The Vincentian Fathers and Brothers belong to a community of Apostolic Life started in 1625 by St. Vincent de Paul in Paris, France. In California and Arizona, the Vincentians of the Western Province serve the Church through Parish Ministry (St. Vincent de Paul Church in Los Angeles and Phoenix), Formation of Priests (St. Johnís Seminary and College in Camarillo) , Native American Ministry (Northern Arizona), Hospital Ministry, and Retreat Centers (De Paul Evangelization Center in Montebello and St. Maryís Seminary in Santa Barbara).

The Vincentian Fathers and Brothers came to Santa Barbara in 1964, when St. Maryís Seminary opened as a Formation Center for Vincentian Candidates. St. Maryís began functioning as a retreat center in 1978. Today St. Maryís Seminary hosts Catholic High School Kairos Retreats, Parish Confirmation Retreats, Cursillos, Catholic Engaged Encounter Weekends, Menís and Womenís Retreats, and a variety of other spirituality oriented and non-profit groups wishing to use St. Mary's for weekend or one day retreats/reflection experiences.