities for speaking and hearing English.

As an accredited institution, SHSST meets the U.S. federal government requirements necessary for international students seeking a study visa.

ESL Program registration form

ESL Program brochure


ESL Emphasizes

  • Appropriate grammar usage
  • Effective writing and reading skills
  • Effective speaking in preaching, presiding and counseling situations
  • Accurate pronunciation in daily conversation
  • Strong listening and speaking skills
  • Preparation for the TOEFL examination

Human and Spiritual Formation

Seminarians enrolled in the ESL program fully participate in Sacred Heart's spiritual and human formation activities. Spanish-speaking formation directors are members of the faculty.

ESL Offers

  • Participation in the daily liturgical life of the seminary
  • Opportunities to attend weekend parish liturgies within the Milwaukee area
  • Cultural field trips
  • Informal interaction with other seminarians

When candidates for priesthood achieve an acceptable proficiency in English, they may enroll in the seminary's academic program. Many courses focus on pastoral and interpersonal practices in the United States.

Cultural Orientation

As a member of the seminary community, students become enculturated into the American Church and American society. They develop an awareness of American customs and social behaviors. Learning the culture as well as the language prepares students to move into a parish setting ready to minister effectively.

Accent Modification

Sacred Heart offers a proven Accent Modification Program to non-U.S. priests, religious, seminarians and lay church workers, taught by an instructor certified in the Compton P-ESL method.


No prior knowledge of English necessary.

  • Complete application form, fax to 414-529-6966
  • Take preliminary assessment examination upon entry into the program
  • International students must secure and complete any necessary forms for nonresidency status in the United States. I-20s are issued upon request.

Sacred Heart offers four sessions. Seven-week sessions begin in mid-and late summer. Semester-long sessions begin in late-summer and in January. The school also offers a three-week intensive session in May. Start and end dates can be adjusted based on individual needs.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees will be determined in each case in terms of services rendered and will be coordinated with the student's sponsor.

For further information contact:

Ms. Kelly Kornacki