Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology has grown out of
the school first established here in 1857 by Benedictine monks who
came from the Swiss Abbey of Einsiedeln to establish a seminary in
As its Swiss founders noted, the purpose of the foundation was
that: "Young men are to be educated for the sacred ministry… and,
having completed the course of studies, are to be placed at the
disposal of the Bishops of that country." (Letter of Abbot Henry
Schmid, OSB, of Einsiedeln to Pope Pius IX, October 6, 1852, as
quoted in the History of Saint Meinrad
Archabbey by Albert Kleber, OSB, 1954).
From 1857 until 1861, only secondary education was provided.
Beginning with the academic year of 1861, complete commercial,
classical, philosophical and theological courses were offered.
Since the original faculty consisted of priests from the Swiss
monastic school of Einsiedeln, the traditions of the European
schools were made the basis of the cultural and educational program
of the new school.
After the original buildings were destroyed by fire
in 1887, the commercial courses were transferred to the nearby
Jasper Academy, which was the forerunner of Marmion Military
Academy and Abbey at Aurora, Illinois (1935). The newly built
school at Saint Meinrad limited itself to educating candidates for
the Roman Catholic priesthood.
The school was organized, according to the decrees of the
Councils of Trent and Baltimore, into major and minor seminary
programs. The minor seminary consisted of four years of high school
and two years of liberal arts. Major seminary training consisted of
two years of philosophy and four years of theology.
In 1959, the schools were reorganized into the familiar pattern:
high school, college and theologate. At that time, each school was
separately incorporated in the State of Indiana. The Seminary and
School of Theology has been a fully accredited member of the
Association of Theological Schools since 1969. In 1979, the North
Central Association also accredited the school.
The most recent comprehensive evaluation by the Association of
Theological Schools and the North Central Association occurred in
2004. This evaluation reaffirmed accreditation for 10 years and
continued full approval for the Master of Divinity, Master of
Theological Studies, and Master of Arts (Catholic Thought and Life)