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Seminary Planned

Father Michael Gallagher, who succeeded Father Stillinger as pastor of Saint Vincent Parish, had been a missionary priest in western Pennsylvania since his ordination in 1837.

Shortly after his arrival at Saint Vincent Parish, Father Gallagher became a party to the renewal of a plan that a minor seminary be established at Saint Vincent. He proposed that a community of religious brothers be engaged to work the land of the Sportsman's Hall tract, and in this way support not only themselves but also the students who would attend the minor seminary.

Nothing came of this proposal but Bishop O'Connor was supportive of Father Gallagher. Bishop O'Connor, however, was convinced that the success of this proposed school would depend not so much on the brothers as upon the priests who would be placed in charge. But Bishop O'Connor also realized that he would need help from outside of the Diocese of Pittsburgh to supply the number of priests that such a venture would require. And so it was that Bishop O'Connor, in April 1845, contacted Bishop John Baptist Purcell of the Diocese of Cincinnati, who had offered, on one or two previous occasions, to join with Bishop O'Connor in the establishment of a minor seminary program.

In a letter, dated April 30, 1845, Bishop O'Connor reminded Bishop Purcell of this offer and then extended to him an invitation to join the Saint Vincent venture on a partnership basis. The immediate result was that Bishop Purcell loaned Father Joseph O'Meally to work with Father Gallagher toward the establishment of this minor seminary. The two pursued the project for more than a year but made little progress. It was at about this time that Bishop O'Connor learned about the impending arrival of Father Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B., and his band of eighteen followers to Pennsylvania, a coming that would alter plans for the Sportsman's Hall tract.

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