The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate came to Texas in 1849, at the urgent request of Texas’ first Roman Catholic Bishop, to preach Christ’s message and to serve the People of God, especially the poor and marginalized.
Oblate School of Theology was founded in San Antonio in 1903 as the San Antonio Philosophical and Theological Seminary. The School’s initial goal and mission was to educate young men to serve as Oblate missionaries in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Mexico and the Philippines.
Today, Oblate School of Theology prepares men for priesthood from many dioceses across the United States and a number of religious communities. Roman Catholic men and women and those from other Christian traditions are present on campus as the School also prepares men and women religious as well as laity from Catholic and other Christian traditions for a variety of ministries.
The early spirit and motivation of the pioneering missionaries to be of service to the church in the cultural context where faith is lived and expressed is still a driving force for Oblate School of Theology. It understands preparation for mission and ministry as the actual integration of pastoral experience and theological study.
In 1981, Oblate School of Theology began the Ministry to Ministers program. The program is a four month intensive spiritual and theological sabbatical experience for priests and religious men and women who have been in ministry for a number of years. The Lay Ministry Institute opened its doors in 1982, and the Instituto de Formación Pastoral in 1985. These two programs prepare candidates theologically and spiritually in certificate programs for pastoral lay ministry. In 1992, the Oblate School of Theology assumed the responsibility for the Oblate Renewal Center (formerly Casa San José). Through its facilities, the Center offers a variety of programs to respond to the needs of the local church.
The School recognizes the many ethnic groups present in the Southwest and the United States as a whole, reflecting the reality of the world church. In the Southwest, understanding ministry within its proper cultural context is particularly relevant to the Mexican-American community and heritage. There are distinct challenges, for example, of the Mexican-American in predominantly Anglo-American institutions as well as those of the Anglo-American preparing for ministry to predominantly Mexican-Americans. The School’s programs utilize the Hispanic cultural environment of San Antonio to learn from and to prepare students to minister effectively among peoples of diverse cultural backgrounds.
In addition to a commitment to the Hispanic/Latino population, Oblate School of Theology has opened its doors to a diverse student population from all over the world. The school also is a center where students from a number of religious denominations complete a degree in theology and ministry.
Oblate School of Theology is located in San Antonio, Texas, a city of rich cultural heritage. The Administration building houses the business offices, classrooms, a large lecture hall. The beautiful grounds including the Merium Study Garden provide ample space for enjoying the outdoors and finding a quiet place for study and reflection. A large swimming pool is available during the warm months of the year.
The Donald E. O’Shaughnessy Library at Oblate School of Theology is a 17,000 square-foot, three-story facility that runs east-west from the northeast corner of the Administration building’s west wing. The Library houses the entire collection on its second and third floors with the main floor reserved for a reading room, patron computer terminals, a circulation desk and staff offices. The second floor also accommodates staff offices and a computer instruction lab. An elevator provides handicap access to both the Library and the Administration building. The Library has a wide usage including students from other schools of theology.
The Immaculate Conception Memorial Chapel, which has seating for 400 persons, stands prominently on the campus. The Lourdes Grotto and Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe are located on the adjoining tree-shaded park area.
The Pat Guidon Center for Continuing Education houses the Ministry to Ministers Sabbatical Program and provides additional housing for guests for the School.
The 50,000 square-foot Oblate Renewal Center is a conference, workshop and retreat center that accommodates individuals or groups of up to 120. The facilities include three conference rooms, smaller breakout rooms, library, classrooms and 60 bedrooms (either single or double occupancy) with private bath. The spacious dining room with its bay windows framing the beautiful tree-studded campus and grand foyer entrance enhance the sense of connectedness to the natural surroundings. The St. Joseph’s Chapel is the Renewal Center’s main worship space. The adjoining Lourdes Grotto and Tepeyac Shrine has a chapel, and the Immaculate Conception Chapel at Oblate School of Theology is also available for larger groups’ worship needs.