In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it was not possible to educate priests in Ireland. Institutions were established in Catholic Europe, mainly France. However, the French Revolution confiscated all of these in 1792 and ’93. In June 1975, “An Act for the better education of persons professing the Popish or Roman Catholic religion” was passed and it was now possible for Catholic priests to be trained. Maynooth College was founded in 1795 as a seminary for the education of priests and by 1850 had become the largest seminary in the world.
In 1798, Fr. Edward Ferris CM. was appointed the first Dean of Maynooth. He was the only Irishman of his time in the Congregation to return to Ireland. Two years later he was appointed Professor of Moral Theology and held both posts until his death.
Today, the Vincentians work as spiritual directors to the seminarians in Maynooth.
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