Seminaries The Seminary of Wigratzbad (Germany)
- Seminarium Internationale Sancti Petri -
International Seminary of St. Peter in Wigratzbad, Germany, was
the first seminary founded by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter,
its first house established canonically and the site of its General
House. It is situated on the ancient frontier of Bavaria and Swabia,
a short distance from Germany’s borders with neighbouring Austria
and Switzerland. It is less than twenty kilometers from the renowned
island city of Lindau on Lake Constance at the foot of the Alps.
The little hamlet of Wigratzbad in the township of Opfenbach
had already gained a name for itself as a pilgrimage centre decades
before the arrival of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. Pilgrims
flocked here from the surrounding district as well as from other
regions in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France. Particular
honour is paid here to the Mother of God under her title "Immaculate
Conception, Mother of Victory". The pilgrimage site finds its
origin in the extraordinary life of Miss Antonie Rädler, beginning
in the 1930s and developing over the years into a centre of prayer
and reparation to the Immaculate and Sacred Hearts. Antonie Rädler
and the former director of the pilgrimage centre, Fr. Johannes Schmid
of the Passionist Congregation, had discussed the idea of an international
seminary in Wigratzbad many years before the Fraternity of St. Peter
the foundation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter in the fall
of 1988, the founders began to seek a suitable site for a house
of priestly formation. As early as August, 1988, Bishop Josef Stimpfle
of Augsburg announced that he would accept a canonical establishment
in Wigratzbad. In November thirty-one seminarians commenced their
studies. Father Josef Bisig became both the Superior General of
the fledgling institute and the rector of its new house of formation.
From the beginning the studies were divided into two language groups,
French and German. Seminarians from countries speaking other languages
chose to study in one of the two groups.
Until the fall of 2000, under the rectorships of Fathers Bisig,
Gouyaud, Baumann and du Fay, the seminary was housed in the pilgrimage
centre. During these years the curriculum of studies was developed
and many ecclesiastical dignitaries were welcomed, such as Cardinals
Mayer, Ratzinger, Gagnon,
Stickler and Gröer, as well as a number of bishops and archbishops.
In these years the problem of a shortage of space was growing, so
that the Superior General and the Rector conceived a plan to construct
a building on the neighbouring premisses uniquely to serve the needs
of the seminary.
the beginning of the autumn term in 2000, and with the installation
of its new rector, Fr. Bernward Deneke, the building was opened.
It was solemnly blessed by Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos on 2nd
December 2000. At present the International Seminary of St. Peter,
together with a separate building constructed by the diocese, houses
over 60 young men from Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark,
Poland, Spain, Portugal, Brasil, Chile and Columbia who are preparing
to become priests for the third millennium.