Two priceless Catholic collections originally housed in the Blairs Seminary outside of Aberdeen, Scotland, are being returned to the area after 54 years to be housed this time at the University of Aberdeen. This is a big event given the dark history of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland. In fact, the archives cover some of the most turbulent centuries in the history of the Catholic Church.
The collection includes manuscripts, books and letters from the archives of the Catholic church and letters from Mary, Queen of Scots, are of “national and international significance”. Mary was a Catholic and refused to renounce her Catholic faith. Catholicism was outlawed following the Scottish Reformation in 1560.
Many of the artifacts were, at one time hidden at the Catholic Church’s “secret” seminary in Glenlivet on Speyside near Aberdeen (Glenlivet is known today as home to one of the famous whiskey distilleries-Scotch). The seminary was a refuge for the training of young students for the Catholic priesthood during the Jacobite rebellion. The Catholic church was always stronger in the north and Scalan College survived as a major source of Catholic teaching until the end of the 18th century.
Archbishop Mario Conti, president of the Heritage Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, said, “At a time when the future location of the pre-restoration archival material belonging to the Scottish Catholic Heritage Collections Trust was under consideration, the offer from Aberdeen University to accept it on loan and display it alongside other appropriate collections was carefully considered and prudently accepted.
“The intention of the trustees was to preserve the material in its integrity and make it available to scholars, students and post-graduate researchers in conditions which ensured both its security and its expert care.”
He added: “The whole Catholic community is indebted to Aberdeen University, itself originally a foundation of the church, for this fruitful outcome.”
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