BY SCO Admin | July 31 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

11 Eilean Ban Loch Morar

300th anniversary of first seminary on to be marked with open-air Mass

The Eilean Ban college was opened in Scotland in 1714 and trained priests during a period of Catholic persecution

The 300th anniversary of the formation of the first seminary on British soil will be celebrated in the beautiful surroundings of Loch Morar (above) next week.

Parishioners from dioceses across Scotland will travel to the Scottish Highlands to join Argyll and the Isles Diocese for the celebration of an open-air Mass.

The Eilean Ban seminary was opened in 1714, but faced a difficult existence during a period in Scottish history were Catholics were persecuted under the Penal Laws. After just two years, the seminary was destroyed following the Jacobite Rising. The seminary would re-open almost two decades later to train Highland, Gaelic speaking priests, before closing again in 1738. The seminary building was later razed to the ground by soldiers following the Battle of Culloden.

The outdoor Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday August 6 at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and St Cumin, Morar. A reception will be held at Mallaig and Morar Community Centre following Mass.

A history of the seminary has been written by Fr Michael MacDonald, parish priest of St Michael’s Church, Ardkenneth, South Uist.

“A variety of frustrating delays meant that the seminary was not opened until July 1714,” he writes. “Eilean Ban had been chosen as the location because it enjoyed the protection of the local chief, MacDonald of Morar. It was safe and secluded but it also afforded that separation from ‘the world’ which The Council of Trent had deemed was so necessary for the training of priests.”

Fr MacDonald also adds that the seminary’s approach was modelled on that of the Scots College in Paris and writes that ‘most of those who entered Eilean Ban persevered to a heroic extent.’


—The anniversary Mass will be held on August 6 at 1pm at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and St Cumin, Morar. A walk to the church will take place at 11am, with those who can make it are asked to meet at St Patrick’s Church, Mallaig.





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