St. Mary’s Seminary

St. Mary’s Seminary officially began on October 16, 1791. It was originally a three-story brick building called One Mile Tavern on what is now known as Pennsylvania Avenue. It was opened with Fr. Francis Charles Naget serving as both rector and superior of the Sulpician community. It was opened in hopes of producing clergy to assist the newly formed diocese in Baltimore. However, that was not the case. Of the five seminarians who began their education at St. Mary’s Seminary in 1791, only two were ordained. Of those two, one died shortly after his ordination, and the other returned to France three years later. In fact, by 1800, fourteen men had enrolled at St. Mary’s Seminary but only five had actually been ordained and the seminary was once again empty.

Over the next few years, the numbers started to grow very slowly. In 1808, St. Mary’s seminary had a total enrollment of 23 students. Two years later, John Mary Tessier took over as rector of the seminary and as superior to the American Sulpicians.

At Archbishop Maréchal̵