The “Grand Seminaire” of Pondicherry
When the Society of Jesus was suppressed in 1773, the Carnatic, Madura and Mysore Missions in India were entrusted to the care of the Paris Foreign Mission Society (MEP). To cater to the spiritual needs of these missions and to foster indigenous vocations to priesthood, the Paris Foreign Mission Society started a Seminary in 1778, at Ulgarpet, about 2 miles away from the town of Pondicherry. Rev. Fr. Busson, the ex-Jesuit, was made the first Rector of this Seminary. After him, Fr. Magny took charge of the Seminary and stayed for 40 years as Rector. It was in 1788 that the first ordination to priesthood took place.
St. Joseph’s Seminary
In 1790, the Seminary was transferred to Pondicherry itself for the sake of better accommodation and other facilities. The Seminary took the name of “St. Joseph”. At the end of 40 years of Rectorship, Fr. Magny could count 13 ordained priests among the students. The First Synod of Pondicherry took place in 1844 and opened the way for further steady progress of the Seminary. In the first 100 years of existence (1778-1878), the Seminary had given 49 indigenous priests to the Church.
St. Joseph’s Provincial Seminary, Pondicherry
In 1850, the Apostolic Vicariate of the Coromandel Coast was bifurcated into the Apostolic Vicariates of Pondicherry, Coimbatore and Mysore. In 1886 they were erected into the Archdiocese of Pondicherry and the dioceses of Coimbatore and Mysore online without prescription. In 1899 the new diocese of Kumbakonam was carved out of the Archdiocese of Pondicherry. The Bishops of these dioceses had decided to send all their Seminarians to the “Grand Seminaire” of Pondicherry, so that there could be common training with the economy of Staff. Then onwards this “Grand Seminaire” was considered as Provincial Seminary of these dioceses.
Expansion of the Seminary
With the passage of time, the number of seminarians increased steadily and the problem of accommodation began to be acutely felt. This led ultimately to draw up plans for the construction of a new separate block for theology section.
In September 1960, the Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Pothacamury, the then Archbishop of Bangalore, blessed the new extension in the presence of Cardinal Agagianian, the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide, and the first batch of 19 Deacons moved to the new block. When the building of the entire Theology Section was completed in 1966, the new elegant chapel was consecrated by His Excellency the Most Rev. Dr. James R. Knox, the then Internuncio to India.