Saint Mary Seminary

The primary mission of Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology is to prepare candidates for the diocesan priesthood. This mission includes proclamation of the Word and celebration of the Sacraments in the midst of building community within the local diocesan church.

Within the diocese, the priest is called to serve in a variety of ministries. In order to prepare individuals for future presbyteral ministry, the seminary program incorporates the current edition of The Program for Priestly Formation as the benchmark for vocational discernment, which addresses the spiritual, human, intellectual and pastoral components of ministerial development. Seminarians are required to demonstrate knowledge of biblical, historical, systematic, liturgical, sacramental, and pastoral theologies together with an aptitude and desire for continuing theological education.

As its secondary mission, the seminary offers the Master of Arts degree and the Doctor of Ministry degree to outside students as well. The participation of diverse learners in these academic programs induces a healthy pluralism in the seminary's community life.

History of Saint Mary Seminary

Saint Mary Seminary, the Diocese of Cleveland's Graduate School of Theology, opened in 1848, when Bishop Amadeus Rappe remodeled a stable at Bond (E. 6th) St. and St. Clair for the education of students for the diocesan priesthood. This seminary was originally known as St. Francis de Sales Seminary, but the name was changed to Saint Mary Seminary after a short time. At various times in its history, the seminary also carried the subtitle of Our Lady of the Lake.

By 1850 the seminary needed more space, so Bishop Rappe bought the former Spring Cottage Bath House at Lake and Hamilton streets and built a larger structure on that site in 1859. In 1922 Bishop Joseph Schrembs decided to restrict the seminary to an undergraduate college program and sent the Cleveland seminarians to Mt. St. Mary Seminary in the Cincinnati archdiocese for their theological studies, a move which was countermanded 7 years later. He also purchased a plot of land at Superior and Ansel roads and began the construction of a Spanish mission-style building in 1924. Saint Mary Seminary provided both undergraduate and graduate theology programs for Cleveland students until 1954, when a separate college program was established at the former Borromeo College campus in Wickliffe.

Saint Mary Seminary became a fully accredited member of the Association of Theological Schools in 1971. In September 1990 the Ansel Rd. building was vacated, as the graduate department joined the undergraduate program at Borromeo. Its 5-year program offered courses in theology and other subjects necessary for successful ministerial work.
- courtesy of The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

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