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Supplementary Entrance Examination holds Sat,5th September 2020. Forms are available at the Seminary. Centre for examination: Seminary Compound Only. The examination starts at 10:00 A.M.
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ishop de Marion Bresillac who founded the Society of African Mission (S.M.A.) in 1856 had the establishment of indigenous clergy as number one priority. He said, “it is pure dream, more brilliant than solid to think of converting any people without a native clergy,” He believed, taught and emphasized that candidates from the country must be selected, trained and ordained.     

In the year 1884, two Priests of the Society of African Missions, Fr. Jean-Baptiste Chausse (who later became the first vicar-Apostolic of the Coast of Benin Vicariate Apostolic in 1891) and Theodore Holley (who died in Lagos in 1885), travelled from Oyo to Ibadan with a view to opening a mission in the town. However, due to the opposition of Adeyemi I, the Oba of Oyo, a whole decade was to pass before a new effort could be made. 

In 1894, Fr. Pied came to Ibadan to look for land and he was joined later by Fr. Barbaglia. At first the Baale refused to give a permanent site but eventually the people persuaded him and he offered the two priests, who were living in a bamboo hut, the “bad bush” at the summit of Oke-Are, hoping they would refuse as it was regarded, and the first Catholic mission in Ibadan was established.

            After Fr. Pied and Fr. Barbaglia was transferred in 1895, their places was taken by Fr. Isidor Klaus and Fr. Oster who continued to build up the mission. A new house was completed in 1897 and the priests began to teach local children and also to attend to the sick.

            In 1898, Fr. Kluas was transferred to Lagos, (In 1904 he became a bishop and second Vicar Apostolic of the Gold Coast, now Ghana). Fr. Klaus’ successor at Oke-Are was Fr. Joseph Gorju. It was he who built the first chapel, still existing, which was opened in 1900, the money having been collected by Fr. Klaus from Catholics in Switzerland. In 1903, a small school by building was erected and it became the forerunner of the primary school building that now cluster at the base of the seminary campus at Oke-Are. The cost of erecting this little school was paid for by Lagos and Ibadan Catholics and by Lebanese traders who had made their home in Ibadan.

            Another priest who resided at Oke-Are for a short time was Fr. Ferrerio who was ordained to the priesthood in Lagos by Bishop Lang and was probably thus first priest to be ordained in Nigeria in modern times. He was buried in Oke-Are in 1911 having died of fever at the age of 29. He was at that time assistant to Fr. Friess in Ogunpa which was opened as a new mission in 1907 because it was more accessible and more central than Oke-Are.

            As early as 1901, Seminarians were taken into Oke-Are but they did not persevere so a new beginning was made in 1908 under Fr. Jean Oge (He later became Prefect Apostolic of Liberia in 1911). The Seminary began with two students but both left before completing their course. However, by 1914, the number of Seminarians had increased to 29 but most of them did not persevere.

            By the early twenties, Oke-Are was functioning in a triple capacity, as a Teachers’ Training College, as a Catechists’ Training Centre and as a Minor Seminary. It was called St. Augustine’s Teacher Training College. When St. Gregory’s College was opened in 1928, the Teachers’ Training College was moved from Ibadan to Lagos and Oke-Are, under the new name of St. Theresa’s Seminary, reverted to its former function of preparing boys for the Catholic priesthood. Fr. Eugene Schaeffer was in charge with Mr. Carlos Jolasun as assistant. Mr. Jolasun was the first in 1908 to enroll as a seminarian but family pressure obliged him to discontinue. He taught in the seminary from 1915 – 1938 and was buried at Oke-Are. Also on the staff in the 1920’s were Chief Odunjo and Chief Fabunmi.

            On August 18, 1929, at Lagos, the first three Yoruba priests were ordained. They were – the late Msgr. Oni, the late Msgr, Adewuyi and the late Msgr. Layode. All passed through Oke-Are and all served on the staff for a period of time.

            In 1931, Fr. Pat Hurst was appointed as a superior. He was assisted by Fr. Adewuyi and Mr. Jolasun. There were 25 students among whom were John Aggey, later Archbishop of Lagos; Anthony Sanusi, who taught in the Seminary and later became Bishop of Ijebu-Ode; A. Oguntuyi, J. Akinwale and P. Omole, all of whom were subsequently ordained to the priesthood. And Pedro Martins, later to become Msgr and senior military chaplain.

            In 1936, the Minor Seminary at Asaba was merged with Oke-Are. From 1955 onwards, however, many dioceses started their own minor seminaries and Oke-Are began to cater primarily for the diocese of Lagos, Ijebu-Ode and Ibadan, with one or two students still coming from the North of Nigeria and even Liberia.

            In 1953, when Fr. Richard Finn, who resided for ten years at Oke-Are, was appointed Perfect Apostolic of Ibadan, a new building programme was begun. New dormitories, a hall and science laboratories were built, the foundation for the new Father’s house was laid in 1958 and the new chapel was in 1965. More classrooms were added in 1970. The minor seminarians even helped with the clearing of the bush for the major seminary before construction began there in 1956. An eminent visitor to the seminary on 30th July 1962 was Cardinal Montini, Archbishop of Milan and late Pope Paul VI. By 1970, St. Theresa’s had more than 200 students.

            Oke-Are has given no less than 16 bishops (including Bishop Dalieh of Liberia and Cardinal Tumi of Cameroun) and 150 priests to the Church. Other notable Alumni of the Seminary were Felix Ajakaye (Bishop of Ekiti Diocese), Felix Alaba Job who later became Rector of Oke-Are Seminary and Archbishop of Ibadan, Most Rev. Dr. Peter Odetoyinbo (Former Teacher Oke-Are and Bishop of Abeokuta), Anthony Cardinal Okogie and Alfred Adewale Martins (Emeritus Archbishop and Current Archbishop of Lagos).

            Among list of Rectors in recent days were: Very Rev. Fr. Fintan Daly SMA (Till 1989), Msgr Jerome Oduntan (Till 1997), Fr. Patrick Obayomi (1997 – 2004), Fr. Lawrence Nwachukwu (2004 – 2011) and Fr. Peter Onabamiro (2011 – date). Other priest formators were: Fr. Phonsie Flatley SMA (Vice-Rector – Till 2005), Fr. Patrick Odediran of Ibadan (Spiritual Director – Till 2008), Fr. Felix Akinyode (Spiritual Director – Till 2011), Fr. Clement Olaniyan (Current Vice Rector) and Fr. Eugene Egbe (Current Spiritual Director).

Oke Are has obtained excellence in both the academic and sporting spheres and is rated as one of the top schools in the State. In the 1960s, the seminary had excellent football teams which had notable victories over Government College, Loyola, Fatima and St. Patrick’s. In the 1970s, basketball and handball came to the fore, culminating in a double victory in 1979 when the seminary handball team won the Oyo State league and the basketball team won the Oyo State Championship. In 1990 and 1991, the Seminary won the Oyo State Volleyball Championship. In 2013, the Seminary won Oyo State Volleyball and Basketball Championships and also represented the State in the National Volleyball Competition which saw us 2nd Best Team after the Host State, Abuja. The success story still continues till date as the Seminary proves superiority in sports, academics, moral and complete formation of young mind in transit to the Major Seminary.

            May all who come here continue to work and pray for vocations and for the happy repose of the souls of all the deceased who labored to make St. Theresa’s Catholic Minor Seminary what it is today. Amen.


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