Kenrick–Glennon Seminary (Saint Louis Roman Catholic Theological Seminary) is a private not-for-profit Roman Catholic Seminary located in Shrewsbury, Missouri in St. Louis County. The Seminary is named after Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick and Cardinal John J. Glennon, former Archbishops of Saint Louis. The Seminary traces its origins to the early nineteenth century. Since that time the locally well-known institution has provided education and formation to seminarians for ordination to the sacred priesthood for many Catholic archdioceses and dioceses.
The Seminary maintains a graduate and undergraduate division, namely, Kenrick School of Theology and Cardinal Glennon College, respectively. Kenrick School of Theology also operates a Pre-Theology program for men who already have an undergraduate degree but need the required thirty undergraduate hours of philosophy prior to entry into the graduate division of the Seminary. Kenrick School of Theology grants the Master of Divinity Degree (M.Div.) and the Master of Arts Degree in Theology (M.A.), and Cardinal Glennon College grants the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Philosophy.
In 2011, Archbishop Robert James Carlson appointed Father John Horn, S.J., a native of Columbia, Pennsylvania, as the President-Rector at Kenrick–Glennon Seminary. Father Horn, who has over 30 years of experience in Catholic education, is a founder of the Institute for Priestly Formation located on the campus of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
History of the Seminary
The Seminary traces its remote beginnings to 1818 when the Congregation of the Mission which had come at the request of the Bishop Louis William Valentine Dubourg established Saint Mary’s of the Barrens Seminary in Perryville, Missouri, and thus became the first seminary established west of the Mississippi River. In 1842, Bishop Peter Richard Kenrick transferred his students to a Vincentian house, opened for this purpose in a group of temporary buildings later called Bishop’s Row on Carroll Street in the Soulard area of south Saint Louis. In 1844, the Seminary was relocated a block away in the Vincentian-owned Soulard Mansion on Decatur Street. This building, which stood next to the new Saint Vincent Church, served as the home of the Diocesan Seminary until 1848. In that year Archbishop Kenrick opened a seminary in Carondelet, a village south of Saint Louis, later annexed to the city. The Carondelet Seminary, located approximately two blocks northwest of the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph, was administered by four rectors of the Archdiocesan clergy until 1857. At that time, the Vincentian Community resumed their previous role of direction, now at the new site. In the fall of 1858, the Second Provincial Council of Saint Louis made a new determination for the Seminary and by way of experiment, another Vincentian institute, Saint Vincent College, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, served as a regional seminary with the entire Archdiocesan Seminary thus transferred there, the Major Seminary moving from Carondelet, the Minor Seminary from Perryville. The regional seminary did not prosper, however, as a result of the American Civil War.
On September 21, 1893, Archbishop John Joseph Kain presided at the re-opening of the philosophy and theology departments of the Archdiocesan Seminary. The new Seminary, located in a former convent of the Visitation Sisters, at 19th Street and Cass Avenue in Saint Louis, was the first site to bear the name Kenrick Seminary. Once again, the Seminary was entrusted to the direction of the Vincentian Community. In September 1900, Archbishop Kain also re-established the Minor Seminary, later called Kenrick Preparatory Seminary, and located it at the Cass Avenue building. In 1915, as the Cass Avenue facilities proved inadequate, Archbishop John J. Glennon opened the second Kenrick Seminary. This Seminary was located on Kenrick Road, in an unincorporated area of Saint Louis County known at the time as Glennon Park. Today it is in the City of Shrewsbury, adjacent to the southwest city limits of Saint Louis. Since 1987, this second Kenrick Seminary become known as the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center (now Cardinal Rigali Center), an office facility. Archbishop Glennon formally dedicated the new Kenrick on April 27, 1916. The building housed both the philosophy and theology departments. As the second Kenrick opened, the Minor Seminary moved to a new location at 4244 Washington Avenue. In 1927, a tornado did extensive damage at this location. While plans were made for a new structure at a new site, the Minor Seminary found temporary housing at Saint Bridget Parish, on Jefferson Avenue and Stoddard Street.
In 1931, the first Saint Louis Preparatory Seminary, the present Kenrick–Glennon Seminary building, opened on the same grounds as the second Kenrick. This facility housed the last two years of high school and four full years of college. The first two years of high school were reinstated at the refurbished Washington Avenue location, now known as the Cathedral Latin School. It was conducted by members of the Archdiocesan clergy. In 1947, Archbishop Joseph E. Ritter, closed the Latin School, and established six-year programs in the two Archdiocesan seminaries. The Preparatory Seminary thus comprised four years of high school and two years of college, while Kenrick Seminary comprised two years of college and four years of theology. In 1957, Archbishop Ritter opened a new facility for the high school, at 5200 Shrewsbury Avenue, on the same spacious grounds as Kenrick Seminary and the old Preparatory Seminary. Simultaneously, he effected a division of the Archdiocesan seminary system into three separate institutions. The new Preparatory Seminary was a four-year high school. The old Preparatory Seminary became a four-year college, within two years to be known as Cardinal Glennon College. Kenrick Seminary continued as a four-year theologate. Cardinal Glennon College received full accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1961. In 1965, due to a boom in enrollment Cardinal Ritter created yet another Archdiocesan high school seminary, in north Saint Louis County.
Saint Louis Preparatory Seminary North (its counterpart in Shrewsbury was subsequently called Saint Louis Preparatory Seminary South) was administered by members of the Archdiocesan clergy. It held its first classes in the basement of the old Sacred Heart School building, on North Jefferson Street in Florissant. A year later, it moved to its new facility on 3500 Saint Catherine Street, also in Florissant. Today this facility houses Saint Thomas the Apostle Church and School. Notably, Saint Louis Preparatory Seminary North, unlike its counterpart, Saint Louis Preparatory South, accepted non-clerical students, who formed a major part of its student body.
In 1966, as part of the reform of seminaries mandated by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Cardinal Ritter authorized Kenrick Seminary to enter an experimental arrangement with the Saint Louis University Divinity School. Kenrick students, having first finished two years of study at the seminary, and still retaining residence there, were to take classes and earn degrees at the Divinity School. The arrangement, however, for a variety of reasons, proved unsatisfactory and Cardinal John Carberry discontinued it in 1970. In 1973, a reconstituted, free-standing Kenrick Seminary received full accreditation, both from the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and from the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
In September 1986, Archbishop John L. May made the determination to consolidate the seminary system of the Archdiocese. In the spring of 1987, Kenrick Seminary moved from its location on Kenrick Road to the Cardinal Glennon College building on Glennon Drive, the present Kenrick–Glennon Seminary. In the process, Kenrick retained its status as a free-standing school of theology. The College, however, closed its free-standing undergraduate program, and established a collaborative-model program, in conjunction with the Saint Louis University College of Philosophy and Letters. College seminary students in their first two years attend Saint Louis University for classes but reside at the Kenrick–Glennon Seminary complex, where they receive their human and spiritual formation. Third and fourth year college seminarians complete their philosophy studies at Cardinal Glennon College.
In the summer of 1987, extensive renovation of the Kenrick-Glennon building was done and on October 11, 1988, a Board of Trustees for Kenrick–Glennon Seminary began formal operation. In the spring of 1995, Archbishop Justin Rigali announced that after 177 years of collaboration between the Vincentian Community and the Archdiocese in the running of the Seminary, the Archdiocese would henceforth assume full responsibility. The Vincentian Community for its part indicated that it would continue to make personnel available for certain positions in the Seminary faculty. Today the Seminary faculty is composed of both diocesan and religious order priests as well as religious sisters and members of the lay faithful.
In January 2013, the Seminary completed extensive campus renovations. Infrastructure updates included all new plumbing, electrical, windows, and HVAC. An additional wing on the east side of the campus now houses offices for the faculty and a rooftop patio and dining area. The library was expanded into an old gymnasium and enhanced with information technology systems. The former power plant on the west side of the campus was converted into a three story student center named after Father Emil Kapaun, the notable member of the seminary's Class of 1940. The entire renovations project demonstrated a commitment to preserving the historical and architectural character of the building while making necessary upgrades to provide an adequate and safe facility for priestly formation in the 21st century. The renovations project was made possible through the generous support of the donors to the Faith for the Future Capital Campaign.
The Future of the Seminary
Kenrick-Glennon is the official Seminary of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis and comprises seminarians from the Archdiocese and other archdioceses and dioceses throughout the country.
In 2007 the determination was made that the students in the undergraduate division would return to receiving their philosophical and some theological formation directly from the Seminary and be granted the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Philosophy from the Seminary itself while they would continue to receive their other education at Saint Louis University.
Charles L. Souvay Memorial Library
Kenrick–Glennon Seminary houses the Charles L. Souvay, C.M. Memorial Library, which contains a large collection of theological reference books, periodicals, and journals, and is open not only to students of faculty of the seminary, but also to the public. The collection consists of over 80,000 monographs and journals with considerable concentrations in philosophy, theology, canon law, history, biography, and the arts. The library subscribes to print and online journals yielding several thousand journal titles available in full-text. One of the library's distinctive qualities is a large collection of Akkadian and Sumerian cuneiform tablets of which a book has been written, namely, "The Cuneiform Tablets in St. Louis" by Robert David Freedman. The library is a member of MOBIUS, which enables students to retrieve works from a number of other seminaries, colleges, and universities in the Saint Louis area.
- Undergraduate Instructional Program: (Special focus institution)
- Graduate Instructional Program: (Special focus institution)
- Enrollment Profile: Exclusively graduate/professional
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- Basic: Spec/Faith: Special Focus Institutions—Theological seminaries, Bible colleges, and other faith-related institutions