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The Past

The apostolate of education has been a core ministry throughout the 800 year history of the Franciscan Order. Prior to the Reformation schools attached to the local Franciscan abbey/friary were a common feature of Franciscan ministry. With the closure of the monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII this apostolate came to an abrupt end. The gradual relaxation of the Penal Laws saw a re-structuring of the Order in Ireland and the opening of a number of schools, notably in Clonmel and Athlone.

The ministry of education carried out in Gormanston has its immediate roots in the Seraphic College opened at Capranica 50k North of the city of Rome in 1883. Originally intended as a training college for aspirants to the Franciscan Order it was decided to transfer the college to Multyfarnham Abbey Co. Westmeath in 1896 where it was to evolve into a secondary school. The new college dedicated to St. Louis was opened in 1899. By the 1940's Multyfarnham in size and location was deemed no longer adequate by the Order.

The Order had purchased the Gormanston Estate in 1947 and its proximity to Dublin made it an ideal and accessible location for a modern college. The first boarders were received in Gormanston in 1954 and the new college was opened in 1956.