Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College (SWC) is a private Catholic liberal arts college located in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, surrounded by the beauty of the Madawaska Valley. SWC offers an excellent classical liberal arts education within a thriving Catholic community. It is Canada’s only Newman Guide college, and Canada’s most homeschool friendly college. About 50% of SWC students were homeschooled!


Our Lady Seat of Wisdom grew out of a 1999 study group called “Mater Ecclesiae” in Combermere, Ontario, under the directorship of John Paul Meenan. The centre sought to provide affordable Catholic education to students wishing to advance their studies after high school. In the early days, studies took place in living rooms, basements, hay lofts, and other areas hosted by local families, while teaching and tuition were free.

In 2000, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pembroke donated the former grounds of St. Joseph’s Convent for use by members of the study centre, and Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy was established. On May 1, 2017, the Province of Ontario granted Our Lady Seat of Wisdom the title of “College.”


Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College is known for its traditional Catholic teaching and values. SWC has been featured in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College as one of the most faithfully Catholic institutions around the world.

SWC focuses on a core liberal arts curriculum. Saint John Henry Newman said, “The purpose of a liberal arts education is to open the mind, to correct it, to refine it, to enable it to know, and to digest, master, rule, and use its knowledge, to give it power over its own faculties, application, flexibility, method, critical exactness, sagacity, resource, address, and eloquent expression.”

The courses at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom are centered on Catholic liberal arts, faithful to the Magisterium of the Church. With liberal arts education underlying the academics, SWC has a core curriculum that encompasses studies in Theology, Philosophy, History, Literature, Languages, Fine Arts, Sacred Music, Mathematics, Natural and Social Sciences.

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College is authorized by the Province of Ontario to offer a 3-year Bachelor of Catholic Studies degree with concentrations in Theology, Philosophy, History, Literature, and Classical and Early Christian Studies. The college also grants various Certificates of Christian Humanities. SWC is currently pursuing approval for granting a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree.

From SWC’s website: “Seat of Wisdom College provides students with all the benefits of a truly excellent, faithfully Catholic liberal arts education from professors who all take the Oath of Fidelity to the Magisterium every year. Our students learn to think clearly and reason logically, to communicate well, and are given a broad base of knowledge within the context of knowing the Truth – Christ Himself – who alone can set us free.”

Student Life

SWC students live in single-sex, home-style residences. Each residence houses from 5 to 16 students and is led by members of the Student Leadership Team, upper-year students who facilitate the smooth functioning of the residences. Residences are named after a specific saint or Marian title. Students form community through prayer, house nights once per month, and chores, among other activities. SWC’s chaplain offers private spiritual direction and confession to students.

Students at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College have the opportunity to take part in hikes, sports, musical performances, field trips, community prayer, choir practices, dances, special guest lectures, campus clubs and more. Official clubs include the Don Bosco Drama Club, the Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu Pro-Life Club, the John-David Filmmaking Club, the Tolkien Club, and Ecclesiastical Schola.

Homeschooled Students

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College welcomes applications from homeschooled students. High school learning equivalency can be shown in a number of ways: by submitting SAT, ACT or CLT scores, documentation from homeschool providers, or a Seat of Wisdom Self-Reported High School Course Outline form (available here). There is a sample filled-in form for you to use as an example (click here to view or download).

Thank you, Benita, for telling us about Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College! ~HST

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