World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

St. Mary's Seminary and University


St. Mary's Seminary and University

St. Mary's Seminary and University
The seal of St. Mary's College and University
Motto Apostolica civilisque (Latin)
Motto in English
Apostolic and public
Established 1791 (225 years ago)
Type Roman Catholic seminary
Affiliation Roman Catholic Church
(Sulpician Fathers)
President Rector Rev. Thomas R. Hurst, S.S., S.T.L., Ph.D.
Students 294
Location Baltimore, Maryland,
United States

Campus 40 acres (16 ha)

St. Mary's Seminary and University is a Roman Catholic seminary located within the Archdiocese of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland; it was the first seminary founded in the United States of America.


  • History 1
  • Institutes and facilities 2
  • Notable alumni 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Founded in 1791 as a Catholic seminary under the leadership of newly ordained first Bishop John Carroll, (1735-1815), after he returned to America from his consecration in England that year. A former large tavern was secured just northwest outside of the growing Baltimore Town on the Hookstown Road (which later became known as Pennsylvania Avenue in the Upton neighborhood, the main Afro-American/Black commercial and entertainment district in the early 20th Century). Within a decade, the Seminary was moved south to North Paca Street at the developed northwest edge of the newly incorporated city. St. Mary's was additionally chartered as a civil college by the State of Maryland in 1805 (1806?) and was operated until 1852 by the Sulpicians religious order and graduated hundreds of young men and formed an important educational role in the growing city during the first half of the 19th Century. The under-graduate College was later closed and replaced in the same year by the opening of Loyola College and Loyola High School by the Jesuits (Society of Jesus) in two small rented townhouses on Holliday Street, between East Lexington and East Fayette Streets - the site, two decades later in the future, across from the massive new second Baltimore City Hall of 1867-1875, now the site of the War Memorial Plaza). St. Mary's was established as a seminary in 1822 by Pope Pius VII, when it was authorized as the first ecclesiastical faculty in the United States with the right to grant degrees in the name of the Holy See.[1] The seminary was founded by the French Sulpician Fathers, and continued to be operated by that Community after 1852.

Designed in 1806 by Federal red brick style from the 1810s which were later razed and a second set of Seminary buildings in a Victorian/French Second Empire style of architecture were erected on the same site facing east on North Paca Street in 1878 and surrounded the original Chapel that is remaining on Paca facing west, into the 21st Century. The old Godefroy Chapel is now used as part of the seminary's Spiritual Center. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, lived at the nearby house while she was briefly living in Baltimore during 1806 to 1809; it was later named for her and now contains some historical and biographical exhibits on her life and work.[1] The influence of the St. Mary's Seminary increased in the late 19th Century under the leadership of Alphonse Magnien, who served as superior of the school from 1878 to 1902.

St. Mary's Seminary and now University moved to a large 40-acre, park-like campus at the southwest intersection of Roland and Belvedere (later Northern Parkway) Avenues in the Roland Park section of northern Baltimore City in 1929, with the construction of its present Beaux ArtsClassical Revival style, central main building, designed by the firm of McGinnis and Walsh of Boston, which is set far back to the west from Roland Avenue across a great grass lawn. The lawn was used as a helicopter pad for leaving to the local airport following the several days of the 1995 Baltimore visit by Pope John Paul II.[1][2]

In 1968, reflecting a more ecumenical and outgoing spirit from the Second Vatican Council and with educational partnerships with neighboring Christian traditions/denominations of (Protestant and Eastern Orthodox) in the City and central Maryland region, plus having additional space and resources due to a decline in the number of priests in formation by the late 1960s, an "Ecumenical Institute of Theology" was established in 1968 with a separate board of trustees of lay and clergy members from the Catholic and other partnering faiths and a separate dean/director and began offering courses, programs, events with library resources and religious training on a graduate-level to the laity and clergy of the area, which has since greatly raised the academic levels and religious discourse in the following four decades.

In 1974, the institution's name was changed to "St. Mary's Seminary and University" to reflect its expanded departments and graduate degree programs.[2]

During his famous visit to the "Premier See" of Baltimore in 1995, the first by any "Bishop of Rome", Pope John Paul II, visited briefly and prayed at the Seminary Chapel and used the spacious front lawn to lift off in his papal helicopter ending his tour of the Archdiocese and its City.

Father Robert F. Leavitt retired as long-time president/rector in spring 2007, having served at that position for 27 years—the longest tenure of any president/rector in the School's history. The Seminary's alumni have gone on to reach bishop's positions and form leading teaching roles in various theological seminaries of the Church in many cities and towns of the United States.

Institutes and facilities

The Knott Library (endowed by industrialist, contractor/builder, and philanthropist Henry J. Knott) at St. Mary's Seminary and University houses the collected papers of Fr. Raymond E. Brown S.S. (S.T.B., 1951), an eminent Johannine scholar and St. Mary's graduate.[3]

The Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary's, founded in 1968, offers graduate degrees and certificates; it supports a diverse adult learning environment of different ethnicities and denominations. Dr. Brent Laytham, formerly of North Park University, is the E.I.'s dean, succeeding Dr. Michael J. Gorman.[4] Gorman remains on the faculty as the inaugural Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology.

In May 2012, N. T. Wright was the keynote speaker for the graduating class at the E.I. and was himself awarded an honorary degree.

Notable alumni

noted ecumenical American religious leader, Cardinal James Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, entered St. Mary's Seminary in 1857, served 1877-1921

See also


  1. ^ a b c "America's First Seminary". St. Mary's Seminary and University. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "St. Mary's Seminary & University". BrainTrack. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "Welcome to the Knott Library". St. Mary's Seminary and University. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  4. ^ "The Ecumenical Institute of Theology: An Invitation". St. Mary's University and Seminary. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "John Payne Todd".  

External links

  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore
  • St. Mary's Seminary & University
  • St. Mary's Spiritual Center & Historic Site
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.