Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity

Saint Paul Seminary School Of Divinity

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Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity

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The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, was founded by Archbishop John Ireland in 1894, to provide ordained priests for the ever-increasing Catholic population of the Upper Midwest. The seminary now sits on the south campus of the University of St. Thomas, allowing the seminarians and lay students to be part of the St. Thomas community. Since its creation, over 3,000 priests have been ordained from Saint Paul Seminary, with thirty-three of them being consecrated bishops — including three archbishops, one of whom, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, is a candidate for canonization.


The primary financier to bring about Ireland's vision was James J. Hill, a Methodist and the president of the Great Northern Railway. Despite being Protestant, Hill's wife, Mary, was a devout Roman Catholic and the half million dollar gift and endowment to start the seminary were in honor of her. Being overly dedicated to even the smallest aspects of the new seminary project, Hill's influence over the completed project could be seen on a larger scale in that the six initial buildings were made to look like a train depot (the seminary administration building), a steam engine (gymnasium and physical plant), box cars (Cretin, Grace (though constructed in 1913), and Loras halls), a refectory, and a roundhouse (school building). The seminary complex was designed by architect Cass Gilbert, who also designed the Minnesota State Capitol. When the seminary...
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