Trivia about the Colegio de San Jose – San Jose Seminary
In 1601 the Jesuit Vice-Provincial, Fr. Diego Garcia founded the Colegio de San Jose and placed Fr. Pedro Chirino as its first rector. As later authorized by both the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, the purpose of this college was “to train ministers of the gospel.” This was the start of the modem San Jose Seminary. Classes opened on August 1, 1601, and on August 25 of the same year the college received full approval.
In 1623 Pope Gregory XV made public a decree issued dated July 9, 1621 and endorsed by King Philip IV of Spain on February 1622 giving the Society of Jesus the permission to grant degrees to the students. Support for the college came from various sources, two of the more important came from Captain Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa and Don Jose Cabral, bishop-elect of Nueva Caceres. In 1722, King Philip V granted the college the title Colegio Real extending to it the singular privilege of placing the royal coat of arms over the front door. This was in recognition of the special esteem the college had from both the civil and ecclesiastical authorities.
In 1768 the Society of Jesus was expelled from the Philippines, but the college continued to function under the secular clergy, most of whom were alumni of the college. ln 1875 the Dominican Order of the University of Sto. Tomas took over the administration of the college until 1910 when the college was returned to the Jesuits. In 1915 the Seminary of San Jose resumed the work of training a priesthood for the Philippines. Then came the ll World War. The seminarians had to move from place to place to seek for safety but as soon as the war was over, the seminary lost no time in calling back its students.
Today San Jose Seminary continues to be and inter-diocesan seminary located in the Ateneo University complex at Loyola Heights. Its long history has produced alumni that include bishops, secular and religious clergy.
Somehow the greatness of nation has its historical roots in the religious formation that its forefathers founded. San Jose is proud to have been a significant player in the early history of the Philippines and in the development of the Christian formation of our people. For 400 years lhe seminary with its mentors, the Jesuits, has placed its best efforts and choicest talents in forming priests dedicated to the Christian service as servants of God.