St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and Haverford

St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 2014 – MontCo Planning Commission via Wikimedia Commons

St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, located at 100 East Wynnewood Road near Lankenau Hospital and City Ave, was founded in 1832 by Reverend Francis Patrick Kenrick, third Bishop of Philadelphia. Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary is the oldest Catholic institution of higher learning in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Haverford grad Mickey Fairorth ’19, a former Key Man, is a current student at the seminary and will graduate in 2028 to become a Catholic priest. 

In his vocation story shared on the Heed the Call website, Fairorth reflected on how the change of environment that Haverford provided for him as a Third Former new to the school led him down a path of faith, which led him to seminary. 

The St. Charles Seminary will leave its home of almost 200 years for a new location at Gwynedd Mercy University. The change stems from Former Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who approved the seminary Board of Trustees’ decision in 2016 to sell St. Charles Seminary and instead seek a partnership with a local Catholic college. 

Subsequently, the campus was sold to Main Line Health in May 2019. The seminary signed a statement of intent with Gwynedd Mercy University in late 2020 to investigate the prospect of acquiring a section of the land. The resulting agreement includes 15 acres on the northern edge of Gwynedd’s campus and two existing structures. Both schools thanked the Maguire Foundation for a $3 million contribution to Gwynedd Mercy University, which will be added to the seminary’s $10 million purchase price. 

The relocation plan has two phases, the first having commenced this past December. This phase consists of a new chapel, as well as a student life center with a refectory, classrooms, library, administrative offices, fitness facility, and living spaces for seminarians and resident teachers. The second phase will begin in late Spring 2023, though plans have not been announced. Both schools will remain independent despite being on the same campus.