Is it common for traditional Catholic seminaries to rely so heavily on laity to perform physical "help" as it were to allow them to function? No sarcasm here...I honestly am curious if this is the norm for the US. I'm particularly curious to know if it's the practice to have laity without a religious vocation living among the seminarians. It seems that a monastery or convent would be more appropriate to their circumstances.
I wonder if OLMC is really more of a workhouse for the disenfranchised than an institution of priestly formation.
Well, I do know that the smaller the group, the more work is involved for the seminarians. I used to work over the summer in Winona for my "1 month apostolate". We'd help with retreats, etc.
The inexperienced might think that 10 people taking care of 10 people is as easy as 60 people taking care of 60 people. But no, it's not. There is a certain economy of scale that happens. At the seminary, for example, the 2nd years and up got "weeks off" quite frequently towards the end of my stay there, when we had 65 seminarians. On the other hand, during the summer there were only 6 of us, and we were always busy -- and that's with putting "cleaning" almost completely on hold. Just keeping up with the meals (and dishes) was a lot of work.
So I kind of understand why they need so much help. Still, there needs to be some kind of cloister with silence for the seminarians.
This is one of the ways that a smaller seminary might have to suffer, and it would be legitimate. Things like older buildings, not enough space, more work, etc. those things are not show-stoppers.
But grave matters like an apostate (Pablo) being in charge and constantly interacting with the seminarians, Ambrose Moran saying Mass, little or no priestly supervision/guidance/spiritual direction, and inadequate/irregular classes, those are things that are unacceptable for a seminary.
You can't have laymen/laywomen coming and going from a seminary all the time.