ST. 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 St. 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 Bp. 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 Bp. 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.
St. 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. St. Mary Seminary became a fully accredited member of the Assn. of Theological Schools in 1971.
In Sept. 1990 the Ansel Rd. building was vacated, as the graduate dept. joined the undergraduate program at Borromeo, where it is housed in the CENTER FOR PASTORAL LEADERSHIP. Its 5-year program offered courses in theology and other subjects necessary for successful ministerial work. As of 2019, the former seminary building on Ansel Rd. provided transitional housing for women in recovery from chemical addiction.
Updated by Marian Morton
Archives, Diocese of Cleveland.