Imagine a college where Catholic young people can live out their faith by learning from faculty and staff who practise what they preach. Picture a small, personable school where prayer is at the heart of study, and fellow students call one another to a life of holiness and virtue. There is such a school, right here in Canada: Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Barry’s Bay, in the Ottawa Valley region of Ontario.

There is truly a crise de foi in Canada at present. Many young Catholics have not been properly educated in their faith, so as to understand the depths and riches that their church offers, and have subsequently abandoned the practice of it. This should not surprise anyone, though, since one cannot love what one does not understand.

What is to be done? Young Catholics must be formed intellectually, morally and spiritually, and Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy is doing just that and more. The academy currently offers a university-level, foundational-year program rooted in a Catholic vision of the liberal arts that is loyal to the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas and emphasizes the writings of Pope John Paul II. As time goes on, OLSWA hopes to develop the program into both a two- and four-year course of studies.

Franciscan University of Steubenville, Oh. recently agreed to allow students transferring from the academy to apply the credits they earn at OLSWA towards bachelor degrees. This will allow academy alumni to complete a four-year degree with only three additional years of study, and will save them in tuition costs.

Subjects at the academy range from Christian doctrine, philosophy, and Church history, to logic, latin, scripture, magisterial thought and ecclesiastical music. They are complemented by a series of guest lecturers who present on Catholic literature, art and spirituality. Derived from a variety of backgrounds, the entire faculty shares an unwavering commitment to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and has included both laypeople and clergy, including Rev. Leonard Kennedy, CSB, of Toronto.

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy began simply as an answer to a very great need. Now, in its second full year of operation, some of the fruits have begun to become evident. The academy accepts no government aid, and relies solely on the students’ modest tuition, as well as the generosity of benefactors and a staff who work for small monthly stipends.

The student body has doubled in size, and former students have gone on to study at both Thomas Aquinas College and Ave Maria College in the U.S.

Christ is at the centre of all that is done, both in study and recreation, and opportunities for prayer and the sacraments are woven into daily life. The added blessing of neighbouring St. Hedwig’s Parish in Barry’s Bay is tremendous.

Why do students flourish at this little academy? “I find the environment conducive to spiritual growth,” said 18-year-old Angela Hardy, of Saint John, N.B. “It’s the kind of formation I think every young Catholic needs before going out into the world.”

For more information about Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, please contact us toll-free at

1-877-369-6520, e-mail or visit our website All donations to the Academy are tax deductible.