Since its foundation in 1861, Immaculate Conception Seminary has educated and formed thousands of priests for several dozen dioceses and religious communities. For more than 40 years it also has provided academic and spiritual formation for hundreds of lay leaders and deacons. Its distinguished faculty and alumni have served the local, national, and universal Church in many positions of leadership. With the exception of the period from 1927 to 1984, when it was located at Darlington in Mahwah, New Jersey, the Seminary has been an integral part of Seton Hall University.
Faithful to its mission throughout its history, Immaculate Conception Seminary has responded to the changing needs of the Church. It has experienced the myriad changes of a century and a half and its student body and faculty have reflected and continue to reflect the changing mosaic of the People of God who are the Church in the United States.Seminary life itself has experienced quite diverse expressions. For its first five years, it was housed in a converted mansion on Seton Hall’s South Orange campus. When this building was destroyed by fire, it moved into a new (1866) brownstone Gothic Revival building that was the centerpiece of the campus. There it remained for more than 60 years, its students a part of campus and village life. The 1927 move to Darlington brought a very different style, with a schedule and isolation reminiscent of a monastery.
The Seminary’s return to Seton Hall in 1984 has enabled its students and faculty to share the benefits of a major Catholic university – academic excellence, state-of-the-art technology, professional facilities – while retaining the intimate community life necessary for spiritual formation program and growth. Its location is convenient for commuter students and accessible to pastoral opportunities for the seminarians.
The past is prologue. Immaculate Conception Seminary is proud of its history and looks forward to the future with confidence.
Scholars may research the history of Immaculate Conception Seminary in the Special Collections Division of Seton Hall University’s Walsh Library. The Special Collections Division houses the Archives of ICS and the Archives of the Archdiocese of Newark. The Newark Archives include the papers of all the Bishops and Archbishops of Newark from James Roosevelt Bayley to John Joseph Myers.