“St Joseph’s College is a former Roman Catholic seminary in Up Holland, Lancashire, England. The foundation of the large building was laid in April 1880 and college was opened in 1883. The buildings have since been deconsecrated. St Joseph’s College was founded in 1880 by Bishop Bernard O’Reilly to be the Seminary serving the North West of England. On St. Joseph’s Day, 19 March 1880 Dr. O’Reilly blessed and laid the foundation stone of the new college.
St Joseph’s, usually referred to by its students simply as “Up Holland”, was one of two main seminaries serving the north of England. Up Holland served the northwest and Ushaw College the northeast. For many years, each of these institutions housed both a junior (minor) and a senior (major) seminary. The junior seminaries provided a secondary education in a semi-monastic environment to boys aged 11–18 who wished to pursue the priesthood, while the senior seminaries trained adult candidates, mostly aged between 18 and 24, in philosophy and theology, preparing them for the priesthood. A detailed account of daily life in the junior seminary at Up Holland during the 1960s, Boys of the Cloth, was published in 2012. This also explores the reasons why the Church’s traditional form of seminary training may have predisposed some priests to molest children, which was one of the key findings of a major investigation conducted on behalf of American bishops into the causes of the sexual abuse crisis within the Catholic Church in the United States.
Although Up Holland flourished until the 1960s, the rapidly changing social climate in that decade led to a sharp drop in enrolment. In the early 1970s, the northern bishops decided to consolidate the activities of Up Holland and Ushaw; from 1972 all junior seminarians in the north attended Up Holland, and from 1975 all senior seminarians attended Ushaw. Even as the sole junior seminary for the north of England, however, Up Holland continued to suffer a decline in numbers, and by the 1980s it was no longer described as a traditional junior seminary but as a “boarding school for boys considering a vocation”. In 1986, the total number of students was down to 82, of whom only 54 were Church students, and it was no longer considered viable to educate them on the premises. From 1987, the remaining students continued to live at Up Holland but for classes attended St John Rigby College in nearby Orrell, an arrangement that continued until the last of these students left Up Holland in 1992.”
Explored: January 2020
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