American College of the Immaculate Conception


American College of the Immaculate Conception

The American College of the Immaculate Conception, or the American College at Louvain, is a Roman Catholic seminary in Leuven, Belgium. The College's current rector is Monsignor Ross Shecterle of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.cite web | title=Milwaukee Priest is Named Rector in Louvain| work=Zenit News Agency| url=http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=95417 | accessdate=2007-03-21]

History

The College was founded in 1857 by the bishops of the United States, under the leadership of Bishop Martin J. Spalding of Louisville and Bishop Peter Paul Lefevere of Detroit. Its founding purpose was twofold: to train young European men to serve as missionary priests in North America and to give American seminarians the opportunity to study at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.cite web | title=The American College: A Historical Perspective| work=The American College of Louvain| url=http://www.acl.be/Whoweare/History/history.htm | accessdate=2007-02-22]

The college grew rapidly in its early years, most notably under the lengthy rectorship of John De Neve, the college's second rector. It is estimated that approximately eight hundred priests trained at the American College served in the American missions during the second half of the nineteenth century. They served in dioceses and vicariates all across the United States, and had a huge impact on the young American Church. [Codd, Kevin, and Brian Dick: "The American College of Louvain: America's Seminary in the Heart of Europe", page 47. Peeters, nv, 2007.] Many served as bishops of newly-formed dioceses, including the "Apostle of Alaska" Charles John Seghers; the second archbishop of San Francisco, Patrick Riordan; and the founding bishops of Boise and Helena, Alphonse Glorieux and John Baptist Brondel.

The college continued to train young men for service to the Church in the United States into the twentieth century under the rectorship of Jules De Becker. The seminary remained open even through the First World War, preserving some of the books and treasures of Leuven, including the famous medieval statue of the Sedes Sapientiae, through the conflict and the widely-decried burning of Louvain by German troops. During the war, the college took on the roles of emergency hospital and dispensary of food and clothing, at times helping as many as fifteen hundred people per day. The seminary survived the war and continued to operate until 1939, when it was forced to close just before the Second World War. cite web | title=The American College: A Historical Perspective| work=The American College of Louvain| url=http://www.acl.be/Whoweare/History/history.htm | accessdate=2007-02-22]

, the college has educated and formed hundreds of priests for the Church in the United States. In addition to its primary mission of seminary formation, the American College has expanded to accommodate priests and religious seeking higher education degrees at the university and offers a variety of sabbatical opportunities for priests, religious, and lay ecclesial ministers from around the world.

The college's signature song is a Marian hymn, O Sodales, which dates to 1862.

Location

The American College is located within the city of Leuven, along the Naamsestraat (Dutch: Namur Street). Leuven lies within the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussel, and the Cardinal Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel, Godfried Danneels, is the ordinary.

The college has always had a close relationship with Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, particularly its faculty of theology. KUL's Maria Teresa College, which hosts the faculties of theology and canon law, lies but a five minute walk away from the American College.

Sponsorship and governorship

The seminary is sponsored and overseen by the Catholic bishops of the United States. It is one of only two "national" seminaries for the United States in the sense of sponsorship by the conference of bishops as a whole, the other being the North American College in Rome.

. The college also has an advisory board, made up of both lay and clerical supporters of the college. That advisory board is chaired by Mrs. Kathy Assaf.cite web | title=The American College Boards | work=The American College of Louvain| url=http://www.acl.be/Whoweare/People/boards.htm | accessdate=2007-04-15]

At present, there are thirteen seminarians in formation with the college. Their sponsoring dioceses are: Boise, Butuan, Cheyenne, Congregation of Holy Cross, Madison, Milwaukee, Orange, Portland, Rochester, and Spokane.cite web | title=Residents of the College: Seminary | work=The American College of Louvain| url=http://www.acl.be/Whoweare/People/seminary.htm | accessdate=2007-04-15]

Mission

The primary mission of the American College remains the formation of priests with a missionary spirit. In the years since its founding, the College's alumni have gone forth to serve as many of the priests, professors, and missionaries of the Catholic Church in North America. To this day, the College continues to form and educate young men for the priesthood, primarily for dioceses in the United States. In addition to the classes offered by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the College seminary provides a comprehensive program of human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation for seminarians.

The college also hosts graduate students pursuing higher studies in theology or canon law, sent by their dioceses or religious congregations. For many years, the American College has also run a semester-long sabbatical program for priests, religious, or laity sent by their dioceses or religious congregations. Both the graduate students and sabbaticals take classes through the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven while living at and participating in opportunities provided by the college.

Rectors

* Peter Kindekens, Archdiocese of Detroit, 1857-1860
* John De Neve, Archdiocese of Detroit, 1860-1891
* John Willemsen, Archdiocese of Mechelen, 1891-1898
* Jules De Becker, Archdiocese of Mechelen, 1898-1931
* Pierre de Strycker, Archdiocese of Mechelen, 1931-1939
* Thomas Francis Maloney, Diocese of Providence, 1952-1960
* Paul D. Riedl, Diocese of Springfield, 1960-1970
* Clement E. Pribil, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, 1970-1971
* Raymond Francis Collins, Diocese of Providence, 1971-1978
* William J. Greytak, Diocese of Helena, 1978-1983
* John J. Costanzo, Diocese of Pueblo, 1983-1988
* Thomas P. Ivory, Archdiocese of Newark, 1988-1992
* Melvin T. Long, Diocese of Salina, 1992-1993
* David E. Windsor, Congregation of the Mission, 1993-2001
* Kevin Ambrose Codd, Diocese of Spokane, 2001-2007
* Ross A. Shecterle, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, 2007-

Episcopal Alumni

Over the years, a number of graduates of the American College have been appointed to the
* Charles Albert Buswell, emeritus bishop of Pueblo
* Edward Kenneth Braxton, bishop of Belleville
* Jean-Baptiste Brondel, deceased bishop of Helena
* Ferdinand Brossart, deceased bishop of Covington
* Alphonse Liguori Chaupa, emeritus bishop of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea
* Francis Joseph Christian, auxiliary bishop of Manchester
* Shelton Joseph Fabre, auxiliary bishop of New Orleans
* Joseph John Fox, deceased bishop of Green Bay
* Alphonse Joseph Glorieux, deceased bishop of Boise
* Francis Janssens, deceased archbishop of New Orleans
* Aegididus Junger, deceased bishop of Nesqually
* Jean-Nicolas Lemmens, deceased bishop of Vancouver Island
* Stephen Aloysius Leven, deceased bishop of San Angelo
* Camillus Paul Maes, deceased bishop of Covington
* Thomas Francis Maloney, deceased auxiliary bishop of Providence and sixth rector of the American College
* Russell Joseph McVinney, deceased bishop of Providence, influential in reopening the college in 1952
* Theophile Meerschaert, deceased bishop of Oklahoma
* Robert Edward Mulvee, emeritus bishop of Providence
* John Joseph O'Connor, deceased bishop of Newark
* Bertram Orth, deceased bishop of Victoria
* David Laurin Ricken, bishop of Cheyenne and chair of the college's board of directors
* Patrick William Riordan, deceased archbishop of San Francisco
* Charles-Jean Seghers, deceased archbishop of Oregon City/bishop of Vancouver Island and Apostle of Alaska
* John Lancaster Spalding, deceased bishop of Peoria
* William Stang, deceased bishop of Fall River
* Augustine Van de Vyver, deceased bishop of Richmond

External links

* [http://www.acl.be/ The American College at Louvain Official Website]
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01424a.htm 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia Entry]

References


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