225th Anniversary of the Society of St. Sulpice Province of the United States and the founding of America’s first Roman Catholic Seminary

On Tuesday, November 15th there was a celebration to mark the 225th anniversary of the arrival of the Sulpicians in America and the founding of St. Mary’s Seminary.  His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet, P.S.S., Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, received an honorary degree from St. Mary’s Seminary & University.  To read Marc Cardinal Ouellet’s remarks, click here. The ceremony was attended by several of the United States’ Cardinals; Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Seán Cardinal O’Malley, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop Christophe Pierre (the Apostolic Nuncio of the United States) and over 30 Bishops and Archbishops who are in Baltimore at the time for the USCCB meeting.  The Province of the United States invited the seminarian communities of Theological College of the Catholic University of America, the other Sulpician seminary in the United States, and Mount St. Mary’s in Emmetsburg, founded by the Sulpicians, to join the seminarian community of St. Mary’s Seminary & University for the special celebration.

On April 8, 1791, with the blessing of Father Jacques-André Emery, superior general of the Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice, four priests and five seminarians embarked from Saint-Malo, France on a chartered ship destined for the port of Baltimore, Maryland.  Upon their arrival, Father Francois Chares Nagot, the superior, accompanied by Fathers Antoine Garnier, Jean-Marie Tessier, and Michel Levadoux, was welcomed by Bishop John Carroll, the first bishop of the diocese of Baltimore — which at the time encompassed the entire fledging nation.  Eight days after their arrival in Baltimore, Maryland, the Sulpician community moved into a large building on Paca Street, just one mile north of city center, which was to become the first Roman Catholic seminary in the United States.   St. Mary’s Seminary was officially opened on October 3, 1791.

225 years later St. Mary’s Seminary & University continues to thrive and serve the original mission of preparing men for the Roman Catholic priesthood and proudly counts over 6000 living alumni in the United States and throughout the world.    St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute, founded in 1968, expanded the mission to serve men and women seeking graduate theological degrees, many of whom have served the Archdiocese of Baltimore over the past 48 years.    Fr. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S., the President Rector of St. Mary’s Seminary & University remarked “The priests of the Society of St. Sulpice have been forming priests for service in diocese of the United States for 225 years. Theirs is a unique contribution to the life of the Church in the United States, as we represent the only religious community whose principal and virtually sole work is the initial and ongoing formation of parish priests. St. Mary’s has formed more priests for service in the United States than any other seminary and can therefore justly be called America’s “cradle of pastors.”

From the Catholic Review:

Sulpicians mark 225 years of training men to be priests

November 23, 2016
By Christopher Gunty

In October 1791, five men began studies for the priesthood at the first seminary in the United States, just a couple years after the Diocese of Baltimore was established as the first in the country in 1789.
At the time of that humble beginning – when Bishop John Carroll, Baltimore’s first bishop, welcomed four priests from the Society of St. Sulpice and the five seminarians – the Diocese of Baltimore encompassed the whole fledgling nation.

– See more at: http://www.catholicreview.org/article/news/local-news/sulpicians-mark-225-years-of-training-men-to-be-priests#sthash.mcBs3FGi.dpuf

Copyright (c) 2016, Catholic Review Media, www.catholicreview.org. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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