For almost four hundred years the Royal Scots College in Spain has been receiving men from Scotland, training them to serve as priests and then sending them back to serve in dioceses and parishes the length and breadth of Scotland.
Founded in Madrid in 1627, the College moved to the more northern Spanish city of Valladolid in 1771 and finally, in 1988, moved to the university city of Salamanca, where it has remained ever since.
See “History of the College” for more.
However, in the light of falling numbers entering seminary, the College ceased to function as a full-time seminary in 2004.
In light of this fact, the College widened its scope of activities in the service of the Catholic Church in Scotland, serving as a venue for many people, offering:
- Retreats – for small groups and parishes;
- Courses – for formation and spiritual growth, especially for clergy;
- Conferences – for education and information;
- Pilgrimages – for individuals and parishes;
However, it was established as a seminary and is recognised as such by both Canon and Spanish Civil Law. Hence its primary function will always be the formation of priests: it has been closely involved in the “Seminary Applicants’ Year” (SAY), offering from 2010 until 2015 a month’s preparation for those about to enter seminary formation for the dioceses of Scotland; it has offered and hosted courses, conferences and retreats for both seminarians and priests alike, including Holy Week retreats for the students of the Pontifical Scots College in Rome and, until closure in 2009, Scotus College, the National Seminary in Glasgow (see picture below).
In Janury 2016, the College once again became home to priestly formation, as it embarked on a new venture at the direction of the Scottish Bishops: a six-month Initial Seminary Formation course (“Propaedeutic Course”) for those who have been accepted to begin priestly formation for the dioceses and archdioceses of Scotland.
See “Propaedeutic Course” for more.
As the seminary course will only last six months, the College has an availability beyond that period. And so, it is our sincere hope that the College can continue to offer itself to the Church in Scotland in the future for these wider goals. See “Visiting the College” for more.