This academic year, the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas had 91 graduate seminarians studying for the priesthood, the largest enrollment since 1981, and enrollment is anticipated to grow again this fall. To accommodate the growing number of seminarians, the seminary is pursuing off-campus housing at the Church of St. Mark convent at Dayton and Moore avenues in St. Paul.
“This medium-term solution gives us the time we need to study enrollment trends and develop a plan to manage our enrollment levels,” said Monsignor Aloysius Callaghan, rector of the seminary. “We are grateful that St. Mark’s has offered to lease space to us to meet our housing needs.” The seminary has no plans to expand or build.
Up to 24 seminarians and one priest would live in the St. Mark’s convent. The convent will be renovated this summer in time for a late-August move-in. Seminarians will occupy the second and third floors; the parish will continue to use the first floor for its parish offices.
St. Mark’s has applied for a Conditional Use Permit from the city of St. Paul to allow for the new use of its property. Parish and seminary officials are working with the city, the Union Park District Council and the St. Mark’s neighborhood to obtain approval and support needed for the project.