St. Mary's Seminary is the first Roman Catholic seminary in the nation: rich in tradition while focused on priestly preparation for the 21st-century.
These pages provide information on the history, personnel, environment, and formation (in the Sulpician tradition) at St. Mary's.
The three pages in this section of our site touch on the very basics of the formation process.
A major part of priestly formation is intellectual formation, accomplished through the pursuit of academic degrees.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute (EI) was founded in 1968 by St. Mary’s Seminary & University, America’s oldest Roman Catholic seminary, in cooperation with ecumenical leaders. St. Mary’s is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The Ecumenical Institute encourages people of all denominations to explore theological studies in a serious, open-minded, and supportive environment.
All EI programs are available wherever you are - on campus in Baltimore, and on-line.
The Ecumenical Institute invites people of all denominations into theological study that pursues excellence and promotes ecumenical understanding and respect.
All EI programs are available wherever you are - on campus in Baltimore, and on-line.
St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute has a rolling admissions policy. Students may apply at any time for admission by submitting the appropriate materials.
The Ecumenical Institute offers accredited graduate theological programs for two master’s degrees, several graduate certificates, and introductory explorations.
The post-master’s Certificate of Advanced Studies in Theology (CAS) is designed for individuals who possess a master’s degree in theology (e.g., MAT.), ministry (e.g., MACM), divinity (e.g., MDiv), or a related field and who desire to continue their theological education with a general or focused program of study.
The Doctor of Ministry program roots ministry in the mission of God, the ways God is working in your context, in your ministry, and in you.
Students have a host of resources available to support their theological education, from free parking and a great library to writing assistance and advising.
St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute offers accredited graduate theological education that is intellectually rigorous, personally enriching, and professionally empowering.
More than 750 alums of St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute are making a difference in Baltimore, in Maryland and D.C., West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and around the world.
General communication and individual contacts
It is the mission of the Center for Continuing Formation to encourage bishops, priests, deacons, and lay ecclesial ministers to engage in human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral growth and to enable processes of growth that are ongoing, complete, systemic, and personalized.
Conference space rentals include a large room that will seat as many as 58 and smaller rooms that will seat from 4 to 30.
St. Mary's Center for Continuing Formation offers and hosts a variety of continuing formation programs for priests in the spirit of the Bishops' new Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests.
St. Mary’s Seminary & University’s Pinkard Scholars is the cornerstone of Youth Theological Studies at SMSU.
For more information about any of our conference facilities or space rentals, please contact our offices directly.
The Marion Burk Knott Library of St. Mary’s Seminary and University is the largest specialized theological library in the Baltimore area, with additional materials in the areas of philosophy, psychology, pastoral counseling and church history, among others. The library receives over 390 periodicals and maintains a collection of 20,000 volumes of bound periodicals. Other holdings include newspapers, microfilm, and audio-visual materials.
The Associated Archives at St. Mary’s Seminary & University opened in the spring of 2002. Located on the campus of the nation’s first Roman Catholic seminary, this program brings together the archives of the Archdiocese of Baltimore (est. 1789), St. Mary’s Seminary & University (est. 1791), and the Associated Sulpicians of the United States (U.S. Province est. 1903), making it one of the most significant repositories for records relating to the early history of the Catholic Church in the United States.
Click here for more information about hours and visitor policies.
This section was created to provide researchers with a brief description of the open collections in the archives of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, St. Mary's Seminary & University, and the Associated Sulpicians of the United States.
The Associated Archives at St. Mary’s Seminary & University has developed a genealogical policy responsive to individuals researching their Catholic roots.
We facilitate personal integration of the human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral dimensions necessary for authentic priestly witness and service in the image of Jesus Christ.
When the Archdiocese of Baltimore was established at the end of the eighteenth century, it was estimated that twenty percent of Maryland’s Catholic population was black. Many had been here for several generations, descendants of Africans who had been brought here enslaved. Others had arrived recently as immigrants, including a number who were refugees from the Haitian Revolution. Black Catholics have always been a diverse and significant part of Maryland’s Catholic community, comprised initially of both free and enslaved who spoke several languages and observed different cultural traditions. All made important contributions to the development of the Catholic Church here.
When researching your black Catholic ancestors, the most valuable resource for locating information are the sacramental registers maintained by the parishes of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. In these records one will find such information as the names of the individuals who received the sacrament, parent and sponsor information, and dates the sacraments were performed. When available, other types of church records, including census, confraternity, and parish directories, can also be helpful in locating family members. Examples of different types of church records that can be found in our holdings have been included for you below.
For those researching ancestors who were enslaved, the challenges can seem daunting, but each year more resources are being made available. A list to assist those researching their Maryland roots can be found below. They range from genealogy workshops prepared specifically for those interested in tracing their African American ancestors to historic newspapers and city directories to military records.
Archdiocese of Baltimore (Maryland counties of Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, and Washington)
In 2018, the Archdiocese of Baltimore initiated a project to digitize its sacramental registers in a public/private partnership with the leading family history website FindMyPast. Records over 100 years old are being made available to researchers through the Catholic Heritage Archive, where they can be viewed for free. Records currently unavailable through Catholic Heritage Archives can be accessed on microfilm. Please see the main Genealogy page for more detailed information.
Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. (Maryland counties of Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s)
The sacramental registers of the following parishes can be found on microfilm at the Maryland State Archives: St. Ignatius Church, Port Tobacco (Charles County) and St. Mary’s of the Mills, Laurel (Prince George’s). Individuals will need to contact all other parishes directly for assistance: Parish Contact Information.
Transcriptions of early sacramental records for St. Mary’s County can be found in:
Edwin Warfield Beitzell’s The Jesuit Missions of St. Mary’s County, Maryland, 1960, 1975, 1976.
Agnes Kane Callum’s Flower of the Forest Black Genealogical Journal (1982-1998)
The early sacramental records for Holy Trinity Church, Washington, D.C., have been digitized and are available through Georgetown University.
Diocese of Wilmington (Maryland counties of Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester)
The Diocese of Wilmington has made available online baptismal and marriage records through 1900 and burials at diocesan cemeteries.
Transcriptions of early sacramental records for these counties can be found in:
F. Edward Wright’s Vital Records of the Jesuit Missions of the Eastern Shore, 1760-1800, 1986.
Joseph C. Cann’s History of Saint Francis Xavier Church and Bohemia Plantation Now Known as Old Bohemia, 1976.
The sacramental registers of the following parish can be found on microfilm at the Maryland State Archives: St. Joseph’s Church, Cordova (Talbot).
Examples of different types of church records.
Click on the image to see a larger version of the file. Click here for information on the documents.
Society of the Holy Family Easter Duty List St. Peter’s pro-Cathedral
Membership List, St. Mary’s Seminary Chapel Marriage Records
1842-1845 1810-1811 1791-1792
Black Catholic Parishes in the Archdiocese of Baltimore
If you are uncertain which parish your ancestors may have attended, a list of current and historic parishes has been compiled by county.
Maryland State Archives
Anne Arundel County Public Library
Baltimore City Archives
University of Maryland Libraries
Enoch Pratt Free Library
National Archives and Records Administration
Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc. – Central Maryland Chapter
Maryland Genealogical and Historical Societies
Last Seen: Finding Families after Slavery
Free African Americans in VA, NC, SC, MD, and DE
Digital Library of American Slavery
History of Slavery – Maryland
Guide to the History of Slavery – Maryland
Legacy of Slavery – Maryland
Slavery Commission – Maryland
Freedmen and Southern Society Project
Patriots of Color Database – American Revolution
If you have a valid library card, a number of regional and national newspapers can be accessed through the public library system, including the Baltimore Afro American for the years 1893-1988 and the Baltimore Sun for the years 1837-1991.
The Maryland State Archives has digitized a number of newspapers that have been published over the state’s history, which can be accessed through their website: historic newspapers.
Agnes Kane Callum, Flower of the Forest Black Genealogical Journal, c. 1982-1998.
Ralph Clayton, Free Blacks of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, 1850. Heritage Books, 1987.
Ralph Clayton, Black Baltimore, 1820-1870, Heritage Books, 1997.
Ralph Clayton, Slavery, Slaveholding, and the Free Black Population of Antebellum Baltimore. Heritage Books, 1987.
Paul Heinegg, Free African Americans of Maryland and Delaware From the Colonial Period to 1810. Clearfield, 2000. See his website for the most up-to-date information.
Jerry M. Hynson, Free African Americans of Maryland 1832, Including: Allegany, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s and St. Mary’s Counties. Heritage Books, 2009.
James M. Rose, Alice Eichholz, Black Genesis: A Resource Book for African-American Genealogy. 2d ed.; Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2003