St. Thomas Seminary

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St. Thomas Seminary
St. Thomas Seminary Coat of Arms.jpg
Latin: Sicillum Seminarii Sancti Thomae Hartford
Motto Spes Messis in Semine
Established 1897
Type Private
Rector Most Reverend Christie A. Macaluso
Location Bloomfield, Connecticut, United States
Campus Rural
Colors Blue and White          
Nickname Saints

St. Thomas Seminary, located in Bloomfield, Connecticut, was a minor seminary for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. The current rector is the Most Reverend Christie A. Macaluso


St. Thomas Seminary was founded in 1897 by Bishop Michael Tierney, the sixth Bishop of Hartford. The original Seminary was located at 352 Collins Street in Hartford, in what was once the Chinese College. It opened its doors on September 7, 1897.[1] Bishop Tierney appointed the Right Reverend John Synnott as the first President of St. Thomas.[2] Due to the increasing enrollment, and limited space, it became necessary to find a larger space. Bishop John J. Nilan had the cornerstone laid for the new building in 1928. It took two years to complete and finally, in 1930, the seminary moved to its current location in Bloomfield.

Collins Street (1897–1930)[edit]

St. Thomas Seminary opened on September 7, 1897, with 37 students in its first class. On the first floor was a study hall, classrooms, the refectory and parlors. The second floor consisted of the Chapel, a dormitory and the professors' rooms.[3] Soon after, it was deemed necessary that the size of the building was inadequate for the needs of the diocese. So, a new building was erected adjacent to the old Chinese College and the structure served the diocese until 1930.[4]

Bloomfield (1930–present)[edit]

On September 30, 1930, St. Thomas opened at its new location in Bloomfield, a suburb of Hartford. The Seminary was designed by architect Louis A. Walsh of Waterbury, and built by W. F. O'Neil.[5] During the first 45 years of St. Thomas Seminary (until 1942), the Seminary for the most part contained only seminarians for the Diocese of Hartford. Beginning in the fall of 1942, seminarians began arriving from the Diocese of Albany, the Diocese of Burlington, as well as the Diocese of Manchester. The following year, the Diocese of Portland (ME) as well as the Diocese of Springfield (MA) began sending Seminarians to St. Thomas.


The curriculum at St. Thomas at its inception consisted of a five-year program. The classical education consisted of courses in Latin, Greek and English, as well as systematic training in French and German. Other courses consisted of mathematics, natural sciences, Christian doctrine and history.[6] The curriculum developed over time and eventually the Seminary became a six-year program, with four years of High School and the first two years of college. Students completing the six-year program would receive the Associate of Arts degree.

Course of studies: 1954–55[edit]

As of the 1954-55 Academic Year, the two-year college program consisted of the following courses:[7]

Freshman Year:

  • Appreciation of Literature, Poetry
  • Latin Literature, Livy, Tacitus, Horace, Cicero
  • Latin Composition
  • Elementary Greek
  • French, German or Italian
  • General Inorganic Chemistry
  • Religion
  • Public Speaking
  • Music
  • Mathematics

Sophomore Year:

  • Novel, Composition
  • Latin Literature, Horace, Cicero, St. Augustine, Tacitus
  • Latin Composition
  • Advanced Greek
  • French, German or Italian
  • Modern European History
  • Religion
  • Public Speaking
  • Physics
  • Music

Seminary life[edit]

Student organizations[edit]

Over its history, St. Thomas Seminary had various student organizations which were run by the students and overseen by the faculty.

  • Stella Matutina:

The Stella Matutina, Latin for Morning Star, was the seminary's quarterly literary magazine produced by the seminarians. It was founded during the Fall Semester in 1917. The first editors of the magazine were "Patrick Flynn, Lester Loughran and Harry O'Brien."[8] Its twofold plan was to foster "the literary inclinations of the undergraduates and of uniting the alumni more closely to their ALMA MATER."[9] Stella Matutina contained articles by seminarians, as well as poetry. The articles ranged from seminary life, to current events, as well as academic papers. Later volumes contained photographs.

  • Literary and Debating Society:

The Literary and Debating Society produced programs for the student body every month and would also show films.

  • The King's Masquers:

The King's Masquers was the drama club of the seminary, and produced 4 plays a year for both the seminarians and the public.

  • Glee Club:

The seminary's non-liturgical choir performed twice a year for the seminarians and the public.

  • Schola Cantorum:

The Seminary's chapel choir performed singing for special feasts at liturgies.

  • Orchestra:

The orchestra, like the Glee Club was a non-liturgical group which gave two public performances a year. The orchestra was organized during the 1942-43 school year.[10]

  • The Printing Club:

The Printing Club was responsible for producing programs for the various school activities. The Printing Club was not, however, responsible for the printing of Stella Matutina.

  • The Camera Club:

The Camera Club was responsible for photography of the major seminary events and for the displays of the photographs.

  • Third Order of St. Francis:

A spiritual club which met every other week.

  • The Mission Society:

The Mission Society was started at the Seminary in October 1920.[11]


Athletics were a large part of the student life of St. Thomas Seminary. Some of the sports which were played at the original seminary on Collins Street was Basketball and Baseball. Among St. Thomas' biggest rivals was Hartford High School. A Tennis team was started in the Fall of 1924.[12] After moving to its current location in Bloomfield, Basketball was briefly dropped due to a lack of facilities. Other sports however, were added to replace Basketball in the meantime. Among them was Ice Hockey (1932),[13] Bowling (1934),[14] and Golf.

St. Thomas also had intramural sports at the Seminary, which included basketball, baseball, handball, tennis, ice hockey, golf, bowling, touch football, volleyball, softball and billiards. The largest event of the intramural sports was the annual field day, in which each class competed against the other classes.


List of Rectors of St. Thomas Seminary

  • Rt. Rev. John Synnott (1897–1921)
  • Rev. Maurice F. McAuliffe (1921–1934)
  • Rev. Henry J. O'Brien (1934–1940)
  • Rev. Joseph M. Griffin (1940–1947)
  • Rt. Rev. Msgr. Raymond G. LaFontaine (1947–1954)
  • Rt. Rev. Msgr. John J. Byrnes (1954-1967)
  • Rev. James J. Conefrey (1967-1975)
  • Rev. John J. Kiely (1975-1980)
  • Rev. Charles B. Johnson (1980-1985)
  • Rev. Christie A. Macaluso (1985-1991)
  • Rev. Robert A. O'Grady (1991-1996)
  • Rev. Aidan N. Donahue (1996-2001)
  • Rev. Msgr. Gerard G. Schmitz (2001–2014)
  • Most Reverend Christie A. Macaluso (2014-present)


Below are listed the (Arch)Bishops of Hartford whose episcopacy spanned the time of St. Thomas Seminary. Rt. Rev. Michael Tierney (1897–1908)[deceased], Rt. Rev. John J. Nilan (1910–1934)[deceased], Most Rev. Maurice F. McAuliffe (1934–1944)[deceased], Most Rev. Henry J. O'Brien (1945–1969)[deceased], Most Rev. John F. Whealon (1969–1991)[deceased], Most Rev. Daniel A. Cronin (1992-2003), Most Rev. Henry J. Mansell (2003–2013), Most Rev. Leonard P. Blair (2013-present)

Bishop alumni[edit]

Graduates of St. Thomas Seminary who went on to become Bishops:


Archdiocesan Center[edit]

Today, St. Thomas Seminary is known as The Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary and serves as a Retreat and Conference Center for a variety of Roman Catholic and ecumenical, educational and other groups. It also houses the Archbishop O'Brien Library which is open to the public and many of the agencies of The Archdiocese of Hartford.

In 2007, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell dedicated the Archbishop Daniel A. Cronin Residence for retired priests. The suite style apartments were built in what used to be two of the four dormitory halls of the Seminary. The Archbishop Daniel A. Cronin residence, a state of the art resident facility for retired priests, is located here.

The following are Archdiocesan agencies that are housed at the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary:

  • Archbishop's Annual Appeal
  • Black Catholics Ministries
  • Catholic Mutual Insurance Office
  • Catholic Transcript
  • FACS
  • Office of Catholic Schools
  • Charismatic Renewal
  • Diaconate and Diaconate Formation Offices
  • Office for Divine Worship
  • Hispanic Evangelization
  • Metropolitan Tribunal
  • Mission Office
  • Office of Religious Education & Evangelization
  • Small Christian Communities
  • Vicar for Priests
  • Vocations Office
  • Coordinator for Campus Ministry

For more information about The Archdiocesan Center go their website at or to the website of The Archdiocese of Hartford at


  1. ^ Rev. James H. O'Donnell, History of The Diocese of Hartford, 1900, p. 452
  2. ^ Rev. James H. O'Donnell, History of The Diocese of Hartford, 1900, p. 452
  3. ^ Rev. James H. O'Donnell, History of The Diocese of Hartford, 1900, p. 452
  4. ^ St. Thomas Seminary, The Golden Jubilee Celebration of Saint Thomas Seminary, 1947, p. 16
  5. ^ "St. Thomas Seminary Historic Highlights". Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  6. ^ Rev. James H. O'Donnell, History of The Diocese of Hartford, 1900, p. 454
  7. ^ Saint Thomas Seminary Junior College, Program of Studies, 1954, p. 5
  8. ^ St. Thomas Seminary, Stella Matutina, Silver Jubilee 1942, p. 9
  9. ^ St. Thomas Seminary, Stella Matutina, Fall Edition 1917, p. 2
  10. ^ St. Thomas Seminary, Stella Matutina, Graduation 1943, p. 36
  11. ^ St. Thomas Seminary, Stella Matutina, Mid-Year Edition 1921, p. 18
  12. ^ St. Thomas Seminary, Stella Matutina, Fall Edition 1924, p. 47
  13. ^ St. Thomas Seminary, Stella Matutina, Easter Edition 1932, p.57
  14. ^ St. Thomas Seminary, Stella Matutina, Mid-Winter Edition 1934, p.39

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°48′26″N 72°44′00″W / 41.8072°N 72.7334°W / 41.8072; -72.7334