St. Michael's Residence in Philadelphia was purchased as a college seminary residence on August 13, 1968, a result of a decision by St. Paul of the Cross Provincial Chapter to close its seminaries in Dunkirk, New York, and West Hartford, Connecticut. Two Passionists were assigned to be in charge of the 13 young men who made up the first community of aspiring Passionists.
With the closure of the college residence in Worcester, Massachusetts, the Philadelphia residence remains the only pre-novitiate formation house for St. Paul of the Cross Province. Today, prospective candidates are older, and the decision to join the Passionists is often a "second career" choice. They complete their philosophy and pre-theologv studies at La Salle University. At the conclusion of their stay in Philadelphia, they go to the novitiate in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. By living with professed Passionists, they gain an experience in community life, which prepares them for the more structured style of religious life. They are involved in the total life of the community: prayer, meals, liturgies, recreation, work, and study. They must have some form of part-time ministry and take advantage of trained spiritual directors and confessors in the archdiocese. There is an intercommunity formation program in the Philadelphia area, at which competent professors offer courses in theology, Scripture, church history, and human integration. Candidates from religious communities of men and women attend these courses once a month and participate in a spiritual weekend twice a year. This companionship of peers is a valuable adjunct for communities that have only one or two candidates.