The Art of Accompaniment: Practical Steps for the Seminary Formator

by Sister Marysia Weber, RSM

The role of a seminary formator is to accompany the seminarian in the external forum and to discern with him, the seminary community, and larger Church community, whether he has a vocation to the Catholic priesthood. To accomplish this task effectively, the formator needs a vast array of skills that will enable him or her to listen to, understand, encourage, challenge, and adequately assess the seminarian in an open and honest way. This book by Sister Marysia Weber, RSM, offers many invaluable insights and practical tools that seminary formators can employ in their work.

Paperback: $14.95 | Kindle: $9.99 (ISBN-13: 978-1732594913)



“As the new Ratio Fundamentalis from Rome invites us to deepen the integration of each seminarian through accompaniment in formation, Sr. Marysia Weber, RSM, brings to bear in this work her years of experience in helping priests and seminarians grow in affective maturity necessary for ministry. This little book offers very helpful insights and practical recommendations to assist seminary formators as they work one-on-one with seminarians in developing the necessary relationship of trust for their growth. Formators will learn from her how to create and take advantage of formative moments in seminary life so that the human and affective flourishing of the man can lead to a flourishing of his divine vocation.” – Bishop Andrew Cozzens, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

“Sister Marysia Weber, RSM, DO, articulates clear, relevant ways for the priest formator to accompany seminarians in their formation to the ministerial priesthood. Proposing contemporary assessment questions, this book helps the formation advisor both evaluate and assist the seminarian in his growth in affective maturity. I recommend this compact book particularly because of its practicality, reflection of the Church’s program of formation, and usefulness in identifying opportunities for interior growth for seminarians.” – Fr. Christopher Cooke, Director, Spiritual Year of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia.

“An invaluable resource that every seminary formator should have at his or her side.” – Fr. Dennis Billy, CSSr, author of Finding Our Way to God: Spiritual Direction and the Moral Life

“My colleague and friend, Sister Marysia Weber, RSM, has made an invaluable contribution to the work of priestly formation in her book, The Art of Accompaniment. Throughout the work, her skills as a psychiatrist are evident. Even more evident is her love and honor of the priestly vocation. The concept of accompaniment is key to every insight in the text. There simply is no longer a ‘one size fits all’ approach to priestly formation. Sister Marysia demonstrates both from science and theology varied and concrete ways in which more experienced priests can be both challenging and loving companions on a young man’s journey to ordination and a life of service to the Church. Her chapter on ‘Markers of Human Maturation’ is especially helpful because it presents clear and evidence based ways of helping a candidate recognize individual strengths while not fearing to tackle frailties that could compromise his future life and ministry in the priesthood. The chapter on communication skills is most compelling because it helps formators know how to phrase insights in ways that are acceptable to candidates. Sister Marysia clearly grasps the truth of the old adage, ‘I don’t say what I say; I say what you hear.’ The clearest and most objective evaluation I can give to The Art of Accompaniment is to say that I wish I had this book at hand when I began my own work in priestly formation decades ago. It is a significant and contemporary help in forming candidates for the priesthood after the mind of Christ, possessed of self-knowledge, and ready to serve the Church in our challenging times.” – Rev. Msgr. Thomas G. Caserta (Former Director of Spiritual Formation, Cathedral Seminary Residence, in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Pastor, St. Bernadette Church, Brooklyn, NY)


Sister Marysia is a Religious Sister of Mercy of Alma, MI who is a physician, board certified in psychiatry with a fellowship in consultation-liaison psychiatry, who trained at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  She also holds a Master’s degree in Theology from Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana.  She practiced psychiatry at her religious institute’s multidisciplinary medical clinic, Sacred Heart Mercy Health Care Center in Alma, MI from 1988-2014. She became the Director of the Office of Consecrated Life for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis in 2014. She is a facilitator for Rachel’s Vineyard, is chair of the board of directors of MyCatholicDoctor, an executive board member of the Saint Louis Guild Catholic Medical Association and the Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology. She also serves as Adjunct Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Sister Marysia offers workshops on a variety of topics including human attachment, boundaries and character development, depression and anxiety, dialogue and conflict resolution, as well as on social media and its effects on the brain for clergy, seminarians, women’s and men’s religious communities, parents, teachers and students. She is a formator within her own religious community. She presents on Internet pornography addiction—a Catholic approach to treatment to bishops, clergy, seminarians, religious communities, and laity throughout the United States and Europe She presented to the U.S. Bishops in Dallas TX in 1992 on “Pedophilia and Other Addictions”.  She was a member of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse in 1994-1995.  Sister Marysia has presented to the Curia, Vatican City State on “Sexual Abuse of Minors by Clergy in North America” in 2002.  She has served as a psychological expert consultant for the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, USCCB.

Sister Marysia’s publications include “Medical Aspects of Addiction”;  “The Roman Catholic Church and the Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests and Religious in the United States and Canada: What Have We Learned? Where Are We Going?”; “Pornography, Electronic Media and Priestly Formation”;  Her publications in Seminary Journal include: “Significant Markers of Human Maturation Applied to the Selection and Formation of Seminarians”; “The Discernment of a Priestly Vocation and the Expertise of Psychiatry and Psychology”; and “Internet Pornography and Priestly Formation: Medium and Content Collide With the Human Brain”.  She has published two books: The Art of Accompaniment: Practical Steps for the Seminary Formator  ( and Screen Addiction: Why You Can’t Put that Phone Down  (  Her chapter “Guideposts for the Seminary Formator in Understanding and Assessing Levels of Preoccupation with Use of Internet Pornography and a Formative Process for Moving from Vice to Virtue” in Spiritual Husband-Spiritual Fathers: Priestly Formation for the 21st Century is pending publication.


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