The SJM understands itself as an order in the tradition of St. Ignatius. Therefore the solid philosophical and theological training of her future priests is a central concern to her. Through the study for the priestly ordination and through a continuing further-education, the members of the SJM should become able to show the people of today the beauty and coherence of the Catholic Faith.
“In preparing for the priesthood, study is very much a part of the journey.” Pope Benedict to the Seminarians in Freiburg (2011).
To this end, Fr. Hönisch founded in 1997 the St. Peter Canisius House of Studies, situated in Austria in the Schloss Auhof - the Mother House of the SJM. With approval of the Apostolic See, this small institute began its course of academic instruction in the winter semester of 1997/1998. The philosophical-theological formation follows after the general norms of the Church and the ecclesiastical framework for the study of Catholic Theology in Austria (2008). After eight semesters in the St. Peter Canisius Study House, the seminarians move to the Philosophical/Theological College of Pope Benedict the XVI at Heiligenkreuz Abbey and complete there the second stage of studies. They conclude their studies with the academic title "Master of Theology".
The goal of the studies is on the one hand a comprehensive and well-founded knowledge of the main areas of Western Philosophy and Catholic Theology, and on the other the learning and practise of an independent and scientific way of research. Candidates for the priesthood should be able to independently evaluate and classify questions of the present day, contemporary trends in theology and the humanities, on the basis of the philosophia perennis and the received teaching of the Church. They should - as the Second Vatican Council urged - "learn to seek the solutions to human problems under the light of revelation, to apply the eternal truths of revelation to the changeable conditions of human affairs and to communicate them in a way suited to men of our day" (OT 16).
Alongside their studies, most students, during their free-time on weekends and during the holidays, engage in diverse youth-groups: with scouts, confirmation candidates or altar-servers. Thus they can immediately apply and test out all those things which they have learned in a practical catechesis. Thus also is it ensured that contact will not be lost with those people to whom they ought proclaim the Gospel during the years of formation.
In addition to this, individual priests are free to pursue doctorates at international universities after their ordination.